One of the many things I love about tiramisu is the mouthfeel. It’s density and weight, coupled with how cold it is, oftentimes make it a texture we crave just as much as the flavor. 

Yield: One 8-by-10-inch dish

Serves: 6 to 8


Soaking Liquid

  • 5 Tbsp. ground coffee
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. Myer’s dark rum

Rum Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. dark rum

Mascarpone Filling

  • 1 egg, separated 
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 10 ounces mascarpone, chilled
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. very cold heavy whipping cream

For Finishing

  • One 8 oz. package ladyfingers (or, in Italian, savioardi)
  • Cocoa powder for dusting

  1. Make the soaking liquid: Combine the coffee and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. When it boils, remove the pan from the heat and pass the coffee through a coffee filter. Let it cool to room temperature and then spike it with the rum. (Or purchase a 4 oz. cup of espresso, probably a double espresso if possible, from your local coffee shop. Bring it home, it doesn’t need to be hot, and dilute it with 1/2 cup water, and then spike it with the rum.) Reserve until you’re ready to assemble the tiramisu.
  2. Make the rum syrup: Combine the sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. You can whisk it a bit at the beginning to help the sugar dissolve into the water, but once it comes to a boil, stop and let the sugar cook until it has taken on a deep amber color. At that point, pull the pan from the heat and add the cream in one big addition. Give the pan a little breathing room because the cream will bubble up rather furiously for a moment. Then whisk, whisk, whisk until the sauce is smooth and even. Stir in the rum and let the sauce sit and cool while you get the mascarpone filling ready.
  3. Make the mascarpone filling, Part 1: Whisk or, with an electric handheld mixer, beat the egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar together for a couple of minutes, until the mixture is thickened and pale yellow. Whisk in the mascarpone and reserve.
  4. Make the mascarpone filling, Part 2: Whisk the heavy cream to stiff peaks and put it in the refrigerator. In another bowl, with a clean whisk (because any fat from the yolks or the cream will make whisking the egg whites impossible), beat the egg white until it holds soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the egg white, and then fold that mixture into the mascarpone mixture. Reserve.
  5. Build the tiramisu: Start by dipping the ladyfingers one at a time into the rum-spiked coffee, dunking each one for 3-4 seconds. You basically want your ladyfingers cocktail-party tipsy, not frat-party drunk lol. Arrange them shoulder-to-shoulder in a single layer in the 8-by-10-inch rectangular dish Drizzle half the rum syrup over the ladyfingers, pouring it freeform from a spoon. Use a spatula to gently disperse an even layer of the mascarpone filling over them, working gently so as not to rough them up. Do another layer: ladyfingers, syrup, mascarpone. Chill the tiramisu for at least 4 hours and as long as overnight. When you’re ready to serve it, dust the top with the cocoa powder Serve cold, with hot coffee.

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