For someone who started off as a tiramisu scorner, I have turned out to be its most slavish proponent, finding any excuse to whip up a new one. From Anna Del Conte's all-white meringue version, and something more trad (and I say this being well aware that tiramisu as such came into being only in the latter half of the 20th century), to one made with Frangelico and another with Baileys. Some say, challenging more generally accepted ideas about the provenance, that it was invented in a casa chiusa (a house of ill repute) to give the working girls a pick-me-up, as the name (tira-mi-su) suggests. Whatever its inception, this one reverts to the original formulation--although in dinkier format. This is not because I am a huge fan of the cute (you know that) but because it means you have a tiramisu worth making for fewer people (you don't need a partyful), and in less time. By which I mean very much less time, since, unlike the big, trifle-style tiramisu, these tiramisini (think coffee-soaked Savoiardi cookies, topped with the familiar, whipped Marsala-spiked mascarpone in small-portioned martini glasses) don't even need to sit overnight before being ready to eat. These are a tiny bit lighter, too, as I don't use the egg yolks (the mascarpone is plenty rich enough) but keep the whites to add moussiness and air. These I buy in a carton (pasteurized) and have always at the ready. I make sure the savoiardi, mascarpone, and marsala are also on hand; and coffee is always in the house, as well as the liqueur that echoes it, but it's fine to leave out the coffee liqueur and just bump up the coffee quotient, if you prefer.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
Share This Recipe


7 tablespoons espresso or strong instant coffee

2 tablespoons coffee liqueur

4 savoiardi cookies (ladyfingers)

2 egg whites

1 cup mascarpone

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons marsala

Approx. 1 teaspoon good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder


Special equipment:
4 small martini glasses (about 1/2 cup each)
  1. Make your espresso and pour it into a heatproof pitcher, adding the coffee liqueur, then leave it to cool. I find 10 minutes outside the window on a cool day does it!
  2. Break each savoiardi cookie into about 4 and drop the pieces into the martini glasses, then pour the cooled espresso mixture over them. Tamp down gently, making sure the biscuits are soaked all over.
  3. Using an electric hand mixer for ease, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, and set aside for a moment.
  4. Scrape the mascarpone into another bowl, adding the honey; I love the way its mellow sweetness marries with the marsala, though sugar would be fine too. Beat with the electric hand mixer (no need to clean it first) and, when smooth, slowly beat in the marsala.
  5. Fold in the egg whites, a third at a time, then dollop this mixture over the soused savoiardi in each glass, using a spoon to whirl it into a swirly peak at the top. Let these stand in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes and up to 24 hours, then dust with cocoa, pushing it through a fine-mesh strainer, just before serving.

Fudge Factor

Chocolate Desserts

Indulge in our decadent chocolate desserts, from cookies and cakes to puddings, souffles and truffles.

Over-the-Top-Delicious Treats to Satisfy Your Food Obsession

Are you infatuated with ice cream? Do you lust over lobster? Swoon at the sight of chocolate? Here's the best recipe for each food …

Review: Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert's Chocolate Bar Nov 16, 2012

Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert have teamed up with master chocolatier Christopher Curtin to create the "Good & Evil" chocolate b …

How-To: Chocolate Cream Puffs

Make this classic and elegant French dessert using our step-by-step guide.

Easy Gift Idea: Chocolate-Covered Toffee Feb 7, 2013

Looking for an easy gift idea? Cooking Channel's recipe for Chocolate-Covered Toffee is just the ticket. A touch of coffee in the …

Essentials: Chocolate Basics Sep 1, 2016

Satisfy that chocolate craving in your very own kitchen. All you need is baking chocolate and a little know-how. It also helps to …

The Craziest Chocolate Creations for American Chocolate Week Mar 17, 2013

It’s officially American Chocolate Week. Check out photos of mind-blowing chocolate creations.

How to Make Truffles

Learn how to make a chocolate lover's favorite treat: the classic truffle made from smooth chocolate ganache.

How to Chop and Melt Chocolate

Lots of recipes call for melted chocolate. Follow these step-by-step instructions to do it properly.