The ultimate makeover: Tiramisu

The ultimate makeover: Tiramisu

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(14 ratings)

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 10 mins Plus cooling and overnight chilling


Serves 8
Angela Nilsen lightens a classic high-fat Italian dessert without compromising on the rich indulgence factor

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal220
  • fat10.1g
  • saturates5.8g
  • carbs25.5g
  • sugars17.4g
  • fibre0.3g
  • protein5.7g
  • salt0.25g
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    For the sponge fingers

    • 250ml strong hot coffee, preferably using freshly ground
    • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
    • 4 tbsp marsala
    • 18 sponge fingers (boudoir biscuits), preferably Savoiardi

    For the filling

    • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
    • 1 tbsp cornflour
    • 150ml semi-skimmed milk
    • 1 medium egg



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

    • ½ vanilla pod, split lengthways
    • 85g half-fat crème fraîche
    • 1 tbsp marsala
    • 140g light mascarpone
    • 100g light soft cheese
    • ½ tsp cocoa powder, to finish
    • raspberry, to finish (optional)



      A member of the rose family, raspberries have a wonderfully intense, sweet taste, and many…


    1. First make the coffee soaking liquid for the sponge fingers. Stir the coffee and sugar together, then pour into a shallow heatproof dish. Stir in the Marsala and leave to cool.

    2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Put the sugar and cornflour into a medium saucepan, preferably non-stick. Stir in 1 tbsp of the measured milk to make a thin, smooth paste. Separate the egg, putting the white into a medium bowl and setting it aside, and dropping the yolk into the saucepan. Beat the yolk into the cornflour paste, then stir in the rest of the milk. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the pan, then drop in the pod. Cook over a medium-low heat for about 8-10 mins without letting the mixture boil, stirring all the time, until the mixture thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat, then stir in the crème fraîche and the 1 tbsp of Marsala. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover the surface with cling film and leave until cold.

    3. To assemble, line a 23 x 13 x 6cm deep loaf tin with cling film (see step 1), leaving an overlap at the top. Beat together the mascarpone and soft cheese, then stir into the rest of the cold filling. Whisk the egg white to stiff peaks and gently fold into the filling using a large metal spoon.

    4. Dip one of the sponge fingers in the coffee mixture, rolling it around briefly, for a few secs only, to coat and soak in, then lift it out before it has a chance to get too soggy (see step 2). If left in the coffee, it will disintegrate. Lay it lengthways in the bottom of the tin. Do the same with 5 more of the sponge fingers, trimming to fit if necessary, so that they cover the bottom of the tin. Spoon over half of the filling, spreading it to cover the biscuits (see step 3), then repeat the biscuit dipping with 6 more of them. Spoon and spread over the rest of the filling, then dip and lay the rest of the sponge fingers over the top (see step 4). Bring the cling film overhang over to cover. Chill overnight.

    5. To serve, turn out onto a serving plate and carefully peel off the cling film. Dust the top with cocoa and scatter with raspberries, if using. Slice and serve the same day.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    4th Feb, 2018
    Looked the part for a dinner party dessert and enjoyed by everyone. Raspberries are a very good accompaniment and complement the creaminess of the tiramisu.
    20th Dec, 2015
    I've made this recipe today for a party, I wanted to make a Tiramisu which would cut neatly into slices as most other recipes are designed for individual glasses or flat square tins. Not worried about it being low fat so used whipped double instead of the creme fraiche and used full fat mascarpone and cream cheese. I also add extra sugar to the custard and extra coffee and Marsala as suggested. I cooled the custard in the freezer for 20 mins to speed up the process. To get a smooth mix when adding the cream cheese, mascarpone and egg white, I gently used a balloon whisk as I found it was taking forever with the metal spoon, it still remained a light textured mix. The sponge liquor was just the right flavour. Currently chilling in the fridge. I had some leftover sponge fingers and the coffe mix so I dipped the fingers as per recipe and then layered up in a couple of tumblers between layers of whipped double cream with vanilla extract and icing sugar, top with cocoa powder and a few raspberries. It made a great quick 'mock tiramisu' in case I don't get any of the main dessert at the party tomorrow. Just got back from the party, the Tiramisu flew off the plate and I received lots of lovely compliments. Looked great on the plate, cut nicely into 8-10 portions and it was a complete success. The creamy layer was light and the coffee sponges beautifully moist, a real winner, will do again for a dinner party. Ignore the rating of one star should read 5 stars. *****
    15th Nov, 2014
    I wanted to make this for a special dinner party so made a practice one for the family first in which I followed the recipe exactly. General opinion was that it needed more coffee and Masala. So the second time I made half the amount of coffee ( but doubled the strength) as I had had loads left over, and splashed extra Masala into each layer. This gave a much better version. I didn't add any more sugar, which is surprising as the tiramisu lover has a very sweet tooth. Far more sponge fingers needed than stated, I used a whole packet each time. But I will make the amended version again.
    13th Jan, 2014
    Absolutely delicious! I was intending to add more sugar as previous posts had suggested but forgot! However, although the filling isn't very sweet, when combined with the soaked biscuits the end result is plenty sweet enough. My guests loved it!
    22nd Jan, 2013
    Wow, so easy to make and really delicious. Took earlier advice and added a little extra sugar and the whole vanilla pod. Didn't have marsala so used dark rum instead. Super super tasty, will be making this regularly. And can't believe it's so low in calories, tastes totally lush!
    25th Dec, 2012
    Agree with an earlier review, it needed more sugar in the filling. I could taste the cream cheese which I do not normally associate with tiramisu.
    4th Nov, 2012
    Can you freeze it.
    12th Jul, 2012
    Amazing and so good knowing it almost healthy too!!
    6th Jul, 2012
    Wow! I've never made a tiramisu before so thought I'd give this a go. It was fantastic, so creamy and you can really taste that it has been homemade. I didn't use any Marsala but used almond essence which worked a treat.
    16th Feb, 2012
    Gorgeous! I made this for Valentine’s Day and served it with raspberry coulis. I went to bed feeling very guilty having had three big slices (because it was irresistible)...but hadn’t put on any weight at all the next morning! I couldn’t find low-fat mascarpone and so I used more soft cheese and added icing sugar to make it a little sweeter.


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