Espresso Budini

espresso budini
Photo: Ngoc Minh Ngo
Prep Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 25 mins

Two types of espresso are called for in this riff on tiramisu: the powder is used in the rich pudding, and freshly brewed coffee is combined with brandy to flavor the amaretto cookies lining the bottom of the dessert.


  • ¾ cup sugar

  • ¼ cup cornstarch

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 ½ cups whole milk

  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ¼ cup mascarpone, plus more for serving

  • ½ cup espresso or strong coffee

  • ¼ cup brandy

  • 18 to 24 amaretto cookies

  • Dutch-process cocoa powder, for dusting

  • Chocolate curls, for serving


  1. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in milk and espresso powder; cook over medium-high, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, about 2 minutes after it comes to a boil.

  2. In a bowl, whisk yolks until combined. Pour in milk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking until completely incorporated. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium, stirring constantly, until it returns to a boil, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and stir in vanilla. Whisk in mascarpone until smooth. Let cool slightly.

  3. Combine espresso and brandy in a shallow bowl. Quickly dip cookies in espresso-brandy mixture. (Cookies should absorb some of liquid but not become mushy.) Place cookies in a snug layer in the bottom of small glasses or Mason jars, 3 or 4 per glass.

  4. Whisk pudding until smooth and divide among glasses, topping cookies. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

  5. Dust tops with cocoa and dollop with mascarpone. Sprinkle with chocolate curls; serve.

Cook's Notes

To make small chocolate curls for toppings, gently shave the side of a chocolate bar with a vegetable peeler.

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