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  • Writer's pictureJoanneFoodTsang

Tiramisu: The All-time Stunner

Cooking to impress? Bring this to a party and you'll be remembered. Here's my boozy, highly caffeinated take on this classic dessert. Minimal sugar, maximum punch of flavour. A secret recipe is about to be shared.

Home-made tiramisu

Warning. This dessert is going to take you 2 hrs to make and it's best made the day before you need it. Whilst this sounds like a lot of commitment for a dessert, I can assure you, once you ace this recipe, you (and your friends) will not want to have tiramisu any other way. It's that good...

If you like to dress to impress, this recipe is right up your alley. It's an elegant stunner.

As always, I stumbled upon a generic dessert recipe and started to experiment with it until I got the flavour and texture that I wanted. This one definitely has a kick of rum and coffee that's unlike any other tiramisu, along with my rule of thumb: minimal sugar.

Smooth and creamy, it disappears quickly in your mouth as quickly as it does from your plate, and most likely from the table. It is perfect for alfresco dining on a summer night or a cozy winter day. It is my all-time favourite to make for large dinners at home, or to take to a friend's (it's very portable). A classic, no-bake recipe, you can make this the day before a party, leaving you plenty of time on d-day to get ready. Here goes:


1 electric whisk

1 balloon whisk

1 medium saucepan

1 large fine strainer

1 small bowl

2 large mixing bowls

3 spoons

1 palette knife

1 small fine sieve

2 rectangular casserole dishes or any large containers that are at least 2in deep

Ingredients (serves 12 | 2 casserole dishes worth)

6 egg yolks (save the egg whites for an omelette)

125ml or ½ cup caster sugar

155ml or ¾ cup whole milk

500ml heavy cream (usually 1 medium sized carton from the store; ± 50ml)

1 tsp vanilla extract

250g mascarpone cheese (usually 2 tubs from the store; ± 50g)

180ml strong brewed coffee, room temp.

5 tbsp dark rum

2 packs ladyfinger cookies

3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

500ml very strong black coffee


Preparing the components you need

  1. To make the custard, whisk together egg yolks, sugar and milk using a balloon whisk in a saucepan until well blended and the sugar has dissolved . Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and begins to simmer. Be patient, this process should take about 15 minutes. Once you see bubbles forming and remove immediately from heat.

  2. Place a fine strainer over a large bowl and pour the custard into the bowl. Set aside, and allow to cool. (You can cling-wrap the bowl and leave it in the fridge to speed up the cooling process

  3. Brew your coffee, in whichever way easiest for you - by espresso shots, french press, or even a non-sugared instant coffee. Make 500ml worth of it and let it cool to room temperature.

  4. In the second large bowl, beat the heavy cream with the vanilla essence using an electric whisk until soft peaks form. Add 1tbsp of rum. Whisk until stiff peaks form. (You can add more rum depending on your preference.)

  5. Once the custard has cooled to room temperature, whisk in the mascarpone until smooth and well incorporated. It should form a thick paste. Add 1.5 tbsp of rum and mix to combine.

  6. Once the strong coffee has cooled, 2tbsp of rum to your coffee.

  7. Now you have all the components you need for the tiramisu ready! At this point, lay out your bowls of whipped cream, custard, and strong coffee on a large working surface. Bring out your containers, ladyfingers, and cocoa powder, and get layering!

Creating the layers

  1. To begin, a sponge base layer is needed. Dip the ladyfingers one-by-one in the coffee-rum mixture and line the base of your container completely. The ladyfingers should be coated in the mixture but not completely soaked through, so just do a 1 second submersion! The ladyfingers usually have a sugared side, leave the coated ladyfingers sugar-side down in your container.

  2. Once the base of your container has been lined, dollop about 6 tbsp of the mascarpone-custard mixture onto the coffee-coated ladyfingers and spread it over the base with the back of your spoon until the base layer is just covered.

  3. Next, dollop a similar amount of whipped cream over the custard and spread it so that it just covers the custard layer. Be careful not to mix the two layers together. The small palette knife can help you thinly spread this cream layer.

  4. Repeat the 3 layers. Line the whipped cream layer with ladyfingers that have been freshly dipped in coffee. Press the ladyfingers down until it is half-concealed by the whipped cream. Follow up with another thin layer of custard layer, and finally the layer of whipped cream.

  5. Now that all layers are complete (2 layers of each component, 6 layers in total) grab the fine sieve and dust the top with cocoa powder to finish up the dish. Top tip: use the palette knife to smooth out the final whipped cream layer before you dust your cocoa powder.

  6. Repeat this process in your second casserole dish, or until all ingredients are used up!

  7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Overnight is definitely the best.

  8. Bring out your tiramisu whenever you are ready to serve. Spoon out a portion onto a plate and into bliss you go!

Notes: you will most likely be left with half a pack of ladyfingers and some rum whipped cream. Don't chuck them. You can have the ladyfingers for your morning coffee. You can also use the whipped cream to top a nice warm mug of hot chocolate for a lush night in. You now have spare cartons of cocoa powder, milk, and sugar, you can definitely make yourself a divine hot chocolate.

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