tiramisu parfaits

Need to prepare dessert in a hurry?  Here’s a delicious idea.  These beauties are thrown together in thirty minutes.  And they will be the hit of the party.  Promise.

You can simply chop or shred the chocolate for this, but if you are willing to give it a try …let’s make chocolate curls.  The chocolate is melted with a small amount of vegetable shortening, then spread onto a cookie sheet in a thin layer.  That hangs out in the fridge for a few minutes.  Before long (about ten minutes) you’re ready to create some chocolate artistry.

The ladyfingers are cut into small cubes.  You can use the soft version or the crunchy ones.  After the parfait hangs out for awhile, even the crunchy ladyfingers will soften.  You’ll see.  You can even use cubed pound cake.  Or angel food cake.

The mascarpone and cream are beaten with the sugar and vanilla until fluffy.  The liqueur is then folded in.  Yum.  A delicious combination.  After that, you are basically setting up a parfait assembly line.  You can use whatever you have on hand …cocktail glasses, dessert bowls, parfait glasses.  Whatever you choose, it’s best to use clear glass so that the distinct layers can shine through.

These can be made a full twenty-four hours ahead.  Or not long before your guests arrive.  Just be sure to give them a full hour to chill before serving.

tiramisu parfaits

Easy and delicious show-off dessert.

Ladyfingers can be substituted with prepared pound cake cubes.

Servings 6 - 8 servings


  • 4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, broken in pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable shortening
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chocolate liqueur or coffee liqueur
  • 3 ounces ladyfingers, cubed
  • 3/4 cup brewed espresso or very strong coffee


  1. Melt chocolate with the shortening in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally.  Pour melted chocolate onto an 11 x 17-inch rimmed baking sheet.  Smooth with an offset spatula.  Refrigerate until chocolate is set but not brittle, about ten minutes.

  2. Holding a sturdy metal spatula or a bench scraper at a 45° angle, scrape chocolate away from you to form curls.  If chocolate is too brittle, let stand at room temperature for 1 to 2 minutes before trying again.  If too soft, refrigerate briefly.  Break each curl into 1-inch pieces.  (Curls can be made ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)

  3. In a large bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed just until soft peaks form.  Gently fold in liqueur.

  4. Divide half of the ladyfinger cubes among six 6-ounce glasses.  (For smaller servings, use eight glasses.)  Drizzle with half of the espresso.  Top with half of the mascarpone mixture and half of the chocolate.  Repeat layers.

  5. Cover and chill for 1 to 24 hours before serving.

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