One Bowl Tiramisu

One Bowl Tiramisu | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer
Twice a week in the evenings Adam has band practice. The kids go to bed, he leaves, and I’ve got two whole hours to myself. Most nights I pop the top off a pale ale into an ice cold mug from the freezer, and snuggle into the couch by the fire, covered in piles of blankets. Then up goes the laptop, on goes the TV, and I spend all my alone time burning through sitcoms, editing photos, and catching up on work. Basically just staring at screens.

There is something about a quiet house in the evening hours that makes me feel unsettled. I like the voices from the television filling the first floor rooms, I like browsing my social media channels knowing there are other people around, awake. It’s time to myself, finally, but I’m not quite ready to be alone.

“How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.” -Virginia Woolf
One Bowl Tiramisu | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

I used to spend time each day in solitude: writing, meditating, and just being present. Somewhere among the years I let those minutes slip away, and forgot how to be still without being entertained. I’ve silenced the silence.

This has nothing to do with tiramisu. But the TV was extra loud tonight; the voices clashing with all the rambling thoughts I need to deal with but have put on hold. Time to power off here, and pick up a book. Or sit in the stillness, with just the bare things…

One Bowl Tiramisu | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer
One Bowl Tiramisu

adapted from the Paris Pastry Club by Fanny Zanotti

Lady fingers are traditional in tiramisu, but a white cake layer will also work here. Slice the cake layer in half through the center, and use each piece as the two different layers. If you do use a cake layer, use a pastry brush to brush the cake layer instead of soaking it in the coffee mixture (soaking it will cause the layer to get very soggy).

I’m also excited to announce that I am collaborating with Dishes Only. That beautiful bowl above with the blue flowers? You can find that here. I’ll be featuring more of their gorgeous handmade dishes and cake stands in posts to come.

2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
5 ounces mascarpone
6-8 lady fingers (see note)
1 cup strong coffee, room temperature
2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
cocoa, or grated bittersweet chocolate, for sprinkling

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (a hand-held mixer will work also), whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar for 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and has doubled in size. Add the mascarpone a few tablespoons at a time, beating well in between each addition.

Pour the coffee, rum, and vanilla in a shallow dish. Soak the lady fingers for a few seconds in the coffee and place 3 or 4 in the bottom of a bowl. Cover with half of the mascarpone cream. Top with more of the soaked biscuits and then spread with the rest of the cream. Sprinkle some cocoa or grated bittersweet chocolate on top and chill the tiramisu for at least two hours.
One Bowl Tiramisu | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

  • Reply
    Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    This is the best recipe! Been making this for a long time now 🙂 thank you so much for it!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    I made this for my husband’s birthday last week (and it was needed after watching election results) and it was AMAZING! I will definitely be making it again. xx

  • Reply
    Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Another lovely post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. As ‘extroverted’ as people assume I am, I have a lot of moments that I just crave being alone so that I can just meditate and momentarily think in the present. I love tiramisu a lot! It’s actually one of my favorite desserts so I enjoyed this post a lot.

  • Reply
    Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg
    Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Curling up with a bowl of Tiramisu sounds like my kind of night. The perfect way to unwind after a long day of work.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Silence is quite rare these days. I try to embrace it as often as I can. Otherwise, I always become distracted with what needs to be done the next day, night, etc. It’s always nice to have a slice of tiramisu and tea to sit back and relax with. Love all your beautiful photos!!!

  • Reply
    Jennifer Farley
    Monday, April 6, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Jeff doesn’t usually go out in the evenings but when he does I have mixed feelings. It always feels kind of luxurious and exciting to have the house to myself in the evenings. But then the darkness outside and the quiet inside begins to creep me out in a way that never happens during the day. And then I usually make it worse by watching a horror movie alone because I like to test my boundaries. Anyway. Tiramisu. YUM.

  • Reply
    kristie {birch and wild}
    Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    I need to learn to accept silence. If I sit too long in silence I become lost in my thoughts, even when just reading. I like to have a podcast on, or some music, or cooking shows in the background. I guess I am overstimulated at all times, now that I think about it! 🙂 Tiramisu is my favoriye dessert. Ever.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    This post is so lovely, Sarah. I also tend to spend most of my alone time staring at screens. But there really isn’t anything better than a good book, a mug of tea, & a cozy blanket on a quiet night.
    This tiramisu looks wonderful. Gorgeous photos! xx

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    I can’t remember the last time I sat in silence! Seems like eons ago!

  • Reply
    Aimee @ Simple Bites
    Monday, March 30, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Beautiful. And now I’m totally craving tiramisu.

  • Reply
    Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Oh, I hope you find your way back to enjoying silence before too long. I’ve gotten pretty good at it again, and I really cherish it now. I think it’s worth working on. xx

  • Reply
    The Prestigious School
    Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Sometimes I put the TV on, but mute the sound. That way I’m not “alone”, but I still have silence. I know that’s crazy, but it works for me. I too crave alone time, but when I get it, I feel a little lost and lonely!

  • Reply
    Kelsi | Savour the Sweet
    Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Your tiramisu looks absolutely stunning.
    Furthermore, it was so refreshing to read that somebody else feels unsettled when alone. Often times I feel silly for being so worked up when I’m alone, consistently looking for something to take up the space in my mind, for fear of any thoughts that may come from silence. It is really the worst feeling, like a rapid boiling inside the core of your being that does not allow you to settle and appreciate the solitude.
    It is really quite interesting, I think, how humans have come to be this way.

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 6:23 am

    I can really embrace silence during the day when I’m at home by myself, but there’s something different in the dark hours, an emptiness that dissolves with light and sun, something that seems to close in around the house and leave me feeling more vulnerable and alone. I’m never lonely during the day at home, when everyone is gone, but at night, I need something to give back, to focus on or be with because the darkness presses in far too hard. Tiramisu, whether is solitude or company, has such a soothing effect in it’s comfort. What a great companion for silence.

  • Reply
    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Great post. My alone time is very similar to your time- ipad, phone, tv all going at the same time. I sat in silence for the first time today and it was shocking. The thoughts I normally push away had no other place to go. It was a nice change.
    The tiramisu looks so yummy. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Allison from Baking: a Love Story
    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    So gorgeous. As usual. And you are a deep soul. I love reading what you have to say.

  • Reply
    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Beautiful post here. I can definitely picture myself having some alone time with one of these tiramisu bowls just like you have. Will definitely have to try this.

  • Reply
    Sara @ Cake Over Steak
    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Beautiful. I like the way your “alone time” sounds. I think I’m the same way, where even when I’m happy to have alone time, I still want to be around people – whether that means on the internet, or with my favorite tv show on in the background. And, I <3 tiramisu.

  • Reply
    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 10:49 am

    This is making me drool at work. Will definitely have to try this ASAP

  • Reply
    Melissa@Julia's Bookbag
    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Lovely post as always. Last weekend I had the opportunity to have a couple of hours to myself, and it was amazing how strongly I had to FIGHT against the urge to get in front of a screen. Or DO something. I went into our guest room, which is my Happy Place because it’s painted yellow 🙂 – and I sat and read. And then took a nap. It was the best thing that I’ve done for myself in about 6 months, I think.

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 7:50 am

    Perfect dessert for an evening alone! I like feeling fancy sometimes and this fits the bill just right.

  • Reply
    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 7:22 am

    I cherish those moments of solitude now that I have time, here in Sweden. I hope the tiramisu was a good companion to your quiet night. xx

  • Reply
    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 4:51 am

    I am generally happier when there’s noise – the sound of my OH working in the other room or the TV or radio – but I’ve been trying to get myself more comfortable with silence and just sitting with my own thoughts. It feels a little strange at times but I think those moments of peace are doing me more good than I realise.

    I thought for years that I didn’t like tiramisu and then I tried it again and now I’m obsessed . Can’t wait to try your version (and that blue flower bowl is just gorgeous!)

  • Reply
    Suné Moolman
    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 4:08 am

    Love the VW quote and your thoughts – different seasons in life call for different surroundings. This tiramisu, however, can go with you everywhere!

  • Reply
    Julie Biuso
    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 3:26 am

    Yum. Wish I had a bowl of that in front of me now!

  • Reply
    Thalia @ butter and brioche
    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 2:59 am

    It’s been too long since I made a good tiramisu. Thanks for the inspiration Sarah, you definitely can consider I will be making this recipe.

  • Reply
    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 1:00 am

    This post really resonated with me. Sure, I’ve been craving tiramisu for weeks but have been too lazy to make it, and this is gentle encouragement to finally make it happen. But even more than that, I’ve been struggling to find quiet time, alone, to think and reflect. The early mornings used to be that time for me, but not any more. Recently it seems that even when there is time, I find ways to distract myself. It is so gosh darn hard to just disconnect, log off, sit still, and think. I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles with that. And I hope we’ll both be able to find some silence soon! Thank you so much for sharing this.

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