A Very Special Tiramisu Recipe – Indulge in a Decadent Italian Dessert

Tiramisu, a timeless Italian dessert, has always held a special place in my heart. It’s a dish that speaks of comfort and indulgence, layered with the rich flavors of coffee-soaked ladyfingers, mascarpone cheese, and a dusting of cocoa powder. As Lina Bifano, a contributor to the vibrant culinary community at Foodies of New England, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring countless variations of this beloved treat. Yet, it is the story behind my “A Very Special Tiramisu” recipe that makes it truly extraordinary.

This particular recipe was born out of a desire to recreate a cherished memory. It was on a crisp autumn evening in the rolling hills of Tuscany where I first tasted what I considered to be the epitome of tiramisu. The setting sun cast a warm glow over the vineyards, and as I savored each spoonful, I knew I wanted to bring this experience back home. My goal was not just to replicate the flavors but to encapsulate the essence of that moment—its warmth, its serenity, and the sense of connection I felt with those who shared the table with me.

A Very Special Tiramisu

A Very Special Tiramisu

A Very Special Tiramisu

Mix Manhattan Special™ cola and espresso powder. Whip egg yolks and sugar. Add mascarpone. Whip cream with vanilla and sugar. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone. Dip ladyfingers in soda. Layer ladyfingers, mascarpone, and cocoa powder. Refrigerate overnight. Enjoy this decadent dessert!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 134 kcal


  • 1 stove
  • 1 chilled bowl
  • 1 piping bag
  • 1 bowl or deep container


  • 3 cups Manhattan Special™ cola
  • ½ tablespoon Instant espresso powder
  • 6 Egg yolks
  • 2 ½ 8 oz. Tubs of mascarpone cheese
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Packages of ladyfingers depending on how many individual portions you will make
  • Cocoa powder unsweetened, for dusting


  • Mix the Manhattan Special™ cola and the espresso powder together and set aside.
  • Whip the egg yolks and sugar over a double boiler until the mixture is thick and lemon yellow. Usually between 5-10 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it gets too difficult to whip by hand and takes on the consistency of a light pudding. You can also use an electric hand-mixer here, but be mindful when working over a stove.
  • Once your eggs have reached their desired consistency, remove them from the heat source and whisk in the mascarpone, removing all lumps while working. Set aside your mascarpone pudding to cool.
  • In a chilled bowl, begin to whip the heavy cream. When soft peaks form, add the vanilla and confectioner’s sugar and continue to whip until you reach the stiff peak stage. Do not over mix. Over mixing will create a watery mess and will ruin the dessert. Gently fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone pudding until it’s incorporated and smooth. Fill a piping bag with the pudding and another with the rest of the whipped cream.
  • Fill the bottom of a bowl or deep container with the Manhattan Special™ soda. Dip the ladyfingers into the mixture, quickly turning them, so as not to oversaturate. They should have a crunch to them still. Push the ladyfinger into the bottom of the push pops or whatever vessel you’re using, creating your first layer. Top that with a layer of the Mascarpone pudding and sprinkle with good cocoa powder. Repeat until you reach the top layer, leaving room for some whipped cream. Dust the top of the whipped cream layer with some cocoa to finish.



Let these set in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Keyword Tiramisu

Cooking Tips

A Very Special Tiramisu

When it comes to crafting “A Very Special Tiramisu,” the secret lies in the subtleties that elevate this classic dessert to new heights. As someone who cherishes the art of cooking and the joy it brings, I find that sharing these tips is like passing on little nuggets of culinary wisdom that can transform your tiramisu from delightful to extraordinary.

Firstly, the choice of coffee plays a pivotal role in infusing the ladyfingers with the deep, aromatic essence that is so characteristic of tiramisu. Opt for a rich, freshly brewed espresso that will impart a robust flavor, creating a harmonious balance with the creamy mascarpone layer. If you’re feeling adventurous, a dash of coffee liqueur can add an extra dimension of taste, wrapping the dessert in a warm, inviting embrace.

The quality of the mascarpone cheese cannot be overstated. This velvety cheese should be as fresh as possible, with a smooth consistency that blends seamlessly into the other ingredients. In my experience, taking the time to whisk the mascarpone with the egg yolks and sugar until it reaches a light, airy texture makes all the difference. It’s this cloud-like cream that gives tiramisu its luxurious mouthfeel.

For the ladyfingers, or savoiardi, ensure they are of good quality and have a firm structure to soak up the coffee without falling apart. A quick dip is all it takes—too long, and they’ll become soggy; too short, and the coffee won’t penetrate the delicate crumb. It’s a delicate dance, one that requires a gentle hand and an attentive eye.

As for the assembly, it’s an act of love and patience. Layering the coffee-soaked ladyfingers with the mascarpone mixture should be done with care, creating distinct strata that meld together in each bite yet maintain their individual textures. A final dusting of cocoa powder adds not just a hint of chocolatey bitterness but also an aesthetic touch that makes the dessert as beautiful as it is delicious.

Lastly, allowing the tiramisu to rest in the refrigerator for several hours, or even overnight, is crucial. This resting period lets the flavors marry and the dessert to set, resulting in a tiramisu that is both cohesive and enchanting with every spoonful.

The Best Way to Serve A Very Special Tiramisu

A Very Special Tiramisu

Serving “A Very Special Tiramisu” is not just about presenting a dessert; it’s about curating an experience that complements the rich tapestry of flavors and emotions woven into each layer. When it comes time to share this creation with friends, family, or even as a solitary treat, the presentation is key to elevating the entire sensory experience.

I recommend serving this tiramisu in a beautiful glass dish or individual trifle bowls, which allows the meticulous layers to be displayed in all their glory. The transparency of the glass adds a visual allure, inviting your guests to dive into the stratified beauty before them.

Garnishing is a personal touch that can speak volumes. A sprig of mint or a few edible flowers placed delicately on top can add a pop of color and a hint of freshness that contrasts beautifully with the rich, creamy hues of the dessert. If you’re serving it during the festive season, a sprinkle of edible gold leaf could impart a touch of elegance and celebration.

Temperature plays a subtle yet significant role in the enjoyment of tiramisu. Serve A Very Special Tiramisu chilled, but allow it to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before indulging. This brief pause lets the flavors become more pronounced, ensuring that each spoonful is as luscious and inviting as intended.

Pairing A Very Special Tiramisu with a beverage can also enhance the overall experience. A sweet dessert wine, such as Vin Santo or Moscato, can complement the creamy sweetness of the mascarpone, while a cup of espresso or a dark roast coffee provides a delightful contrast that accentuates the coffee notes within the dessert.


A Very Special Tiramisu

FAQs about “A Very Special Tiramisu”

  • Can I use regular coffee instead of espresso? While espresso is preferred for its concentrated flavor, which is integral to the character of the tiramisu, you can use a strong brewed coffee as a substitute. The key is to ensure that the coffee has a bold and rich taste to infuse the ladyfingers with the necessary depth of flavor that complements the creamy layers.
  • Is it possible to make this recipe gluten-free? Absolutely! Gluten-free ladyfingers are available and can be used as a one-to-one replacement for traditional savoiardi. The rest of the ingredients are naturally gluten-free, so with this simple swap, everyone can enjoy the comforting embrace of this special dessert.
  • How long should the tiramisu be refrigerated before serving? Patience is a virtue with tiramisu. Allowing it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight, lets the flavors meld together beautifully. This waiting period is essential for achieving the perfect texture and taste that makes each bite a whisper of the original Tuscan experience.
  • Can “A Very Special Tiramisu” be made without alcohol? Certainly. The essence of this recipe lies in its adaptability. While a touch of coffee liqueur adds a layer of complexity, you can omit it without compromising the integrity of the dessert. The coffee and mascarpone will still dance together delightfully on your palate.
  • What’s the best way to store leftovers? If you find yourself with leftovers, consider it a gift for future enjoyment. Tiramisu can be covered with plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator. Enjoy it within a couple of days to savor the freshness and delicate balance of flavors.

In conclusion, “A Very Special Tiramisu” is not merely a dessert; it’s a symphony of flavors that tells a story with each layer, each ingredient, and each bite. It’s a testament to the beauty of blending tradition with local charm, where the essence of the Tuscan landscape meets the heart of Foodies of New England. As we’ve explored through cooking tips, serving suggestions, and FAQs, this tiramisu is a celebration of culinary artistry and heartfelt storytelling.

For those who have followed along on this journey, I hope you’ve been inspired to create your own version of this beloved Italian classic. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a curious novice in the kitchen, remember that the true magic of “A Very Special Tiramisu” lies in the emotions it evokes and the memories it creates.

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