A lighter Tiramisu

Every December 23rd I make a tiramisu for my husband Stephen’s birthday. It’s dead easy, but we don’t make many desserts, so it only comes out once a year. Traditionally mascarpone, a super thick Italian cream cheese is used, making this dish sugar and fat personified. However, with a few simple switches the calories, fat and sugar can sliced without missing a beat.


As an extra special bonus, for all you protein junkies and/or gluten free folk, I’ve included a recipe to make your own sponge fingers. If you don’t have time, just use the store bought variety.

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup sweetener (I used ½ cup native, ¼ cup raw castor sugar)
  • ¼ cup arrowroot powder or vanilla casein protein powder
  • 250g light soft ricotta (I used perfect italiano light)
  • 100g low-fat quark or cream cheese
  • 90ml (3 shots) espresso coffee
  • 60ml (¼ cup) marsala or brandy
  • 3 fresh egg whites
  • 40g 85% dark chocolate
  • 24 italian sponge finger biscuits OR
    • 2 whole eggs, separated
    • 6 egg whites
    • 2 tsp sweetener
    • ¾ cup coconut flour
    • ¾ cup vanilla casein protein powder OR ¾ cup almond meal

To make the sponge finger biscuits:
Preheat an oven to 180ºC/350ºF
Beat the egg yolks until they change colour, add the sweetener. Set aside.
In a clean bowl with a clean, dry whisk, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold in the egg yolk mixture and the remaining flours/protein powders. Switch to a wooden spoon and form into a dough. Divide the dough into 24 pieces and form into fingers using your hand (clean hands or gloves for hygiene, please!). Line a flat baking tray with baking paper, and place the fingers on the tray. Bake the fingers for 15–20 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool and preferably rest for at least a few hours before using.

To make the tiramisu:
Beat the egg yolks with the sweetener in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add in the ricotta and quark and stir until combined.
Place the arrowroot or casein in a small bowl. Add a quarter of the cheese mixture and blend until free of lumps. Return the thickened mixture to the larger bowl of cheese mix and stir until combined and evenly distributed. Set aside.

Prepare the coffee and combine with the marsala in a wide bottomed dish. Dunk the sponge finger biscuits in the coffee and and pack in a layer across the bottom of a large (about 30cm) square dish.

Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold through the cheese mixture until evenly combined. Pour over the coffee soaked sponge fingers. Grate the chocolate over the top. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, preferably overnight, to allow the flavours to fully spread.

About Michelle

Michelle is passionate about showing people how easy it is to prepare food that is healthy and packed full of flavour. She has just completed her first recipe book, Healthy Helpings: fast food for fit physiques. She began sharing her love of food in 2007, when she produced two series of the online cooking show ‘Healthy Helpings TV’, making fast food healthy and healthy food fast. In 2008 she competed in bodybuilding as a novice figure shaping competitor and she remains passionate about physique sports. She was a 2009 Australian Masterchef semi-finalist, and contributes articles to Oxygen Magazine Australia. Michelle lives with her husband on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, where she loves to search out new ingredients and food ideas from local farmers markets, health food shops and ethnic grocers, and take her two dogs on long rambles through the vineyards. Find out more about Michelle's book