Tirami Su

There are many desserts that embody the refinement and sophistication found in the culinary traditions of Italy. But to me, Tirami Su exemplifies that sophistication like no other. The balance between opposing flavors of sweet and bitter is amazing. It is lite yet filling at the same time. It leaves you with the magical touch of espresso which energizes your system at the finish of a hearty meal and a few glasses of wine.

It is a night at the opera, a magnificent symphony heard under a star filled sky, a spring love affair in Rome; all on a dessert plate.

In our home, Tirami Su is only prepared on the holidays; so it retains it’s near mythical status the rest of the year.

Longing makes the palate grow fonder.

Oddly enough, I do not have a family recipe for this amazing dessert. The one here is based a recipe from Giuliano Buglialli’s book, Classical Techniques of Italian Cooking, with a tweak or two I added over the ten years I was preparing it at my restaurant. In 1998 it was added to the rich culinary tradition found in the four branches of my family; Foti’s. DeSciullo’s, Pellegrini’s and DeSandlo’s.

This recipe will fill a disposable aluminum pan 9″x13″. Buy one with a plastic lid to keep the dessert safe in the refrigerator. If you have a high traffic frig like ours, it is inevitable that something will land on top of it.

36 Ladyfinger cookies

2.5 Cups Espresso, cooled

.5 Cups Spiced Rum

8 Eggs

8 Heaping Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

1.25 LBS Mascarpone ( Warmed to Room Temp 60 – 65 degrees F)

1/3 Recipe Chocolate Ganache

  1. Mix two egg yolks and the sugar until the sugar is completely incorporated and are lighter in color.
  2. Add the mascarpone to the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Whip into a thick paste.
  3. Whip eight egg whites until they form peaks and hold their shape. Gently fold the whites into the mascarpone/egg yolk/sugar mixture.
  4. Dunk 1/2 of the ladyfinger cookies in the espresso & rum and line the bottom of the pan with them. (After dunking them they should hold their shape, so don’t submerge them for too long.)
  5. Using a spatula, put a thin coating of ganache on the tops of the cookies in the pan.
  6. Layer 1/2 the mascarpone mixture onto the chocolate coated cookies.
  7. Repeat the layering process, placing the second layer of cookies in the opposite direction of the firs layer.
  8. Dust the top of the second layer of mascarpone mixture with cocoa powder.
  9. Cover the tray and let it ‘set-up’ over night in the refrigerator.
  10. Cut it in squares when serving.


1 LBS Bitter Sweet Chocolate

2.5 Cups Cups Heavy Cream

  1. Chop chocolate finely using a serrated knife and place in a large bowl.
  2. Bring cream to a boil over medium-high heat then pour directly over the chopped chocolate. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to gently stir chocolate and cream until combined. Let it sit at room temperature just until thickened.

PS – St. Mark Church during the Christmas Season 2020.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: