Deep chocolate, coffee, and wine flavors entangle beautifully

Tiramisu means pick me up, and a combination of wine, chocolate, and coffee deliver that with intensity!  This is my go to at Christmas, or if I’m trying to be impressive, or if I absolutely love you!! My heart sings with this dessert.

So why mascarpone cheese and not cream cheese, and why do I cut it with the heavy whipping cream?  Mascarpone cheese has a deeper flavor than cream cheese and it’s not as tangy.  It’s a specific flavor that establishes tiramisu. Cutting it with the whipping cream, adds stability to the dessert and cuts the cost, as mascarpone is a little more expensive! Adding just a touch of nutmeg, distinguishes my family’s flavor profile. My grandmother, Mary, who was my biggest culinary influencer, put nutmeg with her ricotta and mascarpone always. You know, when your 24 years old and bleary eyed from being a new mom, you have no idea the subtle skills that are being gifted to you through the shortest of phone calls. We talked almost every day around 4:00, babies were napping, me slugging a cafe ole, and assembling some sort of dinner. I would call Gram and she would spout off 5 variations of whatever I was fixing, it was always a 10 minute conversation, but becomes more precious to me by the year. 

 It has a few steps, but after the first time you make it, it all seems clear and it’s very easy!  I’ve changed it several times too, summer flavors like peaches and cream, strawberry, or fig and chocolate, any wine works,  Marsala is traditional and gives me the robust flavor I have grown used to. My local friends need to try my favorite CD Baker, you know I love the bourbon finish on that! That being said,  straight rum and bourbon work beautifully here.

I prefer to use the crunchy biscuit lady fingers, as it stands up to the layering. I love to serve the inverted version, it is so impressive and stands tall and gorgeous! Two loaf pans work beautifully!

So Salude and play with this recipe!

  • 12 oz dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup wine or rum
  • 1/4 cup wine/liquor
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package lady fingers- crunchy- biscuit
  • ¼ warm cup coffee


  • 12 oz heavy whipping cream
  • 16 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg



      1. INVERTED dessert: line pan with saran wrap, leaving a lot of  extra for covering the top.Prepare pan
      2. Trifle – no prep
  1. Place egg yolks, 8 oz heavy cream, ½ C sugar and chocolate  into top of double boiler, heat over soft simmer water, low heat,  until mixture thickens like pudding.  Whisk this constantly or you will have scrambled eggs
  2. Remove the chocolate mixture from heat, transfer to bowl, stir in vanilla.
  3. When chocolate mix is cooled slightly, stir 1/2 Cup wine or liquor in
  4. Place creme in cooler for 30 minutes OR place in ice bath and whisk to cool
  5. Mix hot coffee, 2 Tablespoons sugar, and wine/liquor until sugar dissolves. Set aside
  6. Mix, with electric or stand mixer and paddle attachment, mascarpone and sugar, do not over mix- 4 minutes or just until smooth.  With whisk attachment,  Slowly add whipping cream to mix until incorporated, 4-6 minutes, do not overmix!

You should have these items:

  1. Chocolate Creme Mixture
  2. Sweet Coffee
  3. Lady fingers
  4. Mascarpone Whipped cream
      1. Inverted: set aside some ¼ cup mascarpone whip and 1 Tablespoon wine infused chocolate for final garnish. Start dessert in saran wrap lined container
      2. TRIFLE: You want to have mascarpone whipped cream and chocolate for top garish
  1. With pans prepared, dunk one long side of lady finger in coffee mixture and place in pan, covering bottom in a nice pattern. Continue along sides, standing lady fingers up vertically around the side of trifle dish or pan.

Layer in any order you want creating a change of color:

  • Chocolate Creme Mixture
  • Drizzle some chocolate
  • Mascarpone whip
  • Coffee soaked lady finger


Cover desserts with saran, so a skin won’t form on dessert

Refrigerate for 2 hours

Plating the Inverted dessert:  unwrap covering, place plate on top, flip dessert over, remove pan, and unwrap saran.  Use extra whip cream to make top uniform, drizzle chocolate on top for garnish


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