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The Easiest Dinner Party Dessert: Tiramisu Affogato

Friends, hi!  Reporting live from Inside – frankly, where I belong this Cozy Season.  I know it’s Cozy Season because I’ve unearthed my favorite sweater dress from behind the linen dresses and beachy throws.  I’m coveting these sherpa clogs, of all things.  I’m daydreaming my future dinner party menus come December and January.  I just… want to be inside with the oven on, a bottle of wine open, and friends around the table.

Dinner parties are my favorite time to slow down and follow a new recipe from a new cookbook. One of my favorite new cookbooks of the year is Dan Pelosi’s Let’s Eat which is a masterpiece in home cooked Italian.  The meatballs are the size of meatloaves and you just know you can trust a cookbook that serves balls at such capacity.  But one sweet recipe stood out to me as a dinner party star: Tiramisu Affogato.

A perfect dinner party dessert marriage, really.  And so easy – because a dinner party should be as easy as it is cozy.

Affogato means “drowned” in Italian.  Typically we drown vanilla gelato in espresso but with this dessert we’re topping layers of spiced sweet cream, crumbled cookies, and cocoa powder with espresso.  It’s soupy.  It’s swoopy.  It’s a perfect spoonful as the candles burn down in the center of the table at your next cozy dinner party.

The ingredients you’ll need to make this super easy Tiramisu Affogato:

•  heavy cream, chilled is best to whip into a soft whipped cream.

•  sour cream instead of mascarpone to add a tangy bite to the whipped cream

•  powdered sugar to sweeten and stabilize the whipped cream

•  ground cinnamon and nutmeg to add warmth to the cream

•  vanilla bean paste, Rodelle is my favorite

•  lady finger cookies (or even crisp store-bought gingersnap cookies would be delicious!)

•  espresso, bought from the local coffee shop and kept at room temp (or even chilled) before serving

Start by whipping just the cream to very soft, barely there peaks.  I like to whip just the cream first to give it some body before adding the other ingredients.  Add sour cream, powdered sugar, spices, and vanilla extract.  The sour cream and powdered sugar will help stabilize the cream to soft and sturdy.

Keep an eye on the cream as it whisks.  It will thicken quickly.  I like to beat my cream to sturdy but still soft enough to be swoopy.

This is the perfect dessert to present in thick rocks glasses or those vintage mismatched goblets you might have found at Goodwill.

Crumble three ladyfinger cookies per serving dish. Top with a few big spoonfuls of swoopy cream and press down gently to ease out any air pockets.  Top with another layer of 2 crumbled cookies and a final generous layer of the sweetened cream.

Dust each glass with a layer of cocoa powder.  Cover with a small square of plastic wrap and refrigerate until after dinner – up to 8 hours.  Some of the cookies will soften ever so slightly, though most of them will retain their cookie crunch.  It’s gorgeous.

Now – my favorite part of a dinner party is post dinner, when everyone is comfortable and full, lingering around a mess of a dining room table.  That’s when you  decide that the dirty dishes can wait until morning and bring these tiramisu glasses out of the fridge.

Have everyone top their glasses with espresso, spoon down into the bottom of the glass, and make a bit of a mess enjoying this dessert.  It’s a chatty dessert. Maybe that’s the caffeine.

Let’s take it easy.  Creamy sweet and whipped, crunchy cookie, bitter espresso EASY.  This is a really lovely marriage of tiramisu meets affogato, meets your Cozy Season dinner party.

Feel free to tweak the recipe to your taste and leave and questions, comments, and ratings below.



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The Easiest Dinner Party Dessert: Tiramisu Affogato

  • Author:
    Joy the Baker adapted from Dan Pelosi

  • Prep Time:
    20 minutes

  • Cook Time:
    just refrigerate until ready to serve

  • Total Time:
    20 minutes plus refrigeration

  • Yield:
    Serves 4

  • Category:
    dinner party dessert


An easy and sweet dinner party appetizer with cookies and espresso.  In the winter it’s really nice to replace the ladyfinger cookies with store-bought gingersnap cookies.  Recipe adapted from just slightly from Dan Pelosi.




  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or a large bowl with an electric hand mixer), whip cold cream to very soft peaks. Add the sour cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, and spices and whisk to stiffer but still soft and spoonable peaks. Taste and add more cinnamon if you’d like.
  2. Gather four rocks glasses or fancy goblets. Crumble three cookies into the bottom of each glass. Spoon a generous amount of cream over the cookies. Top each glass with another three crumbled cookies and another generous layer of cream. Dust each glass with a layer of cocoa powder. Cover each glass with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 8 hours.
  3. When ready to serve, remove from the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and top each glass with a shot of espresso. Enjoy!

Keywords: tiramisu, affogato, easy dessert, dinner party dessert