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Savioardi (Italian ladyfingers), creamy mascarpone, and whipping cream make quick work of a classic by Nick Malgieri. Whip one up for a Mother's Day party, Father's Day barbecue or any time.


Espresso syrup

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup strongly brewed Illy Dark Roast espresso
  • 1/4 cup brandy or 1 1/2 tablespoons Saba


  • 1/3 cup sweet Marsala
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 pound mascarpone, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

For the syrup, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cool, and stir in espresso and brandy or saba. 

For the filling, beat the egg yolks with an electric mixer in a heat-proof bowl or top of double boiler. Beat in sugar and Marsala. Then place the boil or top of double boiler over simmering water and whisk constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and beat with the mixer until cold. Smash the mascarpone in a bowl with a rubber spatula until it is smooth and creamy, then lightly fold in the egg mixture. Whip the cream in another bowl and fold in half of it, reserving the remaining 1/2 cup. 

Arrange a layer of  ladyfingers in a shallow oval gratin dish, cutting them to fit so that the bottom is covered. Then soak the ladyfingers with one-third of the espresso syrup. Spread half the filling over the top. Then place another layer of ladyfingers on top, drizzle with espresso syrup, and cover with the rest of the filling. Cover with the another layer of ladyfingers, drizzled with the rest of the syrup. Dot top with small mounds of whipping cream, and sprinkle with unsweetened cocoa and cinnamon.


Recipe adapted from "Great Italian Desserts" by Nick Malgieri