Probably one of the most famous Italian desserts of all time, many people don’t realize that the tiramisù is only about fifty years old. It’s now generally accepted that the dessert was invented in Treviso at the Osterie alle Becchiere in the late 1960s early 70s.



The original name of the dessert was tiramesù which means ‘pick me up’ in Venetian dialect. But it soon became known by the standard Italian version tiramisù. 



For anyone who’s been living on the moon for the last fifty years, tiramisù is made of crema al mascarpone (cream cheese mixed with sugar and eggs), biscuits soaked in coffee and alcohol, and chocolate powder. The alcohol could be rum, Marsala wine, or even Tia Maria, for that extra coffee taste. (It’s worth noting that the original recipe used only coffee and no alcohol.)


Over the years many different versions have evolved including frozen semifreddo ones. This version is mine, which sticks closely to the original recipe with two major differences. Firstly, I create a kind of crème pâtissiere with the mascarpone cheese to ensure that there are no raw eggs in the dessert; secondly, I make my own sponge layers which gives it the aspect of a cake. This builds on techniques I learnt in France when I lived there and blogged about pâtisserie.

You will need a bit of special equipment for this version but it’s a showstopper at any party or as an after dinner dessert.  Buon appetito!


Probably one of the most famous Italian desserts of all time, many people don’t realize that the tiramisù is only about fifty years old. It’s now generally accepted that the dessert was invented in Treviso at the Osterie alle Becchiere in the late 1960s early 70s.   The original name of the dessert was tiramesù which means ‘pick …

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Serves: 16 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • For the sponge:
  • 8 egg whites
  • 200g sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 200g flour
  • For the filling:
  • 500g (18 ounces) mascarpone cheese
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 160g (6 ounces) sugar
  • 20g (1 heaped tablespoon) plain flour
  • 250g (9 ounces) whipping cream
  • For the assembly:
  • 1 cup of strong italian coffee
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine
  • cocoa powder
  • Equipment
  • 2 x 26cm by 36 cm (10 inches x 14 inches) silicon swiss roll sheets
  • 20 cm x 4.5 cm (8 inches x 1 1/2 inches) steel pâtisserie ring
  • 4.5 cm (1 1/2 inches) deep acetate patisserie ribbon
  • piping bag


Make the sponge:

  1. Using a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks.
  2. Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time with the mixer on medium speed pausing between each one to combine.
  3. Add the egg yolks and increase the speed to high until the yolks are completely mixed with the whites.
  4. Turn the mixer off and sift in the flour. Then gently incorporate it with a spatula trying to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
  5. Divide the mixture equally between the thing and smooth down with a large palette knife.
  6. Bake at 180 C fan for 12 minutes. Allow to cool and then remove from the silicon sheets.
  7. Using the steel ring, cut one circle from each of the sheets of sponge. Then put the straight edges of the two remaining pieces of sponge together and cut a third circle from them (this will be two semicircles put together).

Make the filling:

  1. Put the mascarpone and eggs in a large saucepan and beat together with a whisk until combined. This will have the consistency of cream.
  2. Add the sugar and whisk together.
  3. Add the flour and whisk together.
  4. Place the saucepan over a gentle heat and, whisking all the time, bring to the boil. Keep whisking until the cream thickens (about five minutes).
  5. Place the cream in a bowl, cover with clingfilm which should contact the surface. Leave to cool completely.
  6. Whisk the whipping cream to stiff peaks and then gently fold in the mascarpone cream. Place in a piping bag.


  1. Place one of the sponge circles (the one in two halves) on a cake board and place the steel ring around it. Line the steel ring with the acetate.
  2. Using a pastry brush soak the sponge in the coffee mixed with the Marsala wine.
  3. Pipe just under half the cream mixture on top of the sponge.
  4. Place the second piece of sponge circles on top and then repeat steps 2 and 3.
  5. Place the final sponge circle on top which should come right up to the top of the ring. Cover with the small amount of remaining cream and smooth it over with a palette knife.
  6. Place in the fridge for at least one hour.
  7. Just before serving, sieve the chocolate powder over the top of the cake so that it’s completely covered.
  8. Carefully remove the steel ring and the acetate and serve.




16 thoughts on “Tiramisù”

    1. Luca Marchiori

      For the risotto a nice prosecco della Valdobbiadene. I think a lovely passito would go very well with the tiramisù. Waiting for you 😉

  1. Last fall I tried a recipe from the Libby’s Pumpkin website (all things pumpkin) taking my repertoire beyond what little old Southern (USA) ladies have christened “pumpkin pie just like my mama used to make”. I made pumpkin tiramisu for my Italian class. It was a big hit and delightfully easy to do. Also, no alcohol…but I don’t drink so that was a good thing.
    But I’d love to try yours! As in eating it….complicated recipes with “special” equipment don’t do well in my tiny kitchen. And since my local grocery does stock lady fingers in the bakery section I’ll let them do that part of the hard work.

    1. Luca Marchiori

      Now pumpkin tiramisù I’d like to try. I have a pumpkin recipe coming up later this week so watch out for that. I’d willingly send you one if it would make the journey. The original recipe from Linguanotto, which I link to above is a great one using lady’s fingers. Enjoy!

      1. I don’t think it would enjoy the journey. But it’s a nice thought. I had a very interesting tiramisu at Luna Sentada, a restaurant recommended by my landlord in Venice in December 2012. When I get some time I will email you the pumpkin recipe…sometime in the next couple of weeks…or maybe this afternoon. I don’t dare make it when I’m not taking it somewhere. Hard on the waistline…and the hips…and the…I’m dure you get the picture.

      2. Luca Marchiori

        That’s very kind. I’d love to see the recipe. I should try and find the restaurant.

  2. Luca,
    Here is the website for Luna Sentada with their address and phone number. They are not your usual Venetian (or tourist) fare. I had a lovely dinner there with a couple of friends for my birthday (actually the day after because they were closed the actual day…which was 12-12-12…any wonder I had to be in Venice?).

    And I agree with the comment…that is a delightfully, perfect Tiramisu (and chemo brain is affecting my spelling which I note in one of my previous comments.)

  3. Ciao Luca. Since I don’t have some of the things you used I plan to try the recipe in a large spring-form pan. I think I could cut around the inside to cut out the sponge cakes. Thank you so much. I make many of your recipes and actually bought a new scale just for them. You know how we Americans don’t weigh, we measure. And I realise weighing is more exact. Thank you.

    1. Luca Marchiori

      Ciao Elliana, fabulous! I am so please that you are making my recipes! I try to put volume measurements for Americans where I can, but often weighing is the only way to get it to work. I’m impressed about the scale! I would love to see some pictures and to hear about how you get on sometime. You can contact me privately using the form on this site and I’ll send you my email. I think the springform would work perfectly for his. You might even be able to use the springform (without the base) as a huge pastry cutter. Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you!

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