How To...

How To Make Tiramisu with Marsala Wine

Tiramisu (tih-ruh-mee-SOO) is a refreshing, light Italian dessert aimed to please any sweet tooth. When translated in Italian, it means to "pick me up" (tirami-su). And that is what it truly does, this dessert can make the heaviest meals seem like appetizers.

This delightful dessert has many variations, but the bottom layer is usually composed of ladyfingers that have been soaked in espresso and alcohol (usually rum, brandy or Marsala). The next layer is Zabaglione (zah-bahl-YOH-nay) made of custard-like cream and mascarpone cheese. The custard is light and airy, and it is made from egg yolks, sugar and Marsala wine.

Marsala wine is a rich, smoky flavored wine from Italy. It can vary from extremely sweet to aged and dry.

Tiramisu has been known to accompany great restaurants and great wines. California Pizza Kitchen has mastered the true art of creating a traditional Tiramisu. They are located all over the country in 29 states, from Hawaii to New York. With their conservative prices and great food, California Pizza Kitchen is a sure bet.

For the stay-at-home chef, has complied an easy step-by-step recipe for a Marsala Tiramisu.

Marsala Tiramisu
# of Servings: 8

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2/3 cup sweet Marsala wine
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 3 8-oz. containers of mascarpone cheese
  • ½ cup of freshly brewed espresso mixed with ½ cup water
  • 1 cup of very strong hot coffee (brewed from 1 ¼ cups water & ¾ cup ground espresso)
  • ¼ cup Kahlua liqueur
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) Champagne biscuits (crisp ladyfinger cookies)
  • 1 ½ tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Whisk 1 cup sugar, Marsala and yolks in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of gently boiling water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until the candy thermometer registers 165 degrees F and mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Remove bowl from over water. Gradually add mascarpone, whisking vigorously until well blended.

Combine espresso, Kahlua and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another medium bowl; stir until sugar dissolves. Completely submerge 1 biscuit into espresso mixture for 1 second, shake off excess liquid. Place biscuit in bottom of a 13x9-inch oval gratin dish. Repeat with enough biscuits enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon half of the mascarpone mixture over biscuits, spreading to cover. Dip remaining biscuits one at a time into espresso mixture and arrange atop mascarpone mixture (discard remaining espresso mixture). Spoon the remaining mascarpone mixture over biscuits, spreading to cover. Sift over, covering mascarpone mixture completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.