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This is such an Italian classic which speaks for itself, and has been one of my signature

desserts since my student years. Perfect for Shavuot!

There is no alcohol in my recipe but if you prefer, add 2-3 tablespoons of Marsala, rum or sherry (or other alcohol of your choice) to the coffee before dipping the biscuits. The eggs must be very fresh or the cheese mixture becomes runny. Ideally prepare half a day ahead. Lasts up to 3 days, refrigerated and covered.

Note: contains raw eggs.

Photo: Barbara Toselli

PREP - 20 minutes (plus 2 hours chilling)


SERVES - 6-8


500ml (approx.) espresso or strong black coffee, cooled

2–3 tbsp milk

5 large eggs, separated

5 tbsp caster/ granulated sugar

Pinch of sea salt

500g mascarpone cheese

300g savoiardi biscuits (or sponge fingers)

Cocoa powder, to dust


  • Pour the cooled coffee into a shallow bowl and add the milk.

  • Beat the yolks with 3 tablespoons of sugar for a couple of minutes until pale and creamy, in a bowl with a electric beaters or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

  • Add the salt and stir.

  • Add the mascarpone, a tablespoon at a time, gently whisking it in (either by hand, or on the lowest speed of the hand or stand mixer) until just combined.

  • In a separate, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with electric beaters (also cleaned and dried) for about 1 minute to soft-peak stage, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, whisking for at least 1 minute at high speed until the whites form stiff peaks. Slowly fold them into the mascarpone and egg-yolk mixture with a metal spoon or spatula.

  • Spread a thin coat of the mascarpone mixture on the base of a square, round or oval dish about 30cm x 25cm.

  • Dip the savoiardi briefly on both sides into the coffee, one at a time, and place them close together over the mascarpone mixture until you have a single layer. [Tip: Don’t soak the Savoiardi too long — they need to be soft outside but still a little dry inside.]

  • Spread half of the remaining mascarpone mixture uniformly over the biscuits. Cover with a second layer of Savoiardi dipped in coffee and top with the remaining mascarpone mixture.

  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until ready to serve. Cover with clingfilm if refrigerating for more than 2–3 hours.

  • Sift cocoa powder over the top and serve chilled, always.


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