Dessert: Black-and- White Tiramisu

recipe photo

Joey Altman has shared three great recipes from his book Without Reservations. Each one is delicious, simple – and ideal for preparing with friends. Watch our videos with Joey Altman that demonstrate how to on prepare this Italian-themed dinner, including simple tips on how to involve your guests in the prep.

Restaurants are often the setting for celebrations and have at least one show-stopping dessert. Here's Joey Altman's perfected recipe for a show-stopping dessert you can easily make at home. Watch our video of Joey Altman preparing Black-and-White Tiramisú.


  • 6 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped, plus an additional small chunk (at least 1 ounce) for making chocolate shavings, for optional garnish
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 eggs, separated (you will have 1 leftover white)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup strong, hot brewed coffee
  • 1⁄3 cup brandy or rum, or a combination of the two 36 ladyfingers, purchased or homemade (see Joey's book for the recipe) Shaved chocolate or cocoa powder, for garnish (optional)


  • To make the dark chocolate mousse, melt the 6 ounces chocolate and the butter in the top of a double boiler over, but not touching, barely simmering water. Heat and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside until it is near room temperature but still fluid.
  • Whip 3 egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a standing mixer using the whip attachment at medium speed until the mixture is pale and light, about 5 minutes. Fold in the cooled chocolate.
  • Whip ¼ cup of the heavy cream with the 1 tablespoon Kalúa to medium peaks. Gently fold into the chocolate mixture.
  • In a large, clean, dry bowl, whip 2 egg whites with 2 tablespoons of the sugar until they just begin to hold a stiff peak but are not at all dry. Gently fold into the chocolate mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thickened and spreadable, at least 1 hour.
  • To make the mascarpone cream, whisk together the remaining ½ cup cream, ½ cup of the sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl until the sugar dissolves. Add the mascarpone, whisking until the mixture is smooth and thick. Set aside. (Refrigerate if not using immediately.)
  • To make the coffee syrup, stir together the coffee and brandy with the remaining ¼ cup sugar and the ¼ cup Kalúa until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • To assemble the tiramisù, put 12 ladyfingers into Pottery Barn's Montana Footed Bowl, cutting them as needed to (mostly) cover the bottom of the dish. Use a pastry brush to soak the ladyfingers with coffee syrup, using about one third of the syrup and painting them a couple of times as the syrup absorbs into the cookies.
  • Dollop and spread half of the mascarpone cream evenly over the ladyfingers. Top with another 12 ladyfingers and brush them generously with the syrup.
  • Dollop and spread all of the dark chocolate mousse evenly over the ladyfingers. Top with the final 12 ladyfingers and brush them with the remaining syrup.
  • Use a grater or sharp knife to shave about 1 ounce of chocolate into small pieces. Fold the chocolate into the remaining mascarpone cream, then dollop and spread the mixture evenly over the ladyfingers to form the top layer.
  • Lightly press a piece of waxed paper over the tiramisù, then wrap the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  • To serve, cut the tiramisù with a sharp knife dipped in warm water and wiped with a clean towel. Carefully lift the pieces onto dessert plates with a small, flexible spatula. Top with additional chocolate shavings or sifted cocoa, if desired.