Summer Baking Without the Bake!

As the weather gets warm and I find myself in need of something sweet, I turn to my arsenal of no-bake treats to satisfy my sweet tooth. In my back pocket I have everything from fruit salads to popsicles to cream pies. But I have to say, my ultimate and favorite no-bake dessert is tiramisu. It’s a delightfully creamy and  sweet, but not too sweet, indulgence. The espresso adds a caffeine kick that is perfect after a delicious meal that is likely to send you to a food coma (especially if it's one enjoyed at my table). 

For this recipe, you are going to use some fancy techniques that are so easy, but sound complicated. You are going to create a bain marie, which in simple terms is a glass or heat proof bowl fitted over a sauce pot of simmering water. This process will be used to cook your egg mixture.

Then it's just a matter of mixing and waiting. The longer this is allowed to sit in your ‘fridge, the better it will taste. The flavors will have time to marry and meld and become delicious. Your patience will be rewarded.

The Hardware

  • 9 inch square baking dish
  • Double boiler or glass dish that fits over a sauce pot
  • Hand mixer
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Spatula             
  • Plastic wrap

The Software

  • 1 cup brewed espresso
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto liquor, dark rum, coffee flavored liquor, or Marsala

The Filling

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons amaretto liquor, dark rum, coffee flavored liquor, or Marsala
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 c (8 oz carton) Mascarpone Cheese
  • Ladyfingers
  • Cocoa powder or grated dark chocolate to top

The Process

Combine all the ingredients for the espresso syrup and set aside. I use strong coffee, usually leftover from my morning jolt. If the coffee is a little cold, I would advise warming it up for a few seconds in the microwave to allow the sugar to dissolve quickly and fully.

Next combine the 3 egg yolks, sugar and liquor of your choice in to the glass bowl for your Bane Marie.

  Simmering water of the Bain Marie

Simmering water of the Bain Marie

Place bowl over your pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t come in contact with the water. With your mixer on low speed, beat the egg and sugar mixture on low to medium-low speed until the mixture reaches a pale yellow color.

You’ll know the mixture is done when it coats the back of a spoon and holds its line when you run a finger through it.

Pull the mixture off the heat and set aside to allow to cool a bit.

While the egg mixture is cooling, add your whipping cream to a second bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.

Once the cream is whipped the egg mixture will be cooled. Add the mascarpone cheese to the egg mixture and thoroughly combine.  The easiest way to complete this is by utilizing your hand mixer.

Once the egg and marscapone cheese are fully combined, add the whipped cream and slowly fold in to combine.

To assemble, take each ladyfinger and dip it into the coffee syrup for 1-2 seconds max. You do not want them to be completely soaked. They will fall apart and make your tiramisu soggy. Once you have your first layer of coffee soaked lady fingers in the bottom of the pan, take half the filling mixture and spread over the lady fingers.

Then repeat the layers and cover with the remaining filling mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator and allow to set for a minimum of two hours, but overnight is best. To serve, remove plastic wrap and cover with dark chocolate shavings or cocoa powder, enjoy!

Espresso syrup:

1.     Combine warm Espresso, sugar, and liquor in a small bowl and allow to cool. Set aside while making the filling.


1.     Bring to 1-1.5 inches of water in saucepan to a simmer. Place glass bowl over the simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.

2.     In the glass bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar, and amaretto liquor. Mix on low-medium speed over the simmering water until the mixture turns pale yellow. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon and hold its shape when a finger is ran across the back of the spoon.

3.     Remove egg mixture from the heat and allow to cool.

4.     While the egg mixture is cooling, in a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks.

5.     Add mascarpone cheese to cooled egg mixture and combine thoroughly.

6.     Fold in whipped cream to mascarpone mixture.

To assemble:

1.     Take your ladyfingers and dip them one by one into the espresso mixture and place in your 9-inch square-baking pan, until the first single layer is complete.

2.     Add half the mascarpone mixture and smooth over the espresso soaked ladyfingers.

3.     Repeat step one, creating a second layer.

4.     Cover with the remaining mascarpone mixture.

5.     Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to set for a minimum of 2 hours, but overnight is best.

6.     To serve, remove plastic wrap and dust top generously with cocoa powder or grated dark chocolate

7.     ENJOY

bon appétit! 

C. Sambrano