01 Aug2007


How does one end a simple impromptu Italian dinner that started with a tomato, mozzarella and black sea salt salad, followed by a porcini and chanterelle risotto, served with a pork chop milanese and greens…? With a homemade tiramisu, of course! Luckily, this specialty of Mrs. MM was made the day before in anticipation of weekend munching in general and it just so happened to fit in with the theme of the Italian dinner. Everyone in MM’s household loves this dessert and we make it at least 3-4 times a year. I agree with Lori of DessertComesFirst that there are so many darned awful versions of tiramisu, but I do love the version that Mrs. MM makes, and so does The Kid. As long as you stay true to the basic tenets of the dessert, and you use top quality ingredients, you almost always end up with something worthy of ending a carefully cooked meal or just a couple of tablespoons for an afternoon “pick me up…”

The key to a superb tiramisu? Superb Italian ladyfingers (We have used Boholano broas to good results, but if you can get Italian ladyfingers instead, do it), copious amounts of real mascarpone, good strong coffee or espresso, organic eggs and coffee liqueur. tira2It needs time in the fridge to set properly. Mrs. MM has been making this for years and she got her recipe from a Biba Caggiano cookbook many years ago, though she can’t recall which one. You will need, 8 large (9 local) organic egg yolks, 1/2 cup granulated white sugar, 1.5 pounds of mascarpone cheese, 4 large eggwhites, beaten in a bowl until STIFF peaks form, 2 cups of strong Italian espresso coffee, cold, 1/4 cup of brandy or coffee liqueur (Mrs. MM uses Kahlua), 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and grated semisweet chocolate for garnishing.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale yellow color with an electric mixer. Fold in the mascarpone until mixed thoroughly. Fold in the STIFF eggwhites gently until well fixed, but don’t overdo it or you will take all the air out of the eggs… In another bowl, combine coffee/espresso and brandy/liqueur. Dip the lady fingers briefly into the coffee mixture and line them up at the bottom of a 10×12 or 14 x 3 inch dish. Do NOT leave in liquid for long; you want the ladyfingers moistened but not soggy, I would say 2 second dip is more than adequate for a normal Italian ladyfinger, a fraction of a second shorter for tira3local broas. Spread half the mascarpone mixture evenly over the ladyfingers. Sprinkle half the cocoa powder with a fine strainer. Dip the remaining ladyfingers in coffee and make another layer. Add the remaining mascarpone and even it out. Sprinkle with remaining half of cocoa powder. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at leat 8 hours. Just before serving, shave some chocolate and sprinkle over the cake… Delicious. It should have a hint of “cake” from the moistened ladyfingers, but too much. It should have the richness of the mascarpone that it not overly sweet and made richer still by organic eggs, and it should have enough chocolate flavor, coffee, and liqueur to truly pick you up!!!



  1. Faye says:

    Do they have Italian ladyfingers at Santi’s? Thanks.

    Aug 1, 2007 | 3:59 pm


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  3. Alicia says:

    I use the recipe from Biba Caggiano too! My book is Trattoria Cooking. Faye, You can find lady fingers at Santis, Terry’s or Galileo Enoteca which work well for me at least. Ok, I know I might offend people with this variation, but using all the same ingredients you listed above and the kahlua too, I like to add some ground amaretti and sprinkle it generously between the layers as well as on the top with the chocolate.. I think it gives it a little something something! I tried a green tea tiramisu once and boy, that just did not work for me. Your dinner sounds just lovely.

    Aug 1, 2007 | 4:50 pm

  4. Jade186 says:

    I use Marsala wine, as Italian tradition would put it, rather than other liquor. However, when serving this to children, I’d totally omit the liquor and use decaffeinated coffee.
    I also prefer to use freshly ground coffee; if not, the normal machinato ones (Lavazza or Illy) put into an espresso moka caffetiera. In Italy the tiramisu is done without any variations nor add-ons, since it already rich and delicious in its simplicity.

    Aug 1, 2007 | 5:30 pm

  5. SimplePleasures says:

    I love tiramisu, just wondering aside from santi’s where else can i find mascarpone?

    Aug 1, 2007 | 5:46 pm

  6. Midge says:

    Hi MM. Where can you buy Mascaporne in Manila and how much is it? Thank you in advance. Do they have it at Santi’s?

    Aug 1, 2007 | 5:49 pm

  7. Marketman says:

    Faye, they sometimes have ladyfingers in Santis, but Galileo is more reliable, though the last time we bought some there were less than a dozen packages left on the shelves of the Mandaluyong branch. Alicia, the ground amaretti sounds interesting and since the flavor is quite strong, that would really ramp up the overall taste of the tiramisu… Jade186, yes, Marsala is the absolute classic, though I rarely have it on hand, as for liquor and kids, since there is so little (say 1/4 cup absorebed into 20+ servings, I don’t think there should be an issue; and presumably, some of the alcohol evaporates while it sits for hours in the fridge… SimplePleasures and Midge, they right now have nice tubs of mascarpone at S&R branches in the fridge section, the most reasonably priced source I have found. For this tiramisu, we got the mascarpone from Galileo Enoteca along with the ladyfingers. Rustan’s also carries mascarpone on occasion and I suspect so would other large groceries such as Unimart, etc. But do NOT scrimp on the mascarpone, it is what makes tiramisu so delicious…

    Aug 1, 2007 | 5:55 pm

  8. terezzac says:

    Washington Post just issued an article about the origin of Tiramisu… here’s a link:


    Aug 1, 2007 | 9:08 pm

  9. kitkathie says:

    Hmmm, the smell and the aroma…its making my stomach hungry!

    Aug 1, 2007 | 9:40 pm

  10. Risa says:

    I seriously want to try this, but am wary of raw eggs. Can you recommend a reliable source that is good to eat raw (sans dextrose drip?

    Aug 1, 2007 | 9:45 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    Risa, I buy organic eggs from a vendor at the FTI market by the tray… I think the same kind is for sale from Joey Malana’s stall at the Salcedo market. I understand your concern re: eggs but in the 10+ years back here I have eaten hundreds/thousands of eggs here and I have yet to get salmonella… but I suppose there is always a first time. As a precaution, you should always wash newly purchased eggs with lots of water until shells are completely clean then store these in the fridge… That way when you cook with them there is less risk of gunk from a dirty shell falling into your dish…

    Aug 1, 2007 | 9:50 pm

  12. Maria Clara says:

    I use mamon tostado in place of ladyfingers and they are good. Plus when I lay them out they are even after dipping them in the liquor infused espresso. The layering of mascarpone cheese and the mamon when you cut the dessert is beautiful it’s like a tiered cake. Anything done right is simply divine! You took Italy into your dining kingdom!

    Aug 2, 2007 | 12:30 am

  13. RGM says:


    You’re cooking all of the things I want to eat! :D Thanks for the posts! Just a question. Do you do anything to the eggs to stave off salmonella?

    Aug 2, 2007 | 2:19 am

  14. dhayL says:

    I always wanted to get my hands on making tiramisu, however, my brother-in-law makes a really good one! I guess i’m just worried of “competitiion” in the family! hehehe.

    That’s a good advice re: washing eggs before you store them in the fridge. Seriously, i never thought of doing that, i’ll definitely keep that in mind from now on!

    Aug 2, 2007 | 6:03 am

  15. Marketman says:

    RGM, wash your eggs well before storing in fridge. However, if you get cooties from using raw yolks in the filling, there isn’t much you can do about that… It’s the same issue with a real carbonara, which barely heats the eggs…

    Aug 2, 2007 | 6:48 am

  16. millet says:

    i was fine with the salad and the main course…i was fine until dessert…now i’m drooling!

    Aug 2, 2007 | 7:11 am

  17. Marketman says:

    terrezac, thanks for that Washington Post link, and for folks that don’t want to use raw eggs…that link is a useful one as they rely on more cream and zabaglione (oh, that might have rawish eggs) instead of just raw eggs… Millet, the leftovers are terrific for days afterwards… :)

    Aug 2, 2007 | 7:16 am

  18. connie says:

    Yummy! Tiramisu! That’s all I can say. LOL.

    I never tried making tiramisu, but I usually just get it from La Madeliene’s, I think they have one of the best. My local grocer is a good source too, so yeah I never really try to sweat for it. *giggles* I’ve seen recipes using Bailey’s Irish Cream, and I always wondered if it is any good. I like it in mudslides, so it’s probably good in tiramisu as well.

    For pregnant peeps who can’t have raw eggs, I think there are recipes in the internet using no eggs, of course I haven’t tried that one either so all I can guarantee is, it might be awful. *laughs*

    Aug 2, 2007 | 7:41 am

  19. cecile aquino says:

    boy, that looks really, really good! am salivating for tiramisu but, so afraid to mess up. by the way, you can buy mascarpone from sm hypermart at libis, there’s a deli section right beside the entrance fronting photoline. a tub of 500g would cost you around Php500+. not too bad…they sell really good cold cuts and cheese…at least i think so.

    Aug 2, 2007 | 9:13 am

  20. Marketman says:

    aridelros, yes, that is an option, but the eggs don’t get hot enough to kill salmonella, because if they do, they would look like srambled eggs, in which case, unpalatable with the mascarpone… perhaps best not to use eggs at all in this case and opt for whipped cream or the zabaglione which also has eggs though again I don’t think the cooties are totally killed off…

    Aug 2, 2007 | 9:14 am

  21. Faye says:

    Thank you for your response Alicia and MM. Really appreciate it!

    Aug 2, 2007 | 9:17 am

  22. CecileJ says:

    Re: washing raw eggs. I think I read somewhere that washing the eggs before storing removes the natural protection that eggs have so that bacteria do not penetrate the shell. Haven’t verified this, though will try to google it.

    Best is to use eggs that have absolutely no cracks to ensure that no bacteria have gotten into the eggs.

    Aug 2, 2007 | 9:44 am

  23. CecileJ says:

    Or, wash eggs just prior to using them.

    Aug 2, 2007 | 9:47 am

  24. zeph says:

    sinfully wicked MM!

    Aug 2, 2007 | 9:57 am

  25. Marketman says:

    CecileJ, good idea… I also googled egg washing and found this interesting link from the USDA. While it doesn’t suggest washing again at home, it is more because washing eggs in the U.S. is a standard processing procedure before sending them off to groceries. I think I would be more likely to assume that eggs in the Philippines are not washed as thoroughly or at all before being packaged. So yes, go ahead and wash the eggs locally either before using or before storing in the fridge… :)

    Aug 2, 2007 | 10:00 am

  26. CecileJ says:

    Me again! Here’s a helpful & informativre site on handling & storage of eggs: http://www.hormel.com/templates/knowledge/knowledge.asp?catitemid=2&id=181 (sorry, don’t know how to add this as a link)

    Aug 2, 2007 | 10:28 am

  27. Marketman says:

    aridelros, good to know, I guess the zabaglione version where the eggs are heated does make it kill off the potential cooties, thanks! CecileJ, thanks for second link!

    Aug 2, 2007 | 11:24 am

  28. Maria Clara says:

    Aridelros – you are absolutely right. I totally agree with you. You fascinate and amaze me especially what you wrote down for a living. You are funny, have a good sense of humor and intelligent You must be a trust baby! Just managing your bank account/investment during the day and having fun at night and your day starts at 12:00 noon!! Way to go Aridelros.

    Aug 2, 2007 | 12:39 pm

  29. Marketman says:

    aridelros, hahaha. I am amused your being described as a trust baby…very amused… see what happens when you leave too much detail in comments… :)

    Aug 2, 2007 | 4:20 pm

  30. corrrine_p says:

    I also whisk the egg yolks using double boiler since I’m afraid of salmonella. I hope I can use organic eggs more often but they are expensive. I lament the quality of eggs nowadays…watery egg white and thin shells. I wonder what they feed the hens nowadays. So sad. Tiramisu is really easybut so good! I had the best in Florence. I recommend broas from Bohol. The others are not good. The best is Italian lady fingers.

    Aug 2, 2007 | 6:47 pm

  31. titashi says:

    MM I have a query for Maria Clara, i hope you dont mind : )
    Where do i get mamon tostado? i might have seen them (or ate them at one point in my life) but i can’t seem to remember what they look/taste like. I have visions of a mamon from goldilocks but toasted hehehe….sorry for the ignorance though.
    MM, i love your italian dinner lalo na the dessert! Yum!

    Aug 3, 2007 | 11:28 am

  32. mia says:

    since topic is an italian classic. i would like to consult you on another italian treat that i used to ignore but the moment i tried it it became a favorite of mine, the pannetone. have you featured it before in your blog? would you please share a successful (perhaps personally kitchen- tested by you? tnx. Keep up the good work MM.

    Aug 5, 2007 | 1:48 am

  33. Marketman says:

    mia, I have not done a pannetone, though I believe it is fairly simple to do…

    Aug 5, 2007 | 7:13 am

  34. Margarita Fores says:

    custard would probably be too heavy…local broas are fresher…sometimes imported ladyfingers from the high end delis can be stale if they’ve been on the shelves too long…

    Aug 7, 2007 | 2:24 am

  35. Jade186 says:

    aridelros – if you substitute or change too many ingredients like cream puffs for lady fingers, custard for mascarpone, caramel for coffee, with the added lemon/vanilla flavour, I don’t think it’s tiramisu anymore. It’s something else. As I’ve mentioned in my earlier comment, tiramisu is already sumptuous in its simplicity. :)

    Aug 8, 2007 | 1:01 am

  36. Rizza says:

    I saw an italian cooking show last week with cheese as one of their ingredients. I am wondering if we can make our own home made cheeses. So I browsed the internet for the cheese-making recipes but i saw an ingredient for making cheese called rennet. I think this makes the fermentation process of cheese to be sped up. Where can i find or buy rennet? It was stated in the recipe, it is in a tablet form. Thanks and in anticipation for your info!God Bless!!!

    Aug 19, 2007 | 8:40 pm


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