posted: 06/30/10

Take Home Chef, Episode 40: Jessica's Menu


  • 2/3 cup strong espresso (or substitute 1 tablespoon instant coffee dissolved in 2/3 cup of boiling water)
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 cups mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 30 (about) crisp Italian ladyfinger cookies (such as Savoiardi), or about 15 larger cookies, broken in half
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting


  1. In a small bowl, combine the espresso and brandy. Set aside to cool completely. If the espresso mixture is hot the ladyfingers will absorb too much liquid and fall apart easily. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the mixture is pale and thick and forms a ribbon when the beaters are lifted, about 4 minutes.
  2. Cool for 5 minutes. Place the mascarpone in a large bowl. Stir half of the yolk mixture into the mascarpone to lighten, then fold in the remaining yolk mixture. In another large bowl and using clean beaters, beat the egg whites and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar with the electric mixer just until stiff peaks form. Be sure the beaters are clean in order to help the egg whites beat up to their full volume.
  3. Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture and set aside. Spoon a thin layer of the mascarpone mixture over the bottom of a 2-quart trifle bowl. Using enough cookies to form a layer over the mascarpone mixture in the trifle bowl, submerge the cookies in the cooled espresso-brandy mixture for 5 seconds.
  4. Place the cookies in a single layer over the custard in the trifle bowl. Spread more mascarpone mixture over the cookies to form another layer.
  5. Repeat with the remaining cookies, espresso-brandy mixture, and mascarpone mixture to create layers in the trifle bowl, ending with the mascarpone mixture on top. Sift the cocoa powder over the tiramisu. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
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