Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tiramisu For Two

This week I was honored to help a good friend celebrate her birthday, and was super excited to plan just the right birthday girl dessert to present her for the dinner à deux we had planned. I went to work trying to decide on just the right treat for the occasion, hoping for something that could be served individually (so that we weren't tempted to polish off an entire dessert along with an entire bottle of amazing Champagne) and something with an international flavor that captured the spirit of my globe-trotting friend and travel blogger extraordinaire. I knew that she was planning to serve her famous risotto (this risotto's reputation precedes itself, people) and, inspired by the Martha Stewart tiramisu cupcakes I've been dying to try, decided on individual tiramisu cups to round out the Italian flavor of the evening (except for the Champagne, of course).

These are great not only because of the quick, no bake assembly (are you sensing a theme for this summer?) but also because all of the components are easily transported, making it no trouble to assemble the cups individually at my friend's house as soon as I arrived and allow the dessert to chill throughout dinner. There are tons of great tiramisu recipes and, in case your grocery store doesn't carry lady fingers you can also substitute cubed pound cake. In Italian, 'tiramisu' actually means 'pick me up' and, with a combination of sugar, coffee and alcohol, I don't see how it could not :)

Individual Tiramisu
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz marscarpone cheese
1/4 cup Marsala
1 to 1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee or espresso
1/4 cup brandy or Frangelico
18 lady fingers
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, shaved
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

1. Place 6 wine glasses or serving dishes in the refrigerator or freezer to chill.

2. In a large bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the sugar and whip 10-15 seconds longer, just until thoroughly integrated.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the marscarpone and Marsala together until smooth and creamy. Gently fold a third of the whipped cream into the marscarpone to lighten. Fold in the remaining whipped cream to combine.

4. Remove the wineglasses. Stir the coffee and brandy or Frangelico together in a small bowl. One at a time, dip the lady fingers into the coffee mixture twice, being careful not to over-soak them. Place one lady finger into each glass, pressing down so that it fits snugly.

5. Spoon one third of the whipped cream mixture throughout the 6 glasses then top with and third of the shaved chocolate and another layer of soaked lady fingers. Repeat the layering two more times, ending with the cream. Dust lightly with cocoa powder and chill 3 hours to overnight.


  1. You know in Japan I went to a friend's house and she made "tira misu" but there were no lady fingers so I didn't was more like a pudding-ish substance with a truckload of cocoa powder on top, and everytime I tried to eat it I kept inhaling cocoa on accident and coughing like crazy. So good on you for writing "dust lightly"

  2. Thanks for the blog mention! And that tiramisu was ridiculous. A great birthday :-)