I’m gonna warn y’all up front that this recipe is a bit on the high maintenance side. Now any of you who know me know this is not my norm. I don’t have the time or the attention span to dilly dally over something I’m gonna put on the table. It has nothing to do with skill, just lack of will :).

When it comes to Tiramisu though, I have to give in from time to time due to my sheer adoration of this decadent dessert. If you want to make a showstopper to really impress folks, this is your new best friend.

This is one of those recipes that my grandmother refers to as “Eye-talian”, the old South’s pronunciation of “Italian”. Next to Southern food, Italian is one of my all time favorites. My husband likes my tiramisu but he always says “It would just taste so much better if it didn’t have that coffee flavor..” ~laughs~ Bless his heart, he kinda misses the whole point of Tiramisu, doesn’t he?

Even though it may be a bit on the high maintenance side, this is STILL easy, YOU CAN do it, and it is so very worth every bit of additional effort!


You’ll need: LadyFingers, granulated sugar, eggs, whipped topping, cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar, and cream cheese.

You’ll need 20 ladyfingers so you will most likely have to get two packages to get this amount. This package has twelve.


Katy thinks the name “Lady Fingers” is hilarious. I think her smiling face is precious.

Alright, back to food now.


You’re also going to need some coffee liqeur and strong coffee.

You can use instant coffee granulated and water if you like but I am using the coffee concentrate I make for my iced coffee.

For Coffee Liqueur, the original recipe called for Kahlua. I made my once a decade pilgrimage to the liquor store (I always feel like I’m going to get in trouble for going in there! I know, I’m an odd bird but my dad was a cop and as a result, I just never did anything wrong as a kid. Now, here I am a full grown adult and the programming is still there!) and when I saw how expensive Kahlua was, I opted for a cheaper version. This was a full ten dollars cheaper and I can’t tell a bit of difference in my Tiramisu. You’re only going to use two tablespoons of it and you can certainly leave it out if you like.

Using it in two tablespoon increments, this bottle is going to last me twenty years, I swear.


Add your coffee liqueur to the strong coffee. If you’d rather leave out the liqueur just use two tablespoons more coffee.

This is purely a matter of personal taste and your Tiramisu will be every bit as good no matter which way you go here.


Add 2 T sugar. Stir until dissolved.


Layer 1/2 of your ladyfingers in the bottom of an 8×8 dish.

Ladyfingers come split in two already so just take the tops or bottoms and layer them cut side up so they absorb the most liquid.


Drizzle 1/2 of coffee mixture over ladyfingers.

They will be kind of spotted looking like this. They don’t have to be evenly coated so don’t fret over it.


In mixing bowl, place softened cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar.


Mix until smooth and creamy.


Gently mix in 1 cup of whipped topping. Mix until smooth and creamy again.


Now comes the high maintenance part.

Like I said, it is not difficult at all, just a little more “babying” than I usually give my dishes. Southern food tends to be “hardy stuff” that you can just whip up and beat into shape! Tiramisu is a bit more delicate, but well worth the trouble.

Put some water in the bottom of a double boiler and bring it to a boil, place top pan in over the boiling water.

I don’t use a traditional double boiler because my pots were designed to fit together like this to make a big ole double boiler.


Add in sugar…


and water.


We need to separate our three eggs because we are just going to be using the whites in this recipe. There are egg separators you can purchase if you like that make this really easy. What I do though is just crack my egg open and gently allow the white to fall off. It will actually roll off the yoke if you just give it a second and be gentle with it. You might want to separate each egg in a new bowl to make sure you don’t taint your whites with yoke because if you get any yellow at all in there, they whites won’t whip up like we need them to.

You can do this! Don’t get intimidated if you’ve never separated an egg before, just get a few extra and practice. If you mess it up a time or two, save the egg to use later and try again. Once you get the knack of this you’ll be able to do it easily for the rest of your life.


Pour the egg whites into the top pot of your double broiler.


While your water in the bottom of the double boiler is simmering, beat the contents in the top with an electric mixer.

Make sure your beaters are perfectly clean because if they aren’t your whites won’t form peaks like we need them to.


First, they’ll start to get a little foamy.


Then they’ll get a LOT foamy…


This is almost to “soft peak” stage.


This is meringue that has formed “stiff peaks”. If you’ll look just to the right up near the top you’ll see where I pulled my beaters out and there are two points still sticking up. If the points remain standing, they are stiff peaks. If they droop a bit after you pull your beaters out, they are soft peaks.

We wanted stiff peaks and we got it! Do you know why? Because you are utterly brilliant, of course!


Add about a cup or so of that to your cheese mixture and beat it in.


Until it looks like this. Now add in the rest of your meringue and gently mix it all in.

You can do this by hand or with your mixer on it’s lowest setting.


Spread half of the cheese mixture over your ladyfingers.


Add a second layer of ladyfingers and drizzle the coffee mixture over them like before.


Add the remaining cheese mixture.


Top with remaining whipped topping and sprinkle cocoa powder over the top.

Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

This is pretty rich but every bite is about as close to heaven as a body can get!

  • ⅔ C Powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (at room temp)
  • 1½ C Whipped topping
  • ½ C granulated sugar
  • ¼ C Water
  • 3 Large Egg Whites
  • ½ C Hot Water + 2 T instant coffee granules (or ½ C plus 2 T strong brewed coffee)
  • 1 T Granulated Sugar
  • 2 T Coffee Liqueur
  • 20 ladyfingers
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  1. Combine powdered sugar and cream cheese in a bowl, beat at high speed until well blended. Gently fold in one cup whipped topping and beat until smooth and creamy.
  2. Combine ½ C granulated sugar, ¼ C water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Place over gently simmering water. Beat at high speed until stiff peaks form using clean, dry beaters.
  3. Gently stir ¼ of the egg mixture into the cheese mixture. When well blended, add remaining cheese mixture and stir or beat at lowest speed until smooth and creamy.
  4. Combine ½ C hot water, coffee liqueur, 1 T sugar, and instant coffee granules (or strong brewed coffee in place of granules and water). Stir until sugar is dissolved. Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise and arrange half of them in the bottom of an 8x8 dish. Drizzle half of coffee mixture over them. Spread half cheese mixture over this. Repeat with another layer of ladyfingers, remaining coffee mixture, and remaining cheese mixture. Top with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle cocoa powder over top and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. -Thomas Alva Edison

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Thank you all so much. Please continue to submit any quotes you come across that inspire you and I’ll continue to share them with each post and email that I send out.

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Welcome! You are a GRAND addition to our little community here and I am honored that you take a little time out of your busy day to sit a spell and talk recipes with me! Please leave a comment if you have the time. We have a great bunch of folks here and its fun to get to know each other a bit in the comments section. As always, feel free to reply to other comments as well!




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  1. Sonya M. says

    What the liquor store didn’t have any of the bins of “airplane” mini bottles up front? I’m not a big drinker so that’s what I always look for when I just need a little liquer for a recipe!

    I love tiramisu! I made it once, but this recipe looks simpler. And the pics help! When I made it, I thought it couldn’t possibly have enough liquer to affect the taste so I added more. It came out quite potent! The only other time I had a dessert that alcoholic was in foreign countries! Think Splenda would work here? Not that it would significantly affect the carb count with all the lady fingers!

    • says

      I checked for those first, actually! they had them in everything but what I needed. There was a small Starbucks Liqueur but it was about as much as the large bottle I got. Starbucks is awfully proud of their product! lol

      You can certainly replace sugar in the liquid with Splenda but I wouldn’t want to use it in the meringue without testing first although it would probably work. You also still have the confectioner’s sugar needed in the cheese mixture but every little bit helps!

  2. says

    Christie –

    Concerning the Tiramisu recipe – I have made a version of this for years and have discovered that lady fingers can be hard to track down. I have had much success using the short cakes that you find in the produce section (Kroger and Food City in Tennessee) next to the strawberries. I slice them up and layer them the same – it works well – I get many compliments!


    • Su says

      Re: the ladyfingers. Okay, so there may be some difference here seeing as I live halfway around the world, but Christy’s ladyfingers look soft, like cake?

      I use what’s called savoiardi. http://www.teitelbros.com/store/images/savoiardi.jpg
      They’re actually a hard biscuit/cookie shaped like a ladyfinger. Maybe you can find those? They will get soft from the coffee, cream, etc.

      Also with the liqueur, you could also use marsala and mix that with the coffee. Marsala is not very expensive, at least it isn’t here!

  3. says

    I’ve wondered if those little sponge cake (shortcakes) things would work because they do NOT sell ladyfingers anywhere where I live! I’ve looked high and low for those suckers and they’re nowhere to be found! I will admit to using twinkies in their place when I make a trifle. LOL

  4. Tina says

    That looks delicious! Actually, anything involving coffee is great with me! I’m making your Drop Biscuits for lunch today…I have had them on my mind all morning! :)

    Bountiful Blessings!

  5. Vickie says

    Wow that looks really good! I have to say I am one of those people who are intimidated by separating an egg. I have never done it before! One day I’m going to have to make this. I might leave out the coffee liquor. I’m like you I feel like a bad girl going into a liquor store. I don’t even like going down the isle in Wal-Mart that has the liquor on it…lol…Oh well…I guess that’s what I get when my parents have always taught me that drinking is bad for you!…Thanks for posting this I will have to make it some time soon.
    God Bless,

    • says

      Thank you so much, Vickie!
      It’s good to know there is another person out there with my same brand of “weirdness” when it comes to liquor stores! lol I know as an adult I should just waltz right in and not think twice, but it isn’t in my makeup!

      Hope you have a wonderful day and please let me know how you like it!
      Thank you for taking the time to give me a holler!
      Christy :)

  6. Sue Chumley says

    Hi Christy

    This looks so delicious. Cant wait to try it
    Thank you, Thank you.
    We have a big St. Patricks day dinner every year.
    Even though it isnt green, I think I will make this for my dessert next April.
    Come on over. Its always the Sat. night closest to the 17th.

    Love you bunch.

  7. Mary says

    Looks delish! Katy is so cute. And you crack me up!! When I was growing up, the cops kids were the WORSE! They were always notorious for getting in trouble, because I guess, they felt they were “above the law” so to speak, so around here you would have been considered an angel for being a good kid.

    Good luck with Friday’s show – I’m sure you’ll knock ’em out! You are so blessed. Keep up the good work!!

  8. Gerry says

    Looks delicious! I used to seperate my eggs in the egg shell like you, but after watching several cooking shows recently, I just tried doing it like several chefs and it is soooo much easier. I just crack the shell, open and put the whole egg in my one hand and regulate my fingers so the whites can fall through them into the bowl. When the whites fall off, I put the yolks into another bowl or what I’m cooking. No sharp edges of shells to accidently break the yolk. Give it a try and let us all know what you think! :)

  9. Shane C says

    I don’t think I’ve ever had something like this before. It looks delish and will have to give It a try. My only problem might be finding enough ladies to take fingers from! hehehe I’m not 100% sure they sell such a thing here, so what could you use In place of the lady fingers Instead?

    Thanks for the awesome recipe Christy! :)

  10. Carole says

    To separate eggs, I hold my (clean!) hand over the bowl, then I crack the egg, dump it into my palm and let the white dribble through my fingers into the bowl. Then just dump the yolk into another bowl for another use, or to mix with the dog’s food, gives puppy a nice shiny coat.

  11. erisraven says

    All right, I have to confess, I’m not so big on the coffee either. Mocha’s just not my thing. But what if you replaced it with something else? I’ll experiment around and see if I can make something good. I have a dark chocolate liqueur… or maybe amaretto?

  12. Kathy says

    I feel the same way about liquor stores. I am not usually a “drinker” but, but am a coffee lover and on cold winter days nothing is better than a hot cup of coffee laced with a little Kahlua. Uhmmmmmm–so warming and comforting. By the way, the recipe looks so delicious and I’ll be trying it soon.

  13. Georgia Peach says

    Hey y’all — I am still not receiving any email from Southern Plate. I have emailed and posted and at this point I am giving up. I sure did enjoy my brief stay here. I can’t imagine what I did to get myself excluded but I am really sorry for whatever it was.

    • says

      Dear Georgia Peach,

      I received the email you sent to me personally while out getting groceries just a bit ago with my daughter. I hurried to finish and rushed home because the email really bothered me a great deal. As I type this, the groceries are still sitting in the car, waiting to be unloaded and hopefully not overheating too much in the August Alabama sun :).

      I know you may not realize this, but Southern Plate is entirely a one woman show. In addition to taking care of my family (ten and four year old along with husband), house, and cooking for all of them, I also write these posts (which I spend at least four hours each day on), try to stay up as best I can on comments, try my best to read what I can of over 100 emails each day, and am also working with a local tv station as well doing food segments for them. In addition I still have a glimmer of hope of being involved in my kid’s lives and their schools. :)

      As Southern Plate continues to grow (Thanks to all of my wonderful readers like you), I increasing rely on readers to be understanding of what all I am juggling. So far, everyone has been so terribly kind and wonderful!

      I spend a total of about eight hours (at least) each day working on Southern Plate things off and on and for the most part, it is all volunteer. I actually pay for an email subscriber service out of my pocket to make it more convenient for my readers.

      However, have no doubt that I Dearly LOVE every bit of it! Everyone who reads Southern Plate gives me so very much and I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciate each and every time someone takes a moment to visit my website, or my “virtual front porch” as I think of it. I was a bit mortified that anyone would think I would purposefully exclude them from Southern Plate.

      Firstly, I care about my readers and am honored that anyone would want to come here to begin with and secondly, I was raised better than that. :) Everyone is a grand and welcome addition!

      I checked your email subscription through my service and every email I have sent since you signed up has been delivered to your inbox with the exception of todays.

      However, I have over fifteen thousand subscribers through email and rss and so it often takes a few hours before everyone receives the email. So far, none of the emails sent to you have been returned or “bounced back” – meaning they have all been received at some point or another by your email server. You might want to check your spam or junk mail folder as they might very likely go there and I show that you didn’t open the last three emails that I sent.

      I want to thank you, in advance, for giving me the benefit of the doubt. If you have any further problems, I am going to email you my husband’s email address. I am going to be filming all day tomorrow and then getting up at 4:00 am Friday morning to go do a morning show before heading straight out of town for a conference. I know my emails will pile up and I won’t be able to tackle them until much later so I don’t want you to have to wait any longer than necessary.

      I hope you have a wonderful day. I’m going to go unload my groceries now :)


    • says

      Georgia Peach,

      I can assure you that Christy would never ignore you or anyone on purpose. Christy is extremely busy, as she mentioned. (I don’t see how the booger does it, honestly)

      Georgia, please don’t leave because of this. I assure you its a glitch in the system. Christy cares about everyone on her site. She needs everyone to stand beside her while the site goes through some tough “birth pangs” while the site grows like a weed. Believe me Miss Georgia, It’s nothing personal maam.

  14. says

    To enhance the tiramisù, you could make homemade whipped cream instead of store-bought. I’m surprised you didn’t make that since you made the meringue. Either way, it looks great and fluffy. Thank you for mentioning a non-alcoholic option. So many bloggers forget about the few who don’t allow alcohol in their home.

  15. alwaysforgettingit says


    if memory servers, you nailed 2 of the exact ingredients for the more traditional, and complicated version of the recipe! but i’m pretty certain every version is very, very edible. especially Christy’s! i am willing to volunteer to test this theory!

    anyway, thanks as always to Ms. Christy for all her hard work and love. enjoy the rest of the summer, y’all!

  16. April says

    Oh wow that looks so good and hubby & myself are not coffee drinkers, but I am willing to give this a try. I have always been so scared of meringue knowin that I will screw it up, thinkin I might give this a go this weekend & see how hubby likes this “Eye” talin dessert! 😉

  17. says

    Know what you mean about Daddy- but in my case it was Mama…We had a “limit” out our driveway when we were small…and we got a “switching” if we went past that limit- which was a big ole cedar tree about 2/3 of the way out the drive from the road. Well, here I am today, 49 years old , living on my moms property helping her out- and my husband laughs at me because every time I walk out to check the mail- as soon as I pass that cedar tree, I cannot stop myself from looking back over my shoulder and getting that funny twinge in my tummy for breaking “the rule”.(Believe me- I have TRIED not looking back)…..LOL!!!!
    As for the Tiramisu….YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. says

    I just discovered your blog, and I love it! My sister went to college in Atlanta, so we’ve been huge fans of southern cooking!

    The tiramisu looks amazing! It kinda reminds me of lasagna in the sense that it’s a bit more “high maintanenance,” but it’s worth it for some sweet indulgence, no? Thanks for sharing!

  19. Susan Roddom says

    Oh Christy, I squealed when I saw the heading on your email today! Tiramisu is my absolute favorite dessert and I will be on a mission to find lady fingers tomorrow. Thanks so much for your generosity. You have no idea how much Southern Plate has enriched our lives.

  20. Denny says

    I have always loved tiramisu, but a fiend is alergic to coffee. sad but true. we found this one in her allergy book menny moons ago and it became one of our home vaves. I thought your husbands comments riminded me of the recipe,so I dug it out to share. I do cheat with this slightly I buy 2 csns of apricots, and use them.

    Apricot and Passionfuit Tiramisu

    7 ripe apricots
    1/2 cup caster sugar
    3/4 cup water
    300ml tub thickened cream
    250 tub mascapone cheese
    2 tblsps finely chopped mint
    170g can passion fruit pulp in syrup
    16 sponge finger biscuts
    halved apricots ans fresh mint to decorate

    Cut apricots in half. Remove stones. Coarsely chop flesh. place
    in to a sausepan, add sugar and 1 tblsp of water. stir over low heat until sugar is dessolved, bring to boil, simmer for about 5 minutes of until fuit is tender. Place in a food processor, and process until smooth. Refigerate until cold.
    Place cream in a small bowl od an electric mixer, beat until soft peaks form, and cheese,mint ans half the apricot mixture, beat until combined and thickened.
    combine passion fruit and remaining water in a bowl, dip half the biscuts, one at a time in the passionfruit misture. put on base of servind dish [6 cup capacity].
    spread half the cream mixture. Repeat process with remaining biscuits and passionfruit, apricot and cream mixtures. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
    Server decorated with apricot halves and fresh mint.

  21. Sheila M. says

    God I *love* tiramisu. If it didn’t take such time to make, I’d try to have it every day! But I always make sure to have some on my birthday ^^;

    I have my own recipe that I do but this one will be great for those times I didn’t get a chance to buy marscapone. Thanks so much for sharing!

  22. Kristoffer says

    Tiramisu has to be one of my all time favorite desserts! For some reason I had always though it was extremely complicated and required a ton of time to make – but this looks pretty simple. Yes, the double boiling and whipping the egg whites could get a bit tricky – but it still looks do-able! I am excited to try this!

  23. Janet Rogers says

    Only one grocery store in my area of SC carries ladyfingers. They are kept in the bakery freezer and you have to ask for them. This is because they don’t have a lot of requests for them. May have to try this soon!

  24. says

    Christy, Our mom’s must’ve had the same “eye-talian” cook book or secret chef. Hehe. The only difference is that where we lived we could never find Katy’s favorite-lady fingers-so we got the idea of using thinly sliced pound cake pieces the same way. They taste every bit as good and you can used home baked or sara lee frozen and not tell the dif. Thanks for reminding me of a great recipe.

  25. Ann says

    Dear Christy, thank you so much for this recipe. I llloooovvvveee tiramisu and order it whenever I can when we eat out. I have to try this. Your recipes are wonderful. Thank you so much. You are a true Southern cook. Best wishes with your new endeavors. We love you!


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