Filter Kaapi, a popular drip coffee decoction derived from coffee beans, chicory and peaberry ground fine with a hot pour-over in a traditional stainless steel coffee filter. A healthy dose of frothed milk and sugar define this national, bonafide trait of all South Indian homes – it’s a ritual, a religion, a warm welcome all rolled into one.

This chicory-laced coffee poured into furiously hot milk, is the lifeblood of the southern Indian states. It’s stronger than espresso, surprisingly unctuous, and, if properly poured, beautifully frothy. While honey or jaggery (an unrefined cane and date juice affair) are the traditional sweeteners, regular sugar is standard today. Personally, this is my favorite kind of coffee and a reluctant necessity on bleary Sunday mornings.

I hardly stock up on any other kind of coffee, so when it came to developing a new recipe for tiramisu – it was my default and my wild card ingredient for the espresso dip, and what a wonderful decision that was. I understand not everyone will have South Indian filter coffee at home, so alternately, you could use any espresso powder or instant coffee you have at home – but you must give this recipe a try for the creamy, light, airy tiramisu it makes. It has been a crowd favorite among our friends since I first made it.

It’s easy to tell if you’ve made a tiramisu just right. Each bite will have rich yet airy yellowish cream, a touch of alcohol, and dreamily soft, but not mushy, coffee-flavored ladyfingers. It should also have a subtle sweetness with just the right bitterness from the coffee.

Print Recipe
Filter Coffee Tiramisu
The ultimate recipe for authentic Italian tiramisu made with rich Madrasi coffee, an airy, creamy dessert made of layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers and a rich, velvety mascarpone cream.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian, Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Coffee syrup
Filling
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian, Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Coffee syrup
Filling
Instructions
Coffee syrup
  1. If using South Indian/ Madras coffee powder: Place 3 tbsp coffee powder in your stainless steel coffee filter. Top with boiling hot water and wait 20-30 mins for coffee to brew
  2. If using espresso powder or instant coffee: Stir 1 cup hot water mixed with 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules or espresso powder
  3. In a small bowl, combine hot coffee, 2 tablespoons sugar, and liqueur. Mix until sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool
Filling
  1. Place egg yolks, sugar, and coffee liqueur in a medium heatproof bowl and set over a bain marie (i.e. place the heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water on a low heat; the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk constantly using a whisk, or preferably a hand mixer, until the mixture doubles in volume, is hot to the touch, and has a thick, foamy consistency (around 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly, about 15 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, in a mixer bowl, whisk heavy cream using an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Once egg yolk mixture has cooled, add the mascarpone and whisk until smooth. Then gently fold in the whipped cream in 2 additions until smooth
  3. Dip ladyfingers very quickly (less than a second) into the coffee syrup and line them in one layer in an 8-inch baking dish. If necessary, break a few ladyfingers to fit them in the dish
  4. Spoon half of the filling over the ladyfingers and smooth the top. Repeat with a second layer of coffee-dipped ladyfingers, then with the rest of the cream.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days. Right before serving, dust the top with cocoa powder or grated chocolate. Serve cold