I don’t know what it is about Italy, but it’s almost the country is almost synonymous with romance.  The Italian language is one of the languages of love, Rome and Venice are noted as two of the most romantic cities in the world, and whenever you want to have an especially romantic meal, you go Italian.

It is for this reason that I had Italian food on the brain as I was creating dishes for Valentine’s Day and Tiramisu has always been my favorite Italian dessert.  Whenever I find myself in an authentic Italian restaurant I may experiment with different appetizers and entrees but I always finish my meal the same, with the incredibly rich, layered dessert.  Perhaps it’s the hint of coffee and chocolate or the creamy texture but whatever it is, every time I eat tiramisu I feel like I’m committing some kind sin.  It’s that good!

Any time I encounter something that’s “that good” I try to make it myself so that I’m a slave to no restaurant.  As I was experimenting with different recipes, I was delighted to discover that tiramisu is pretty easy to make.  I recently surprised my family with a batch and though some were hesitant at first, everyone tried it and loved it.

Below you will find my Tiramisu recipe scaled down to 4 servings.  Perhaps you could surprise your sweetheart with a home cooked Italian meal and finish with this decadent dessert.  Like I said before, anything Italian is romantic but when it’s homemade and cooked from the heart it’s extra special.

Ingredients: (Makes 4 servings)

  • 3 Egg Yolks, from large eggs
  • ½ cup Finely Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup, 8 oz Mascarpone Cheese
  • ½ teaspoon McCormick Pure Coffee Extract
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 Package Ladyfingers
  • ¼ Cup Coffee Liquor
  • Coco Powder for Dusting, about 3 tablespoons
  • 1 Milk Chocolate Bar for Shaving
  • 2-4 Strawberries for Garnish

Before You Begin: Tiramisu can be served in any bowl that is at least 3 inches deep.  You can make the tiramisu in one dish, as directed below or you can divide it into two dishes, as I did in the picture.  My glass dishes were 6 inches across and 3 inches deep. I did have a little mascarpone filling leftover.


Fill the bottom pot of a double boiler with 2-3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to low. Combine the egg yolks and sugar into the top pot, place pot on top of the boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a spatula.  You want all the sugar granules to dissolve and the mixture to be a thick lemon color.

Next, remove the bowl from the heat and add the mascarpone cheese and coffee extract.  Mix with a handheld mixer on medium-low speed until everything is combined.  In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream with a hand held mixer until stiff peaks begin to form.  Then, with a spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture and set aside.

Now pour the coffee liquor into a shallow dish or pan and dip one side of the lady fingers into the liquor, one at a time, and then begin to arrange them along the bottom of your serving dish (liquor side up).  Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers using a spatula.  Then, dip a few more ladyfingers, one side only, into the liquor and place them over the mascarpone to make a middle layer.  Cover those ladyfingers with the other half of the mascarpone mix and spread with the spatula to create a flat, smooth surface.

Lastly, use a sifter to dust the coco powder on top of the mascarpone, being sure to cover all of it.  Then, use a carrot peeler to create the chocolate shavings.  Run the peeler down the edge of the chocolate bar and sprinkle the shavings over the top of the tiramisu.  Cover with saran and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Right before serving, I suggest slicing and fanning a few strawberries over the top of the tiramisu.  They look like little hearts making it a festive garnish for V-Day.