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The joy of a simple tiramisù

Quick and straightforward, this recipe has become a staple in my kitchen

<p>The dessert is deceptively simple, coming together in just 30 minutes.</p>

The dessert is deceptively simple, coming together in just 30 minutes.

Tiramisù is my favorite dessert — a weighty claim for a food writer, I know. But I stand by my words. Delicate yet rich, tiramisù is a beautifully refined dish that delights the palate with just a few ingredients.

I started making tiramisù during my pandemic-era baking frenzy and fell in love. Since then, I’ve made tiramisù nearly every month, and the dish has yet to bore me. The layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers, sweet mascarpone cream and cocoa powder sing together in a harmony of flavor, and after some time chilling in the fridge, each bite is as light as a cloud. The best part? The dessert is deceptively simple, coming together in just 30 minutes.

I’ve been adapting this recipe since the pandemic, and I change it to suit my current flavor preferences. This version is very coffee-forward, dipping the ladyfingers in only freshly-brewed java. However, if you are of-age, I would recommend adding a splash of rum to the coffee for added warmth.

Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 6 hours of chill time

Yields: 9 servings in one 8x8 inch pan


  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz mascarpone, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cup strong brewed coffee (I use 2 cups water and ½ cup coffee grounds)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • About 30 ladyfingers
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, grated (optional)


  1. Using an electric mixer in a medium bowl, whip the egg yolks and ¼ cup sugar together until pale yellow and about tripled in volume.
  2. In another medium bowl, whip cream and remaining ¼ cup sugar until the cream holds soft peaks. Add mascarpone and continue to whip until it creates a smooth, spreadable mixture with medium peaks.
  3. Fold the mascarpone mixture into the sweetened egg yolks using gentle strokes with a spatula.
  4. To a coffee maker, add 2 cups of water and ½ cup of coffee grounds. Measure out 1 ½ cups of the brewed coffee in a measuring cup. Add coffee to a shallow bowl.* Set aside.
  5. Using a sifter, dust the bottom of an 8x8-inch dish with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.
  6. Quickly dip each ladyfinger into the coffee mixture and place them rounded side up at the bottom of the baking dish, forming an even layer. Spread half the mascarpone mixture onto the ladyfingers. Dust with a tablespoon of cocoa powder. 
  7. Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers, the other half of the mascarpone mixture and the third tablespoon of cocoa powder. Top with grated bittersweet chocolate.
  8. Cover the dish with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to let the ladyfingers soften under the cream.
  9. Scoop to serve.

*If you are 21+ and would like to enhance the flavor profile, I’d recommend adding 2 tablespoons of rum to the coffee.

When I make this tiramisù, I usually assemble it in the evening so that the layers can chill overnight. That way, it’s ready for dessert the following night — or even for breakfast in the morning. For an easy, college-friendly dinner with your roommates, pair this tiramisù with a simple pot of pasta. You’ll have a timeless Italian meal that is as elegant as it is effortless.


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