My mum, Debs, is a born entertainer. Growing up, our house was always the house to drop into just to say ‘Hi’, and the house for fantastic dinner parties. I loved knowing it was a dinner party night and loved all the ‘special’ food that would appear. I wanted to know the types of cheese my mum had bought for the cheese plates, I wanted to know what she was cooking for the main course, and I desperately wanted to be involved in the dessertmaking. I always remember the excitement of a tiramisu. My job was to soak the Italian biscuits in the coffee and liqueur, just enough so they weren’t dry but not too much that they completely fell apart in my hands. I took this job very seriously and have loved this dessert ever since.






Skill level

Average: 3.9 (30 votes)


  • 250 g (9 oz) plain chocolate biscuits (cookies)
  • 85 g (3 oz) unsalted butter, melted then cooled
  • 2 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3 tbsp pure icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
  • 250 g (9 oz) mascarpone
  • 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) thick (double/heavy) cream
  • 2 tsp Marsala (optional)
  • 1 tbsp crushed cacao nibs, to serve
  • 2 tsp good-quality cocoa powder, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Pulse the biscuits in a food processor to coarse crumbs. Add the butter and pulse again to combine.

Press the crumb mixture into the bases of six 11 cm (4¼ in) pie dishes.

Stir to dissolve the coffee in the boiling water, then set aside.

Place the egg yolks and caster sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the hot water). Whisk for 6 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick and pale. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and whisk for 5 minutes or until cooled completely. Turn off the mixer and add the vanilla, icing sugar, mascarpone and cream, then whisk for 1–2 minutes until stiff peaks form – be careful not to overmix.

Halve the mixture and fold the coffee mixture through one portion. Fold the Marsala (if using) through the other half. Divide the coffee filling among the pastry cases and top with the other filling. Scatter with cacao nibs and cocoa to serve.


Recipe and image from The Pie Project by Phoebe Wood and Kirsten Jenkins (Hardie Grant, $29.95, hbk).


View our Readable feasts review and more recipes from the book here.