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Here, Nigella Lawson makes small-size tiramisu, which means you have a dessert worth making for fewer people (you don’t need a partyful), and in less time. Unlike the big, trifle-style tiramisu, these tiramisini—think coffee-soaked Savoiardi cookies, topped with the familiar whipped Marsala-spiked mascarpone in small-portioned martini glasses—don’t even need to sit overnight before being ready to eat.

These are a tiny bit lighter, too, as Nigella doesn’t use the egg yolks—the mascarpone is plenty rich enough—but she includes the egg whites to add moussiness and air. She buys pasteurized egg whites in a carton. It’s fine to leave out the coffee liqueur and just bump up the coffee quotient, if you prefer.

Ingredients:

  • 7 Tbs. espresso or strong instant coffee
  • 2 Tbs. coffee liqueur
  • 4 Savoiardi cookies (ladyfingers)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 2 Tbs. honey or sugar
  • 2 Tbs. Marsala
  • About 1 Tbs. good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

Make the espresso and pour it into a heatproof pitcher, adding the coffee liqueur, then let it cool. (If it’s a cool day, place the pitcher outside the window for 10 minutes.)

Break each Savoiardi cookie into about 4 pieces and drop them into 4 small (about 1/2 cup) martini glasses, then pour the cooled espresso mixture over them. Tamp down gently, making sure the biscuits are soaked all over.

Using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside.

Scrape the mascarpone into another bowl, adding the honey. Beat with the electric hand mixer (no need to clean it first) and, when smooth, slowly beat in the Marsala.

Fold in the egg whites, one-third at a time, then dollop this mixture over the soused Savoiardi in each glass, using a spoon to whirl it into a swirly peak at the top.

Transfer the martini glasses to the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes or up to 24 hours. Dust with cocoa, pushing it through a fine-mesh strainer, just before serving. Serves 4.

Adapted from Nigellissima, by Nigella Lawson (Clarkson/Potter Publishers, 2012).