It seems that every Italian family has its own version of this popular dessert. There is of course the ‘traditional’ version but everybody likes to add their own little ‘twist’. This particular recipe I just had to try ever since I saw it on the Italian Food Safari. It was the use of Strega, an Italian herbal liqueur that attracted me to this. Alas, I have discovered how difficult it is to find Strega. Even my Italian barber says it is very hard to come by. So here is my version using Marsala.

A very popular Italian dessert

'Pick me up"




Savoiardi biscuits
500g Mascarpone
50g caster sugar
50ml Marsala
3 egg yolks
100g dark chocolate
2 cups hot black coffee
Freshly ground coffee

Italian meringue
100ml water
250g caster sugar
125ml egg whites


Place the egg yolks and caster sugar in a mixing bowl, and whisk on high speed until pale and fluffy. Add the mascarpone and, on a medium speed, whisk until it starts to thicken.  Add the marsala and mix until just combined.
Be sure not to overmix as you may split the mascarpone. Set aside and make the meringue.

Add the water to a clean, grease-free saucepan, then slowly add the sugar, making sure that all the grains get wet. Place over a medium heat and bring to soft ball stage.
You will know this by dropping a small amount of the hot syrup into a glass of cold water and you should be able to pick this up and roll it into a soft ball with your fingers.

Making sure that your mixing bowl is completely grease-free, add in your egg whites and whisk on high speed until white and fluffy.
As your egg whites reach medium peak, start to slowly add your hot sugar. You will smell the egg whites ‘cooking’ during this process.
Once all the sugar has been added, continue to whisk until the Italian meringue has completely cooled.
Take your Italian meringue, and carefully fold into the mascarpone mix.

Make a fresh pot of black coffee. Pour this into a shallow dish that will allow you to easily dip the biscuits into.

I like the biscuits in my tiramisu to have a ‘dry’ centre. That is, the biscuits are not soaked all the way through with coffee. I literally take a couple of biscuits at a time and ‘touch’ the surface into the coffee then lightly squeezing them to remove any excess.

Line your chosen bowl with biscuits. In this instance, I wanted to create individual serves so I used several mould rings on a baking tray lined with baking paper. I of course had to trim the biscuits to shape.
Sprinkle the biscuits with a little of the chopped chocolate.
Add a fine layer of the mascarpone mix.
Then repeat the process.
Finish with a layer of the mascarpone leveling out the mix with the top edge of the bowl/mould.
Place in the fridge for up to a couple of hours to firm.
Since I was using moulds for individual serves, I actually covered the sides of my tiramisu with some of the mascarpone mix and returned them to the fridge.

Just before serving, sprinkle with freshly ground coffee.