Dessert · Italian Food

Luisella’s Tiramisu


There is a flat on the shores of Lake Garda that has been empty for about 5 years.

It’s only a small place on the top floor of a 3-storey building with 2 bedrooms, an airy living room, a small bathroom and an even smaller kitchen.
There is a balcony overlooking the great deep blue waters of the lake and their crown of snow-topped Alps. A balcony where rabbit was spit-roasted nestled amongst pillows of bacon and rosemary needles and pots of flowers and fresh herbs lined the walls.
There is a cellar that used to be filled with bottles of wine, old books, salamis, tins of homemade olive oil and Lego bricks. There is also a garage spot where a red Alfa Romeo car used to be parked.

My parents and I moved into that flat in the Spring of 1989 – They made the hard choice to leave Panama behind and restart our lives where they first met. Dad’s country. A country I barely knew I was so little, but it is all I know to call Home now.

As a child, I loved the deep pink of our building and the cool feel of the marble staircase against my cheek.
I loved falling asleep in the early afternoon on the uncomfortable c-shaped couch.
I loved watching dad sit in the tiny kitchen, far too small for more than one person, handing over thick slices of homemade salami.
I loved walking home from school on Saturdays, the scent of privet permeating the air, and being greeted by rotisserie chicken and big green salads for lunch.
I loved standing on the balcony watching the wind blow in from the lake in the early morning.
I loved sitting in my small and darkened bedroom, the sunlight timidly streaming in through the shutter slates, reading.
I didn’t love how close we all had to live together and my lack of actual privacy.
I did love the smell of fresh soap that pervaded that confined space after mum ran a load of washing.
I loved spending Saturday nights at home, feeling safe whilst playing cards with my parents.
I loved the laughter the few close friends I had brought to our home.

Now, after my parents have retired and returned to Panama, I realise how much that flat meant to me, how safe I felt there despite the challenges we had to face and I wish we had had more time there…

It was in that building that I started cooking and learned how to make my first desserts from Luisella, our neighbour – I took myself to her flat regularly, pen poised over my pink notebook clipping my first recipes: tiramisú and chocolate salami.
I know those recipes by heart now, I make them time and time again both to celebrate a wins and face challenges.

This is her tiramisu – It’s light and deep in flavour. I use Pavesini instead of the more typical Savoiardi which can normally found in Italian delis because I find they make it more delicate, but feel free to revert to the original base – I wouldn’t judge!



Luisella’s Tiramisu

  • Author: BribedWithFood
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8


  1. 250gr good quality mascarpone
  2. 3 large eggs
  3. 150gr caster sugar
  4. 2 cups strong coffee
  5. Pavesini (or Savoiardi if you really want to be traditional) – Enough to cover the base of a 25cm diameter deep dish with 2 layers
  6. Cocoa powder


  1. Cover the base of the dish with the biscuits.
  2. Pour the coffee over the biscuits and let it soak.
  3. Cream the egg yolks with the sugar until they are nice and soft.
  4. Add the mascarpone to the yolk mixture and whisk until well incorporated.
  5. Whip the egg whites until you have a good hard meringue.
  6. Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture.
  7. Pour the resulting cream in the dish.
  8. Dust with the cocoa powder.
  9. Let the tiramisu rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours (best if left overnight).

Keywords: dessert, Italian food, cucina italiana, dolci

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