Rating: 3.7/5. From 78 votes.
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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Category: Desserts, Vegetarian

Servings: 12


Tiramisu (literally “Pick me up”) seems to have been around for generations, but is in fact a creation from the 1970s! The version that we teach at our cooking school in Tuscany uses custard. At home in Italy, people will often use raw eggs, beating the yolks with the sugar and mascarpone, then folding the whites in very gently.


  • Savoiardi (Ladyfinger) biscuits, around 300-400g (10-13 oz), depending on the size of your dish
  • 12 espresso cups of espresso coffee, cooled
  • A good splash (100 ml, 3 oz) of marsala wine or sweet dessert wine/liqueur
  • 125 g (5/8 cup) sugar
  • 500 ml (1 pint) milk
  • 3 large or 4 medium egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 fresh vanilla pod
  • 250 g (half lb) mascarpone cheese
  • Good quality bitter cocoa powder to decorate


  1. Make the coffee and allow to cool in a bowl. Add the liqueur.
  2. Split open the vanilla pod and place in a saucepan with the milk. Bring to
  3. the boil slowly.
  4. In a large bowl, vigorously beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the result is light in colour and frothy.
  5. Add the flour and beat well.
  6. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk, after scraping the seeds into it.
  7. Add the milk to the bowl gradually, beating constantly with a whisk.
  8. Slowly reheat, stirring continuously in the same direction, until quite thick. It will thicken even more once it cools. Allow to cool, with clingfilm (saran wrap) touching it so that a skin does not form.
  9. Add the mascarpone cheese to the custard mix.
  10. In your serving dish, spread out a little custard, then cover with the ladyfinger biscuits, first dipping them lightly (get them nice and wet but don’t get them soggy!) in the coffee and liqueur mix.
  11. Carefully spread half the rest of the custard mixture on top, and add an- other layer of biscuits dipped in the coffee and liqueur mix.
  12. Finish with the remaining custard and decorate with dusted cocoa power.
  13. Leave to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours at least before serving.

10 replies
  1. Riccardo
    Riccardo says:

    Of course the size of biscuits, how much liquid they absorb etc means that the pan size is orientative. We use a rectangular 28 cm x 18 cm dish (11 by 7 inches). Enjoy!

  2. Katie
    Katie says:

    I want to make this but can someone please clarify for me what does 12 expresso cups equal in normal cup measurements?? I know sounds like a silly question but I have no clue what an expresso cup measures 🙂

  3. Riccardo
    Riccardo says:

    1 cup is about 4 espresso cups. So make 3 large cups of coffee. It is always better to have some liquid left over. Hope this helps!

  4. Tessie McIlwaine
    Tessie McIlwaine says:

    This helped me a lot in my high school cooking class were aking a cook book and im doing mine italian food. Tanks love ya, Tessie

  5. fati
    fati says:

    Can anyone tell me plz, coffee sould be milky or without milk.and one more m still confused about 1cup is abt 4 espresso cups.fatima

  6. Riccardo
    Riccardo says:

    You need a little more than half a litre (1 pint) of strong, black coffee (this is around ten/twelve 50ml espresso cups- but this is irrelevant if you are not making espresso in espresso cups…).

  7. Carla Newman
    Carla Newman says:

    I took Manuela’s cooking class in Italy a few years ago. It was one of the best things I ever did. This is my go-to dessert whenever I want to make something several hours or a day ahead of time, and still impress my guests. I only ever receive the highest praise for Manuela’s recipes… Including the pasta and sauces! Thank you Manuela! Xx

  8. Cindy Moody
    Cindy Moody says:

    I loved this dessert when we made it in class so it’s going to be my star dessert on Christmas Day! Merry Christmas to you all!

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