Lifestyle & Culture

Kitchen Detail: A Wedding Tiramisu

September 15, 2022

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By Nancy Pollard

After owning one of the best cooking stores in the US for 47 years, Nancy Pollard writes Kitchen Detail, a blog about food in all its aspects—recipes, film, books, travel, superior sources and food-related issues.

THERE ARE probably more recipes for this Italian dessert on the Internet than there are  photos of cats, but for good reason. Tiramisu can be made a day or two ahead of the event, it will feed a crowd, it is so easy to put together, and it is sensationally delicious. Too many food writers make this too complicated: There is no cream, you can’t use diet cream cheese, and sponge cake or soft ladyfingers make abysmal substitutes. In Italy, there normally is not a wedding cake, but a series of “spoon desserts.” This one was served at my daughter’s wedding outside of Ascoli Piceno in Le Marche.

Wedding Tiramisu

Serves 10
A faithful adaptation of the tiramisu served at my daughter’s wedding in Ascoli Piceno, in Italy’s Marche region. It was one of several “spoon desserts.” It is made in a baking dish or a shallow casserole that holds 2 to 2½ quarts (2.25 liters).
  1. 5 large eggs, separated
  2. ¾ cup (150gr) caster sugar
  3. 1½ cups mascarpone, a soft Italian cream cheese (340gr)
  4. 8 ounces (237ml) espresso coffee
  5. 1/3 cup (79ml) high-quality brandy or Marsala
  6. 36 to 42 Savoiardi* (do not use cake or soft ladyfingers)
  7. 3 ozunces (85gr) grated dark chocolate or dutched (alkalized) cocoa
  1. In a mixer bowl beat egg yolks with sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Add mascarpone and beat until smooth.
  2. In another non-plastic bowl (copper is preferable) whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into mascarpone mixture.
  3. Combine espresso and brandy in a shallow bowl.
  4. Dip both ends of the Savoiardi into the coffee mixture for a couple of seconds and arrange enough of them in the casserole to create a compact bottom layer. (It is important not to let the coffee soak too much into the Savoiardi.)
  5. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over this layer.
  6. Top with another layer of coffee-dipped Savoiardi.
  7. Spread the remaining mascarpone mixture over the top and smooth it.
  8. Dust with the cocoa powder or grated chocolate (I combine the two).
  9. Chill for several hours before serving..
  1. * Savoiardi are crisp Italian sponge cookies, not soft ladyfingers, and are available at specialty grocers and online.
  2. I combine half grated chocolate and half cocoa to top my version of this dessert.
  3. It will keep for several days in the fridge.
  4. Sometimes I have generously sprinkled cocoa and grated chocolate on the first layer of the tiramisu as well.

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