Tiramisu topTiramisu, the sublimely sweet, delectable end to a delicious Italian meal.  Trifle but Italian style.  My version uses Italian mascarpone cheese, French brandy, Italian coffee and English organic cocoa together with condensed milk and sponge fingers.  It is supremely naughty and rich but absolutely delicious.  I think this is my favourite of Italian desserts.  Best of all, this is very easy to make and can be put together very quickly and prepared in advance.  Perfect for a party!

Tiramisu sideIt is probably not a conventional recipe with the use of condensed milk but I have served this to lots of people and they have all loved it so I am sure you will not be disappointed.  This recipe is big enough for something like a large 4 litre dessert bowl. See tip below for doing a smaller version.


(serves 8-10)

1 kg mascarpone cheese
2 x 390g cans of condensed milk
24-30 sponge fingers depending on the shape of the bowl
600 ml of strong black coffee (Italian expresso type is good)
3 tablespoons of brandy
Cocoa powder to sprinkle between layers and garnish the top


  1. Make up 600 ml of very strong coffee, add the brandy and leave on one side to cool off before using.
  2. Whilst the coffee is cooling, mix the mascarpone cheese and the condensed milk together in a bowl.  Easiest to mix this with a wooden spoon so you can mix quite vigorously to achieve a smooth mix.  Alternatively mix together in a food mixer/processor.
  3. Now you are ready to put your tiramisu together.  Dip the sponge fingers for a few  seconds each side into the coffee.  I usually use a shallow dish for this.  You will get used to just how long you can leave the sponge finger in the coffee so it absorbs enough without falling apart!
  4. As you dip each sponge finger, lay it into the dish to form a layer of sponge fingers that fills the bottom of the bowl.
  5. On top of this sponge finger layer, spoon some of the mascarpone mixture so it completely covers the sponge fingers.
  6. Sprinkle on top of this layer with cocoa powder.  The cocoa adds a slight bitter chocolate flavour to contrast with the sweetness of the mascarpone.
  7. Repeat the above process until you finish at the top of the dish with the final layer of mascarpone mixture sprinkled with cocoa.


  1. If you prefer use Marsala wine instead of brandy it works equally well.
  2. For a normal dessert dish for a family to serve 4-6, reduce the ingredients in half. You can also make it in a more shallow dish and just do two layers.  I like the wow factor of this big deep dish though!
  3. If you prefer, grate some 70% cocoa dark chocolate on the top instead of sprinkling it with cocoa.


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