PS Desserts
Mark Roper

Italian for “pick me up”, tiramisu is my favourite dessert featuring coffee. It lives up to its perky name with its winning combination of coffee and creamy mascarpone. Although considered a new “classic” dessert (only becoming popular in the 1980s), it’s one I make time and time again. Here is my version, with a double hit of coffee flavour and spiked with very grown-up Italian liqueurs.


Quantity Ingredient


Quantity Ingredient
120g caster sugar
150ml marsala
6 egg yolks
500g marscapone


Quantity Ingredient
150ml very strong espresso, (about 3)
100ml sugar syrup, at room temperature, (see note)
80ml marsala
50ml strega or galliano liqueur
50ml amaretto liqueur
1 teaspoon liquid coffee extract or instant coffee granules, (see note)


  1. For the zabaglione

    Whisk the sugar, marsala and egg yolks over a saucepan of barely simmering water until the mixture reaches 60ºC — it should be pale and thick and feel warm to the touch.
  2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and continue whisking until cool and holding soft peaks.
  3. Add the mascarpone and whisk on medium speed until combined. Take care that you don’t over-whisk the mixture or it will split and appear curdled.
  4. For the syrup

    Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir well.
  5. Add the sugar and vanilla to the cream.
  6. Follow the instructions for Whipped cream.
  7. Continue to whisk past the “soft peak” stage for 2–3 minutes or until the cream holds its shape and is “spoonable” but still soft. It is now ready to use.
  8. To assemble

    You can make one large tiramisu or 8 individual portions.
  9. Cut the sponge cake widthways into 1.5 cm-thick strips. Load the zabaglione into a piping bag and pipe a 2 cm-thick layer in the base of your dish or glasses. Dip the cake strips one by one in the syrup and layer side by side over the zabaglione. Sprinkle on some of the amaretti, if you are using it. Continue layering until all the zabaglione and sponge cake strips are used up. Top with the crème Chantilly and spread evenly with a palette knife.
  10. Break up the chocolate and pulverise in a food processor until it resembles fine gravel. Toss in a little cocoa powder, then scatter generously over the surface of the tiramisu. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.


  • I use Trablit, which is a French liquid coffee extract. You can buy it from specialty food suppliers or online.


  • To make a simple sugar syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Allow to cool.
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