Two tasty recipes combined to make the most perfect tiramisu

Living on Monhegan Island, about 12 miles out to sea. I often look to recipes for inspiration and then get creative with what I have on hand. The other day, I had a craving for tiramisu, one of my all-time favorite desserts. I happened to have mascarpone cheese leftover from the holidays, and I had a friend that was coming back to the island the next day, so I had her pick up ladyfingers. In a pinch, I would make the ladyfingers from scratch, but don’t do it if you don’t have to.

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Aside from these two items that aren’t always in my pantry or refrigerator, I figured I could get the rest of the ingredients together with what I have on hand.

I took two recipes, Ina Garten’s recipe from Food Network and the recipe on the back of the Roland ladyfingers box. By combining these two along with my own substitutions, I came out with a delicious dessert that was uniquely mine.


This decadent dessert uses very few ingredients, is easy to make and is sure to impress. By using what you have on hand — and a little creativity — you can make a classic dish uniquely yours. It is relatively low in sugar and this recipe is about 200 calories less than others on the internet.


  • 1 (16-ounce) container of mascarpone cheese. The creamy cheese is traditionally used in Tiramisu, but if you are in a pinch, you can make a substitute with cream cheese, sour cream and heavy cream. I had mascarpone, so no need for a substitute here.
  • 6 large eggs, separated — a staple I order by the case.
  • 1/4 cup sugar. Here is where I started to get creative. I used a stevia/sugar blend to reduce the sugar by half. I have tried and tried to like stevia over the years, mostly I find it to have a stringent, bitter flavor. In this recipe though, it worked. If you are looking to reduce your sugar consumption, this is one place to try stevia/sugar blend or just try reducing the total amount of sugar to 1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons
  • 1-1/2 cup brewed espresso. If you don’t have espresso available, you can absolutely still make this dessert. I brewed a strong French roast coffee, but you can also try instant coffee for this application.
  • 1/2 cup liqueur. A lot of recipes call for Kahlúa, dark rum or brandy. Unfortunately, I had none of these. I try to have on hand a variety of liquor in the small airplane size bottles just for these small recipe needs. What I did have was Frangelico, a hazelnut liqueur and Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy. I used half of each, and it turned out perfect. Bourbon, rum, brandy any caramel-colored and/or coffee or nut flavored liqueurs will also work.
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, pantry staple
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon, pantry staple
  • 30 to 40 ladyfinger cookies

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  1. Blend the 6 egg yolks with the sugar on medium to high speed for 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes light yellow in color.
  2. Add half (1/4 cup) of the liqueur and 1/4 cup espresso, incorporate completely.
  3. Add the mascarpone cheese on low speed until all of the cheese is mixed in well.
  4. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until firm peaks form. (This part of the recipe comes from the Roland ladyfingers box.)
  5. Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone/egg yolk mixture. Many recipes call for heavy cream here, with this method of using the egg whites, the same fluffy consistency is achieved without so many extra calories.
  6. On a plate with a high edge, mix the rest of the brewed coffee (1-1/4 cup) and the liquor (1/4 cup) together.
  7. Dip each ladyfinger in the mixture before laying them in a 8 x 8 x 2-inch pan. A clear pan gives the finished product a nice aesthetic.
  8. Lay the espresso/liquor dipped ladyfingers side by side leaving 1/4 inch space between each.
  9. After you complete one layer of ladyfingers, spread the mascarpone mixture over the top. There will be three layers total, use 1/3 mixture per layer.
  10. Combine the cinnamon and cocoa powder together.
  11. Use a strainer or sifter to sprinkle the cocoa/cinnamon powder over each layer.
  12. Repeat three times.
  13. Cover the tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 8 hours, overnight is better.

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