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Recipe for :

Tiramisu - Tuscan Trifle

This recipe was sent to me by Shirley Cline.

Shirley was a great inspiration to me when I first started working on the idea of creating a recipe and cooking web site. Not only did she encourage me but she also supplied a great many recipes and other pieces which are featured throughout the site. Her great achievement was to teach me to cook risottos over the internet!

Although I never had the chance to meet Shirley, or even talk to her, I regarded her as a good friend. It was with great sadness that I learnt that she passed away in Autumn 2004 and that there would be no more emails. I think she will be sadly missed by a lot of people like me to whom she gave such pleasure with the sharing or her recipes. The pleasure my children have had from her recipe for Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar and Mint - not to mention the fights for seconds - has been a joy to behold.

Shirley says: "The following recipe is one I use that I got from Lorenza De'Medici's cookbook Authentic Recipes from the Regions of Italy. It is very simple to make and delicious".


3 egg yolks
3 tblsp superfine (Caster) sugar
1 1/3 cups "vin santo" Marsala or brandy (use good quality - Marsala is best)
1/4 cup very strong espresso coffee
8 oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup cream
1 egg white
4 oz ladyfingers (I buy mine at an Italian bakery)


  • Make a zabaglione by beating the egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler until ivory colored.
  • Add 1/3 cup liquor and whisk over gently simmering water until the mixture begins to thicken. Let cool.
  • Stir the coffee into the mascarpone.
  • Whip the cream to soft peaks.
  • Beat the egg white until stiff.
  • Fold the egg white into the zabaglione.
  • Dip the lady fingers into the remaining liquor and arrange in a single layer in the bottom of a 9 inch bowl.
  • Cover them with half the mascarpone, then half the zabaglione and half the cream.
  • Repeat the layers, finishing with the cream.
  • Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Lorenza's Comments:

Tiramisu (pick me up) is a modern version of a dessert first created in Siena where it was called Zuppa de Duca (the Duke's soup). From there, it migrated to Florence, where it became very popular in the Nineteenth century among the many English people who came to live in the city at that time. And so it was called Zuppa Inglese - English Soup. Only recently, the same dessert with some variation - chiefly the substitution of rich mascarpone cheese for the original custard - has come to be called Tiramisu.

Serves 8

Shirley Cline