Makes 8 to 10 servings


2/3 cup whipping cream, chilled
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 pound mascarpone cheese* (about 2-1/4 cups)
1/3 cup freshly brewed espresso or strong coffee, cooled
1/4 cup cognac or brandy
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 packages (3 ounces each) ladyfingers, split
3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, grated
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Edible flowers (optional)

*If mascarpone cheese is unavailable, blend 2 packages (8 ounces each) softened cream cheese with 1/2 cup whipping cream and 5 tablespoons sour cream.


  1. Prepare Zabaglione. Cover; refrigerate until well chilled.
  2. Beat cream and 2 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until soft peaks form. Gently fold in mascarpone cheese, then Zabaglione. (If Zabaglione has separated, beat until well mixed before folding into mascarpone.) Refrigerate 3 hours or until well chilled.
  3. Combine espresso, Cognac, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla in small bowl. Layer 1/4 of ladyfingers in flower-petal design in 2-quart glass bowl with straight side or trifle dish. Generously brush ladyfingers with espresso mixture. Spoon 1/4 of chilled cheese mixture over ladyfingers to within 1 inch of side of bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 of grated chocolate. Repeat layers 3 more times using remaining ladyfingers, espresso mixture, cheese mixture and grated chocolate. (For garnish, sprinkle remaining 1/4 of grated chocolate around edge of dessert, if desired.)
  4. Sift cocoa powder over top. Cover; refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with edible flowers, if desired.

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