Zia Dora’s famous tiramisu

Zia Dora’s famous tiramisu

My Italian Kitchen
Chris Middleton

My Zia Dora’s famous tiramisu recipe is my absolute favourite dessert. I love the creaminess and lightness, and the combination of chocolate and coffee. It has been in my family for generations. Zia Dora gave it to my mum on her honeymoon in Italy, who then passed it down to me.


Quantity Ingredient
3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons caster sugar
500g mascarpone
500ml espresso coffee, cooled
60ml dark rum or marsala
dark chocolate, grated for each layer
500g savoiardi biscuits, (1 large packet)


  1. Beat the egg yolks and half the sugar in a bowl for 10–15 minutes until thick and fluffy, and tripled in size. Add the mascarpone and beat until it is fully incorporated.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, add the remaining sugar and keep whisking until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture.
  4. In another bowl, mix the coffee and rum/marsala. Dip the biscuits in the coffee and rum mixture.
  5. Arrange a layer of biscuits in the base of a 1.5 litre capacity bowl or serving dish, then spoon over some of the mascarpone filling, grate some dark chocolate on top, and repeat the layers until your bowl of choice is filled to the top. Finish with the mascarpone mixture. Grate more chocolate over the top and chill in the fridge to set, preferably overnight.


  • Savoiardi biscuits are also known as sponge finger biscuits. If you want to have a go at cooking them from scratch, check out my recipe.
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