After translating this recipe a friend, Gloria Bonfanti, gave me in Italian, I experimented and changed it substantially, then rewrote it completely a few years later. I wanted to achieve a stiffness similar to that of some ristorante tiramisu I have tasted and I wanted a better flavor than Glori’s which was just a quick and dirty version for her young family.

I have tried tiramisu all over southern France; many restaurants don’t make the particularly firm tiramisu I happen to prefer while others do. Also, I saw Lydia Bastianich make a lemon-flavored tiramisu on her show, so I incorporated that option as well.

This link takes you to my latest recipe.

This recipe fills an 8"×11" Pyrex® baking dish to the brim. For a 9"x13" dish or pan, multiply the recipe by 1½.

Serving suggestions: cut in squares or serve several small scoops in a large, footed glass.


  1 cup sugar
3 eggs (at room temperature)
16 oz mascarpone (at room temperature)
½ pint whipping cream
1 pkg unflavored gelatin (optional)
almond and/or vanilla extracts (optional)
espresso syrup2 (optional)
4 tbsp limoncello syrup3 (optional)


1. Separate the eggs and beat the whites with a bit of salt or cream of tartare into stiff peaks, but don’t beat the whites any drier than necessary. Beat in one-half the sugar. Set this aside.

2. Beat the yolks with (a little limoncello if making the lemon version and) ½ the sugar in a stainless steel bowl over a double boiler until it reaches 145° and streams off your spoon in ribbons. Continue beating over ice or cold water until it returns to room temperature.

3. Beat the mascarpone into the yolk mixture. Add vanilla and/or a hint of almond flavoring if any at this point.

4. Separately, whip the cream until stiff, but not buttery. If the gelatin is to be used to stiffen the dessert, sprinkle it over the cream before whipping and let it soften for up to a minute, then begin beating hard and fast so that the whipped cream be completely homogenous. With the gelatin, the cream becomes almost frosting like and will help thicken the dessert considerably.

5. Carefully, but thoroughly fold the egg and sugar mixture with the whipped cream and the egg white mixture until homogenous.

6. Make the espresso or limoncello syrup described at the bottom of this recipe.

7. Completely cover the bottom of an 8" × 11" baking dish with a layer of Ladyfingers (or genoise cut to 3" × ¾" × ½") that have been dipped in strong espresso (or Postum® or limoncello syrups).

8. Cover the Ladyfingers with a layer of the cream and repeat steps 7 and 8 twice more for a total of 3 layers.

9. Layer the rest of the cream mixture on top of the dessert, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but better overnight.

10. 20-30 minutes before serving, it can be placed covered in the freezer to firm it up. It can be decorated by dusting with fine baker’s chocolate (or lemon zest) over the top. Consume within 24 hours of manufacture.

1 If you cannot find Ladyfingers, substitute use chunks of white (mildly- or vanilla flavored) genoise (a sponge cake). The genoise is arguably better anyway.

2 Note on espresso: If preferred, substitute a strong Postum® solution. Try 2 tbsp of Postum in two hot cups of milk with a tbsp of sugar (a sort of Postum cappuccino). My friend, Gloria, dips them simply in milk for her family.

3 For the lemon version, make a syrup of 2 cups water, 3 tbsp limoncello, 1 tsp vanilla and ½ cup of sugar heating just to boiling, then letting it sit until cold (this can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.