Mom’s Tiramisu

Ok so I had this whole post written up, that I planned on posting earlier, but someone in this household who shall remain nameless (it rhymes with “shmy shwife”) accidentally shut down the computer without saving it. It was obviously the funniest and most informative post ever, but now is another dreadful victim of technology, oh well here goes take 2.


So Shavuos was like 3 weeks ago (yeah, I’m pretty awesome at this whole having my life in order thingy) and even though we were eating out all of the meals, I had got it in my brain that I wanted to make tiramisu for dessert, and make it I did. And lemme tell you, it was pretty freaking amazing.

The best tiramisu I’ve ever tasted is made by my mother, and her secret is: read the back of the BelGioioso tub of mascarpone. No really, that’s where this recipe comes from, and it’s easy and awesome.

For those that don’t know, tiramisu is an Italian dessert that roughly translates into: heaven sent food that I would gladly shovel into my mouth with my fingers, and would most likely have to check myself into some sort of dessert rehab facility, if one actually exists, unless it somehow puts me into a pleasure induced coma, in which case the rehab won’t be necessary. I said roughly. Those wacky Italians.

I’m not 100% sure what makes an authentic tiramisu, but one thing is clear, it needs to have mascarpone, lady fingers dipped in espresso (tiramisu really means- “pick me up”), and eggs, but the logistics are different in different recipes. Most will call for the eggs to be separated and whipped separately, and then folded together, and that’s what this recipe called for also.

So put the yolks, some of the coffee, rum, and sugar into a mixing bowl, and beat until the it comes together and starts looking paler.

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Now in regards to the rum, the actual recipe calls for cognac or brandy, neither of which I have, so I used rum, but I think it goes well with the chocolate (which we’re going to dust on top later), and I really like this new rum I have, it’s really good.


Ok, now take the tub of mascarpone, and dump it in the yolk mixture, and mix together, and set the whole shebang aside.

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Now put the egg whites and a pinch of sugar into a mixing bowl, and whip em up until stiff peaks form. Egg whites whipped up, are essentially a foam of tiny air bubbles that get incorporated into the protein network of the egg whites. The problem is it’s a relatively fragile network, and we don’t want to waste all that hard work the kitchen aid went through to get to this point and deflate all those bubbles. The way to avoid that is by folding the whipped up egg whites into whatever it is you’re folding it into. This way you’re not completely destroying the delicate structure within.

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You can actually add 1/3 of the egg whites and mix them in as vigorously as you want to start the whole thing going, and the remaining 2/3 fold in. 


Take 1/2 of the mascarpone goodness, and spread on the bottom of your dish.


Then take the lady fingers, and dip them in the remaining coffee. You don’t want the lady fingers soaked, and it takes a very short amount of time for it to get totally soaked up with coffee, so to avoid that, place the lady finger on one side in the coffee, and then flip it over, and take it out. Don’t let it hang out in the coffee.


Then layer the lady fingers over the first layer


I don’t know how Mr Pyrex knew I was going to make this tiramisu in this dish, with these lady fingers, but it fit 16 (8 on each side) exactly.

Then layer the remaining mascarpone mixture, and dust with some chocolate.


You can even see the little lady fingers on the side, complacent with their lot in life to be devoured by the tiramisu junky you are.


It’s also a requirement that whenever you “dust” something with cocoa powder, that you get it all over the counter…just letting you know.

Then put this in the fridge for at least 3 hours to let it set up, and enjoy.

By the way, as you can tell, this has raw eggs in it, so if you were ever worried about getting some horrible disease from raw eggs, I highly recommend this be the dish to do it to you. Or if you want, there are recipes out there that cook the eggs first.

Mom’s Tiramisu

adapted from BelGioioso


  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup espresso or strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. rum (preferably dark)
  • 8 oz. Mascarpone
  • 16 ladyfingers
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting (I used Dutch process cocoa powder, because it’s not as bitter as regular cocoa powder)


  1. Combine 3 egg yolks, 1 Tbsp. espresso, sugar and rum in large mixing bowl. Beat 2-3 minutes, until pale. Add Mascarpone and beat 3-5 minutes until smooth.
  2. In another bowl, combine 3 egg whites and a pinch of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into Mascarpone mixture.
  3. Spread half of the mixture on the bottom of your serving dish.
  4. Dip one side of each ladyfinger into remaining espresso and layer on top of the first layer of mascarpone mix.
  5. Spread the remaining mascarpone mixture on top, and sprinkle with cocoa.
  6. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving. 

21 thoughts on “Mom’s Tiramisu

  1. its the wrong dish for tiramisu! and the minhag is to have it in the fridge and not let anybody have, so i hope its under lock and key


    1. I know I know, but 1) I didn’t have a dairy trifle bowl, and 2) that only works if you have someone to take some off and set aside for in a tiny plastic cup, which I didn’t because it would have been set aside for me anyway!


  2. What’s with the top photo? The cocoa powder looks red – almost like paprika. Is it the lighting, or some gourmet variant of heimesche Gefen cocoa?


    1. That’s a great question, actually it has to do with the fact that I used dutch process cocoa, which basically adds an alkylating agent to the acidic cocoa (alkaline is the opposite of acidic) to make the flavors a little more mellow and obviously less acidic, and dutch process cocoa is redder than regular cocoa, and quite possibly might be the reason “devils food cake” are red usually, although pretty much every recipe I’ve seen adds red food coloring to it, but I have a sneaking suspicion that back in the pre-food coloring days, it was red because of dutch processed cocoa, but its very possible that I’m wrong.


      1. Ah! Thank you!
        Do you use dutch processed in every recipe that calls for cocoa? What situation call for its use or not?


      2. It really depends on what else is going to be put in the recipe, for example if you’re baking with cocoa powder, and there’s baking soda in the recipe, then you don’t need dutch process, if you’re serving the cocoa powder as a garnish, and eating it “raw” it’s probably a better bet to use dutch process.


      3. From .The 1st paragraph confirms your hypothesis. The second rejects it. Mamash a stirah. My vote is with you, just for hakaras hatov for getting me to find kosher marscapone cheese.

        Devil’s Food Cake is also know as Red Velvet Cake, Red Devil’s Cake, Waldorf Astoria Cake, and $100 Dollar Cake. A beautiful mild chocolate flavor cake that is startlingly red. The cake is traditionally complemented with a thick white frosting with different regions of the country using different types of frosting. The cake gets this bright red color from the large amount of red food dye used in the preparation. A light-textured chocolate layer-type cake with a deep reddish brown color. Devils food cake is usually thought of in terms of dark chocolate, but originally it was red. Today cooks, using modern processed cocoa, sometimes add a touch of red food coloring to bring back the authentic color. This cake is particularly popular in New Orleans.

        This cake probably goes back in history and existed in the southern states where the cake was originally made from beets and cocoa.

        1902 – Devil’s food cake was the favorite dessert of the early 1900s. In 1902, the recipe first appeared in an American cookbook called Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook Book by Sarah Tyson Rorer. By 1913, recipes began appearing in cookbooks across America.

        1950s – Some people think that this cake originated in the 1950s at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The restaurant archives can’t produce any evidence or records of this, but because this version is so popular, the restaurant likes to take credit for it.

        1940s – In the 1940s, a rumor was spread that a customer asked for a copy of the recipe and was given a bill in the amount of $100. According to the rumor, the angry customer, apparently with revenge in mind, then began circulating the recipe along with her story. As with most urban legends, they seem to have a life of their own, creeping through a society one person at a time.

        1970s – In the 1970s, the cakes’ popularity faded when red dye was linked to cancer.


      4. Thanks…well it doesn’t say anything about dutch process cocoa, but I would love to know when red food dye became available to home cooks…Either way, I’ve never made the cake, but I’ve been looking for a recipe that doesn’t call for red food dye, and haven’t found one, so maybe I am wrong


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