This Frozen Tiramisu is a version of the classic Italian dessert I came across in a recent issue of Donna Hay’s Fresh and Light. The timing can not be better for us in the southern hemisphere. It is summery, festive and a pretty easy dessert to make before hand for Christmas day. Tiramisu means “pick me up” so I think it is all rather apt.

Frozen Tiramisu

My love affair with Tiramisu started about 25 years ago when I bought a cookbook by Valentina Harris and read about the Italian dessert long before the shops in South Africa even stocked mascarpone. Valentina’s book is called Italian Family Feast : Festive Cooking for Family Feasts. I have somehow misplaced the book at some point but remember that the recipe was in the wedding chapter of the book as it is an easy dessert to serve to a large group of people.

Frozen Tiramisu

I was living in Pretoria at the time and the only place where I could get mascarpone was an Italian deli called Gala. If I remember correctly they were in Sunnyside and you had to order it a week or so in advance and when collecting it, it was packed in its own polystyrene cooler box. I felt quite international and ahead of the times as no one else I knew had even heard of the dessert. Today, of course, mascarpone is available pretty much everywhere and Tiramisu can be found on many restaurant menus.

Frozen Tiramisu

As you can imagine, this Frozen Tiramisu recipe is pretty far removed from the recipe in Valentina’s book and uses vanilla ice cream as the creamy base. Donna Hay’s version was half vanilla and half coffee ice cream but I thought the coffee flavour will be too much and I wanted the coffee flavour to come from the dipped biscuits. Make sure the biscuits are properly soaked in the very strong coffee/espresso and coffee liqueur. Add a bit of instant espresso powder to the cacao powder that you sprinkle on top for more flavour. You can make the Frozen Tiramisu more festive top with dark chocolate curls. Enjoy!

Frozen Tiramisu

Frozen Tiramisu


  • 1.5 litre store bought vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 80ml coffee liqueur
  • 80ml strong, cold espresso
  • 16 finger biscuits
  • 15ml cocoa powder
  • 2.5ml espresso powder


  1. Line a 2 liter loaf tin with baking paper (make sure the edges hang over the tin so you can lift the cake out of the tin) and freeze for 10 minutes
  2. Spoon half the softened vanilla ice cream into the tin and smooth with a palette knife
  3. Mix the liqueur and espresso and dip 8 of the biscuits into the liqueur mixture, soak for a few seconds and place in a single layer on top of the ice cream
  4. Spoon the rest of the ice cream on top of the biscuits and smooth the top
  5. Dip the rest of the biscuits and place on top of the ice cream
  6. Drizzle the biscuits with any leftover liqueur mixture
  7. Gently fold the baking paper over the top and then cover with cling wrap and freeze for at least 3 hours until firm
  8. Carefully remove the tiramisu from the tin and paper
  9. Dust with the cocoa and espresso powder and serve immediately
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A few more of my favourite ice cream recipes :

Christmas Milkshake

Christmas Milkshake

Peppermint Crisp Ice Cream Cake

Peppermint Ice Cream Cake

Grilled Pineapple and Coconut Sherbet




Gourmet Chicken Sandwich
Duck Fat Potato Galette with Biltong Salt



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