Classic tiramisu with mascarpone and espresso

This foolproof recipe for a classic Italian tiramisu is as impressive as it is simple. With silky-smooth mascarpone and a delicious injection of flavour from the espresso, this dish is perfect as a dinner party dessert.

By Jo Wilcox
  • 25 mins preparation plus chilling time
  • Makes 6 small glasses
  • Print
For more delicious ideas like this, try one of our top 15 terrific tiramisu recipes!


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup Madeira, Marsala or dessert wine
  • 500 g mascarpone
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • 2 Tbsp instant coffee powder mixed with 2 Tbsp hot water (or 1 double-shot short black)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 15-20 savoiardi (sponge fingers)
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting


  • 1
    Place the egg yolks and caster sugar in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water to create a double boiler. Whisk for 4-5 minutes until pale and creamy then add half the wine, 1-2 Tbsp at a time, whisking until the mixture is thick and falls from a lifted whisk in ribbons.
  • 2
    In a bowl, whisk or beat the mascarpone with the icing sugar until smooth. Add the yolk mixture a little at a time, then fold in the softly whipped cream.
  • 3
    Pour the instant coffee mixture into a shallow bowl and stir until dissolved, then add the remaining wine and the cold water.
  • 4
    Dip each of the sponge fingers into the coffee mixture until lightly soaked then arrange in a layer in the base of your serving glasses or cups – cut or break them to fit. Spoon over a layer of the mascarpone cream then smooth down and repeat with more layers of soaked biscuits and mascarpone cream. Dust the tops with cocoa and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour to set.