Tiramisu (decaff!)

For the pregnant, breastfeeding, or those of you with a nervous disposition, I present a decaff Tiramisu. This was a request from my breastfeeding buddy. T’su is her fave, caffeine, however, is not. Easy you say. Just swop to decaff coffee. Well yes, it really is that easy. BUT, it’s hard to find decaff espresso. And even harder if you don’t have a cafetiere. Which I don’t. I found the decaff eventually in some obscure unknown shop called Tesco, ahem. I steeped the espresso in hot water and strained through a sieve lined with kitchen roll. But even though I had let it infuse for ages, the coffee flavour really wasn’t that strong. So in the end I just used instant. It tasted stronger and was less of a faff. I guess if I made t’su regularly I would consider investing in a cafetiere, but I don’t, and I rarely drink coffee. So there.


I took the recipe from Carluccio and adapted it a bit. I’ve made his before and he does it for individual portions. I do it in a massive dish so it requires more of the mascarpone mix than he suggests (which you can never have enough of quite frankly). He uses espresso, like I said I used instant. For 400ml of water I added about 2 heaped tablespoons of coffee. I guess you could add more to taste. I tasted it… it was bitter… like nothing I’ve ever tasted before… I will never attempt to taste such strong coffee again. I have to admit, there wasn’t a very strong coffee flavour in the end. I guess that’s why espresso is used. You win some etc etc.

My buddy was most pleased with her decaff t’su. Especially as I covered it in glitter (any opportunity to cover food in glitter and I do it). Whilst scoffing I heard lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ and ‘mmmm’s’. So I think I did my job well. In fact I know i did, for I was making those noises too.


  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100g caster sugar
  • Few drops of good vanilla essence
  • 500g mascarpone cheese
  • 100ml single cream
  • 400ml strong coffee
  • 4 tbsp Kahlua or Tia Maria
  • Savoyard biscuits (or ladies fingers) (orig recipe says to use 18, I used about 30!)
  • Some bitter cocoa powder, to dust


  • In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks, 80g of the caster sugar and the vanilla essence together.
  • In a second larger bowl, mix the mascarpone with the cream to make it thinner. Mix the mascarpone with the egg. Should the mixture be too dense, add a few drops of milk.
  • Mix the coffee, chosen liqueur and remaining caster sugar together in a third bowl. Dip the biscuits briefly into the coffee, I used tongs (don’t let them absorb too much liquid), and use to line a dish. Mine was about 15 x 20cm. Put in a thin layer of the mascarpone mixture, then top with some more biscuits, finishing with a thick mascarpone layer on top.
  • Chill until ready to serve, preferably overnight. Dust with a little cocoa powder just before serving. Otherwise it goes all wet looking.

P.S. You will notice the photo is of an individual portion and I have been waffling on about using a large dish. Well as I was transporting the tiramisu some distance I constructed it in tupperware. Tupperware does not make for an attractive photo… So I made a small individual one to look pretty for the blog. And it also meant I could have a cheeky taste of it!

Sasa x


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