by Laura Silber

This is the classic version with mascarpone, heavy cream, and zabaglione filling. If you are also baking dairy-free, that option relies on a larger batch of zabaglione and tastes almost indistinguishable from the dairy version. This recipe is for one large casserole, but tiramisu presents beautifully in individual servings.


  • One recipe (two layers) vanilla sponge
  • 1 1/4 cups strong cold coffee or espresso
  • 8 ounces mascarpone, room temperature
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Cocoa powder or finely ground chocolate for dusting
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine

Elizabeth Cecil

To prepare the zabaglione, combine egg yolks and sugar in a stainless steel bowl and place the bowl on top of a pot with two inches of simmering water in it. Whisk the yolks and sugar vigorously for about two minutes, then slowly pour in the marsala, whisking all the while. Continue whisking vigorously as the mixture foams, then thickens and doubles in volume, about 8 minutes. When the zabaglione looks like the consistency of mayonnaise, it is done. Remove it from heat immediately and transfer into a glass or ceramic bowl to arrest the cooking process. Set in refrigerator to chill thoroughly, about 30-45 minutes.
Whip the mascarpone with ½ cup of the heavy cream for just 1 or 2 minutes to combine. This loosens the texture of the mascarpone and will make it easier to fold into the cream filling. Set aside. Whip the remaining 1½ cups heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla extract until it forms stiff peaks.
In a large mixing bowl, fold together the whipped mascarpone, whipped cream, and cooled zabaglione. Continue folding until homogenous. You now have the cream filling for the tiramisu.
To assemble the tiramisu: Lay one layer of vanilla sponge on the bottom of a 9” round casserole dish or large glass bowl. The cake should fit snugly into whatever container you choose. Using a spoon, dribble half of the cold espresso all across the top of the sponge to saturate thoroughly. Spoon half of the cream filling on top of the sponge, spreading it in a thick layer across the cake to cover completely.
Lay the second vanilla sponge layer on top of the cream, and spoon the remaining cold espresso on it to saturate. Top with the remaining cream filling. Cover tiramisu with a casserole lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours. You may refrigerate overnight if you wish. Dust liberally with cocoa powder or ground chocolate before serving.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings