Chef John's Tiramisu


In addition to being a delicious dessert, tiramisu offers the perfect segue when trying to steer the Valentine's dinner conversation towards spicier subjects. This heady, mood-elevating concoction is rich and deeply satisfying yet remarkably light in texture. Yes, you can use regular cream cheese, but mascarpone is far superior.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
5 mins
Additional Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
8 hrs 35 mins


  • ½ cup brewed espresso

  • 3 tablespoons Marsala wine, divided

  • 2 large eggs, separated

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar

  • ¾ cup mascarpone cheese

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 10 ladyfinger cookies, broken in half, or more as needed

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

  • ½ ounce dark chocolate, grated


  1. Stir together espresso and 2 tablespoons wine in a shallow bowl. Set aside.

  2. Whisk together egg yolks, 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar, and remaining 1 tablespoon wine in a large bowl over a pot of simmering water until thick, pale yellow, and creamy, 5 to 6 minutes.

  3. Remove the bowl from heat and whisk in mascarpone, vanilla, and salt until completely smooth.

  4. Beat egg whites in a glass or metal bowl until stiff peaks form. Lift your beater or whisk straight up to ensure egg whites form sharp peaks. Gently stir and fold 1/2 of the egg whites into mascarpone mixture; fold in remaining egg whites.

  5. Place 1 heaping spoonful mascarpone mixture into a single-serving glass or cup. Dip 2 cookie halves briefly in espresso mixture; turn 3 to 4 times to coat. Place cookie halves in the bottom of the glass on top of mascarpone.

  6. Fill the glass halfway with mascarpone mixture. Dip 5 ladyfinger halves in espresso mixture and place vertically along the inside of the glass, dipping and placing more ladyfinger halves as needed to fit the glass. Place 2 dipped ladyfinger halves horizontally on top of mascarpone. Fill the glass to the top with mascarpone mixture. Repeat with second glass.

  7. Wrap both glasses in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours to overnight. Remove plastic wrap and dust tops with cocoa and grated chocolate before serving.

    close up view of Tiramisu in a glass, garnished with powdered sugar
    Irina Ivanova

Editor's Note:

This recipe contains raw egg. We recommend that pregnant women, young children, older adults, and the immunocompromised do not consume raw egg. Learn more about egg safety from our article, How to Make Your Eggs Safe.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

774 Calories
52g Fat
57g Carbs
19g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 2
Calories 774
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 52g 66%
Saturated Fat 25g 125%
Cholesterol 413mg 138%
Sodium 285mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 20g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 179mg 14%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 263mg 6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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