Tiramisu Classico/Classic Tiramisu

  • Serves: 8
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 4 egg yolks, divided
  • 6 ounces sugar, divided
  • 1 ½ cups sugar, divided
  • 1 ounce dry rum
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 40 lady fingers

Recipe from The Al Tiramisu Restaurant Cookbook

By now many people know that the word Tiramisu  means “cheer me up”. I chose to name my restaurant Al Tiramisu because I am a positive person, and I want everyone to experience joy in my restaurant. While I was working at Primi Piatti in Washington, DC, I cooked in an open kitchen. Customers would always come and say hi to me and ask me “to keep some tiramisu aside for them.” Everyone was going crazy over it. I remember going to the movies to see Sleepless in Seattle and tiramisu was mentioned as an up and coming dessert that had the power to impress. Once someone even sent a stretch limousine to have a tray delivered to their home! I told myself that if I ever had my own restaurant, I would call it Al Tiramisu.

This is the classic tiramisu recipe which can be served in many ways.  Keep in mind that Tiramisu needs time to set, so you need to make it a minimum of a few hours in advance, or the night before, for best results. See the Italian Cooking Primer for details.


  1. In a large bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or in a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and beat for approximately 5 minutes, or until the mixture is very creamy and light yellow. Add the mascarpone and vanilla and mix thoroughly to combine
  2. Place the egg whites in a bowl and whip until stiff peaks form (this can be done with the standing mixer, electric beaters, or a wire whisk).
  3. Place espresso in a shallow dish. Dip 1/2 of the lady fingers in espresso and use them to line the bottom of a 9×13-inch glass or porcelain baking pan long.
  4. Make 2 parallel lines of lady fingers on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Stir 2 tablespoons sugar into the rum and drizzle mixture evenly over the lady fingers.
  6. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the top of the lady fingers.
  7. Dip the other 1/2 of the lady fingers in the espresso and make to parallel lines to cover the top of the mascarpone mixture.
  8. Spread the remaining half of mascarpone mixture over the top of the lady fingers.
  9. Store in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
  10. Dust with cocoa powder to cover the top and serve.

Italian Cooking Primer:

At home and for parties it can be served from one large container. Preparing it in martini glasses, however, makes a chic individual presentation. Round 3’inch diameter glasses that are 2-inches deep also works well. The fastest and easiest way is to use a square dish that the recipe calls for and to cut out uniform portions with a pastry cutter.

*Note that consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of food-borne illness.

Sommelier’s Tip:

Recioto di Soave Veneto