The name of this classic Italian dessert translates as ‘pick-me-up’, due, no doubt, to the lavish amounts of caffeine and mascarpone it contains! Our recipe is from our local partners in Italy, the Acampora brothers. They own the Hotel Due Torri – a family-run hotel in a small village just outside Positano and Amalfi. Travelers who visit them are taught how to make this treasured family recipe at the hotel, and often take the recipe home with them.


Serves 2 | Preparation time 15 mins



  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 175ml cold strong black coffee
  • 1tbsp coffee liqueur (Kahlua or Tia Maria)
  • About 10 Savoiardi biscuits (sponge fingers)
  • 1tbsp cocoa powder Strawberries, to decorate

Coffee beans





Put the egg yolk, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and stir until smooth and creamy.


Add the mascarpone and mix until it is evenly combined with the other ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the egg white until standing in soft peaks, then fold this gently into the mascarpone mixture.


Pour the coffee into a shallow bowl and add the coffee liqueur. Dip the biscuits briefly in the coffee mixture so they absorb some of it but do not become so soggy they fall apart.


Starting with the dipped biscuits, arrange layers of biscuits and mascarpone in individual glass dishes or tumblers, trimming the biscuits to fit in neatly, if necessary.


Dust the tops with cocoa powder and chill for several hours in the fridge before serving topped with strawberries.