Little known fact about Helena Thompson: she can consume a bowl of tiramisu larger than her face – at warp speed.

Yes, it’s true. Tiramisu is my favorite dessert, hands down. Come on – you put sweet cookies soaked in coffee and liquor inbetween layers of a spiked mascarpone cheese/whipped cream mixture, and you expect me NOT to crave it? Bluhhh.

Anyway, I was browsing the foodblogosphere one day when I came across a recipe for tiramisu made not with Grand Marnier, wine, or rum, but with BEER. I know, it sounds kind of trashy, but this isn’t Bud Light that we’re talking about. You need a dark, rich beer for this dessert – a Porter will do you just fine. I used a beer featuring subtle toffee, chocolate, and coffee flavors from San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company with excellent results. This is seriously delicious stuff we’re lookin’ at. Serve these at your next dinner party – they’re perfect as little individual desserts…although you can also make this recipe in an 8×8 pan; I prefer individual portions. They’re cuter!


2 8 oz. containers mascarpone cheese
8 oz. heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus two tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
20 ladyfinger cookies (I used Whole Foods brand ladyfingers, and they come in packages of 20)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Porter
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons prepared coffee (the stronger, the better)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix mascarpone cheese in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add 2 tablespoons coffee and 2 tablespoons Porter; combine. Add heavy whipping cream slowly, then increase mixer to highest speed and whip until light and fluffy. Sweeten slowly with 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar until desired sweetness.

In a shallow pan (such as a pie plate), combine remaining coffee, Porter, and confectioner’s sugar. Stir well.

In a small parfait glass, layer broken ladyfinger pieces dipped in coffee/beer mixture, mascarpone mixture, and dustings of cocoa powder until full. Garnish with cocoa powder and a ladyfinger piece. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least one hour or until ready to serve.

Makes 4 individual servings.


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