ghee shakar

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Pick Me Up, please… Alcohol Free Tiramisu

Totally Terrific!

Tiramisu literally translated means ‘pick me up’ and this light, well known Italian dessert really has the ability to bring a smile to your face, if made well. Traditionally it is made with Savoiardi (Italian ladyfingers), coffee liqueur and mascarpone cheese. I mention these three main ingredients because in Pakistan mascarpone cheese MIGHT be available [at a hefty price] whereas Savoiardi is not and coffee liqueur is of course taboo for Muslims because it contains alcohol. Does that mean we can’t enjoy some taste bud tantalizing Tiramisu (notice my clever use of alliteration there?)… of course not! I’ve made my version of Tiramisu and I seriously urge you to try it! I promise it’s still amazing with pound cake, cream cheese & whipped cream and just strong espresso. I would love to know how it turned out and what you thought of the recipe should you choose to try it out. Buon Appetito!


  • 8 oz Mascarpone Cheese OR 8 oz pack of Philadelphia Cream Cheese + 3 tbsp Whipping Cream + 2 tbsp Yoghurt mixed with 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs / separated / room temperature
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups strong Espresso / cooled / That’s 2 cups water with 3 tbsp Instant Coffee (you can make it stronger if you prefer)
  • 24 ladyfingers OR 1 sponge or pound cake from your bakery (preferably a day old so its drier)
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder or Chocolate Curls


Beat the Mascarpone cheese in a mixing bowl, alternatively beat the Philly cream cheese, whipping cream and yoghurt together, Once it is light and fluffy, place it in the fridge. In another larger bowl, beat the egg yolks and gradually add the sugar. It should be a creamy yellow color. Add the mascarpone cheese or its substitute until just mixed. Add the vanilla. Refrigerate.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff and peaks form. Make sure you have washed and dried your beater and your bowl is also clean and dry, even a drop of grease or water could stop your peaks from forming. Fold this into the egg and cream cheese mix and refrigerate again.

If you do not have ladyfingers, take your pound cake and cut it in half length-wise and then into ladyfinger sized pieces. (See picture) In a small bowl pour the coffee and dip each piece of cake lightly. In a glass dish, place each cake piece to form your first layer. Take out the cheese mix and cover the first layer with half of it. Repeat to form the second layer, first dipping each piece in the espresso and then layering it in the dish. Cover again with the remaining half of creamy mixture. Top it off with a dusting of cocoa powder and/or chocolate flakes. I like to use Cadbury’s Flake, but you can use any chocolate you like and grate it on top.

Refrigerate and let the tiramisu set. It’s usually best to let it set over night and the flavors to seep into each other. Serve it chilled.


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