World Cuisine (Italy) : Tiramisu

"Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first". I know most of you would agree to this. For those who are still not quite convinced I have another one for you from popular Indian culture.. "Kisi bhi shubh kaam se pehele kuch meetha ho jaye" (which translates into "Always have something sweet before starting something good"). I think these reasons were enough to set out for my world food tour with something sweet. But which one to choose? Then something rang in my ears "pick me up". Yes, that's what tiramisu translates into.

I found that the authentic recipe for tiramisu had the following primary ingredients: lady fingers (small finger shaped sponge cakes/cookies), espresso shots, mascarpone cheese, egg yolks, whipped/heavy cream and of course sugar. If you have all these handy then it could save you lot of time and effort. But, unfortunately I did not have any of them except for the sugar and eggs. But I was not ready to give up. I decided to make everything from scratch in my own kitchen using substitute ingredients which are easily available in every kitchen (thus the longer post). And guess what? I could not believe that the result would make me so tempted and contented at the same time.

Following is the detailed explanation of the procedure. Let's start with assembling the primary ingredients.


All purpose flour: 1 1/2 cups
Eggs: 4
Cocoa powder: 2 tbsps
Refined oil: 2 tbsps
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Vanilla extract: 1tsp
Sugar: 1/2 cup
Salt: 1 tsp

  • Pre-heat the oven at 350F.
  • Whisk eggs and sugar until foamy.
  • Add oil and vanilla extract, whisk again.
  • Sieve rest of the dry ingredients into the mixture.
  • Mix well. (If you think the mixture is too dry, add some milk and mix)
  • Pour it into a cake tin and let it bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Or bake until an inserted toothpick or fork comes out clean from it.

While the cake is baking you can work on the other ingredients.


Hung curd/yogurt: 1/2 cup *
Farmer's cheese/chhena/chhana/panner: 1/2 cup**

*(To make hung curd, tie the curd/yogurt in a muslin cloth and hang it for a few hours to drain out the moisture. Or to make it quick you could use kitchen paper towels, as I did. Just place the yogurt on a clean towel and let it soak the moisture. You may need to replace the towel once or twice to get rid of  all the moisture, depending on the kind of yogurt you are using.)
**(To make farmer's cheese, bring 2 cups of whole milk to a boil. Then add the juice of 1/2 a lime or 1 tbspn of vinegar. Turn off the heat once the milk separates completely and strain out the water.)

  • Mash the farmer's cheese very well.
  • Blend the hung curd/yogurt and the farmer's cheese together in a mixer/food processor.


Instant coffee powder: 3 tsps
Water: 3/4 cup

  • Heat water and add in the instant coffee powder. Stir well.


Whole milk: 1/4 cup
Melted butter: 1/2 cup
Sugar: 1/2 cup

  • Blend all the ingredients in a mixer or with the help of a hand blender.


Egg yolks: 3
Sugar: 3 tbspns

  • Double boil the egg yolks with sugar for 2 to 3 minutes.
(For double boiling, bring water to a boil in a pan, place the bowl with egg yolks and sugar in the pan, and keep stirring.)

We are done with the primary ingredients and our cake should be baked by now.


Cut through the sponge horizontally in order to get two layers.

Cut them in the shape and size of the bowl in which you wish to make the tiramisu. And place it in the bowl.

Add the instant coffee mix until the sponge is completely soaked.

Then add the egg yolk mixture and the heavy cream mixture to the substitute made for mascarpone cheese. Mix well.

Now pour half of this mixture on top of the sponge.

Create another layer by repeating the same process.

Sprinkle some coffee powder on top with the help of a small strainer.

Let the tiramisu set in the refrigerator for a few hours. Serve it chilled.

I know the tiramisu is whispering to you "pick me up".

Photographs by Swakshar Ghosh


  1. If you want to make the tiramisu without eggs, just get hold of an eggless cake (I will try to share the recipe of an eggless cake in some other post). You can replace the egg yolk mixture used in this recipe by using thick sweetened custard.


    Check a no bake version of Tiramisu.

    1. Nice recipe, you already had the pre-baked store-bought lady fingers. I did not have them, so made everything from scratch.


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