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Hi Bold Bakers!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: If you’re searching for the Best Tiramisu Recipe to create the most delicious authentic Italian dessert, search no more! From making crunchy and spongy ladyfingers for soaking in rich and bitter coffee and liquor, to creating the creamiest mascarpone for whipping up a light, sweet and tangy filling, you’ll master how to make Tiramisu 100% from scratch with just a few simple ingredients!
This is my kind of dessert and I know it will be yours, too! I love my decadent Tiramisu perfectly combining softness and sweetness from cookie layers with creaminess and a slight tang from mascarpone filling layers and finished with the bitterness and intensity from chocolatey cocoa powder! Each bite is heaven.
What’s great about this recipe is that you can make ladyfingers and mascarpone ahead of time. Then let the rest of the magic happen in the refrigerator, and take that extra time out of baking on the day of serving by relaxing. Give it a try, and let me know how it goes!
Table of Contents
What Is Tiramisu?
Tiramisu (Pronounced: tee-ruh-mee-soo) is an Italian, custard-like sophisticated dessert composed of ladyfingers dipped in coffee and brandy, whipped mascarpone cheese mixture, and cocoa powder dust. They are layered together, yielding a beautifully moist and creamy dessert. Some versions of Tiramisu don’t include eggs, but in this traditional recipe, we are incorporating eggs for a light and airy result.
The exact origin of Tiramisu is disputed, but many agree that it was invented in the Veneto region of Italy in the 1960s or 70s. It became more well-known during the 80s when it became a popular dessert choice in many Italian restaurants and bakeries in New York City.
Ingredients You Need for the Best Tiramisu Recipe and Why
- Eggs: Make sure to separate the whites and yolks of your large, room-temperature eggs.
- Eggs enrich the flavor of your Tiramisu.
- Eggs aerate the filling by incorporating air to make it light and fluffy.
- Granulated sugar (AKA white sugar):
- Granulated sugar adds the perfect sweetness to mascarpone filling.
- Granulated sugar stabilizes the mascarpone mixture by coating the air bubbles.
- Mascarpone cheese:
- Mascarpone is smooth, creamy, and mild with neutral less acidic flavor, perfect for making your dessert creamier.
- Mascarpone can be difficult to find but is easy to make using my Homemade Mascarpone Cheese recipe.
- Coffee: You’ll need some very strong coffee for this recipe. I recommend espresso!
- Brandy: Any of your favorite liquor for dipping your ladyfingers will do.
- Ladyfingers are sponge-like cookies and an essential component to provide structure and adding texture to Tiramisu.
- Make them better than stour-bought ones using my Homemade Ladyfingers recipe!
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: Tiramisu isn’t Tiramisu without chocolate dust! Use unsweetened cocoa powder for a deep, chocolatey flavor.
How To Make the Best Tiramisu Recipe From Scratch:
- Making mascarpone filling:
- Egg yolk mixture: Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture is pale and forms a ribbon when the whisk is lifted. Briefly mix in the mascarpone cheese until blended. Set aside.
- Egg whites: Whip egg whites on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes or until they form stiff peaks.
- Assembling filling: Gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture until thoroughly mixed, then set aside.
- Dipping ladyfingers:
- In a wide, shallow bowl, combine the coffee and brandy.
- Dip ladyfingers one at a time on both sides in the coffee mixture, and line the bottom of a baking dish with them. Note that homemade ladyfingers need to be dipped a few seconds longer than store-bought.
- Assembling Tiramisu:
- Spread the mascarpone mixture evenly over the cookies with an offset spatula.
- Repeat dipping and layering ladyfingers and spreading the mascarpone mixture twice more to create a total of three layers.
- Chilling Tiramisu:
- Cover and let the Tiramisu sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but no more than 24 hours.
- Just before serving, dust generously with cocoa powder, and enjoy!
Why Do You Dip Ladyfingers In Coffee And Brandy?
Ladyfingers are delicious on their own, so why go through the trouble of dipping them in coffee and brandy for your Tiramisu? It simple adds moisture and flavor to your classic Italian dessert.
- Soaked ladyfingers add strong coffee to feature that classic Tiramisu flavor and the brandy to boost that coffee taste.
- Ladyfingers soak up liquid to provides a soft base for your dessert while melding the flavors with the mascarpone filling.
Note: This recipe contains a small amount of alcohol so I don’t recommend this recipe for very young children. If you want a kid-friendly version, feel free to dip your ladyfingers in just coffee or juice. Or check out my Chocolate Tiramisu Recipe for kids!
Though this traditional recipe uses raw eggs for a decadent but light and delicious dessert, you can still substitute them.
- Egg-free mascarpone filling: I suggest replacing the eggs with 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, whipped to medium-soft peaks.
- Egg-free ladyfingers: Try making my Homemade Egg-Free Ladyfingers recipe. They’re more delicate but same delicious!
Can I Make Tiramisu In Advance?
Yes, you can but with some caveats.
- You can prepare your Tiramisu and leave it in the fridge for at least 4 hours before you want to serve it. Make sure to dust right before eating.
- However, don’t refrigerate your Tiramisu for longer than 24 hours because it will cause your ladyfingers and mascarpone filling to become soggy or mushy. In this situation, you can prepare them separately and assemble your tiramisu about 1 hour before serving and let it chill in the fridge.
How To Store Tiramisu
- In the Refrigerator: If you have leftover Tiramisu, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but be aware that the initial flavors and textures will not be preserved the longer it stays in the refrigerator. Moreover, it’s best to eat it on the day of or within 24 hours, as many of the ingredients can spoil.
Is Tiramisu a cake?
There is a common misconception that Tiramisu is a cake because of its layers. However, authentic Italian Tiramisu is a no-bake dessert that does not contain leavening agents or flour like a traditional cake. While Tiramisu is its own kind of dessert, it’s most similar to a custard.
Can I substitute the mascarpone cheese?
Mascarpone cheese is a key ingredient in any classic Tiramisu recipe. However, if you don’t have any on hand or prefer a different kind of cheese, you can use whipped cream instead and add in some creme fraiche. I don’t recommend substituting cream cheese in the recipe.
Can I substitute the ladyfingers?
Ladyfingers are another key ingredient in a traditional Tiramisu recipe, but you can substitute it by using panettone, pound cake, or sponge cake. You can also try out a “naked” version, where you omit the ladyfingers and instead layer the cocoa powder and mascarpone filling.
Why is my Tiramisu runny?
Your Tiramisu can turn out runny due to a broken emulsion, under whipped or deflated egg whites and lacking chilling time.
- First off, the most common reason is if you under-whip your egg yolks and sugar mixture. This causes a broken emulsion or unstable foundation which will cause your Tiramisu to not set properly in the refrigerator.
- Second, note to whip egg whites to stiff peaks to incorporate enough air and FOLD them into the yolk mixture. STIFF or firm peaks stand straight up the beaters are lifted. Folding will minimize deflating whipped egg whites.
- Lastly but definitely not the least, since this recipe does NOT contain gelatin, if you don’t let your Tiramisu chill for at least 4 hours, your mascarpone filling won’t set properly.
Why is my Tiramisu grainy?
If your Tiramisu is grainy, you may have over-whipped your mascarpone mixture. Over-whipping can cause separation or curdling which gives it that unpleasant texture. Though you can’t backtrack for over-whipping ingredients, you can try adding a few tablespoons of heavy cream to smooth out your mixture.
What should I do if I don’t have a stand mixer or electric hand mixer?
Though using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer will make your job a lot easier, there’s nothing a little elbow grease can’t fix. Use a whisk to thoroughly combine all ingredients.
Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips for the Best Tiramisu Recipe:
- Raw eggs: Incidences of food poisoning from raw eggs are very rare, but if you are immunocompromised or are wary of eating uncooked eggs, you have a couple of options:
- Some grocery stores carry pasteurized eggs in their shells, so you can use this if they’re available.
- Otherwise, you can replace the eggs with 2 cups of heavy cream whipped to medium-soft peaks.
- Rinsing eggs: Although it is never a good idea to rinse eggshells before storing them, you can rinse them just before cracking and separating them to prevent any surface bacteria from getting into the eggs.
- Whipping mascarpone mixture: Be careful not to under-whip or over-whip your sugar, egg, and cheese mixture. Whip it just until it forms ribbons.
- Soaking ladyfingers: Quickly soak your ladyfingers. Oversoaking them will make them too mushy during assembly. Using a wide, shallow dish should help with soaking the proper amount of coffee and brandy mixture.
- No extra flavor: Don’t add additional flavoring like vanilla extract to your Tiramisu. This authentic Tiramisu recipe is all about the coffee and chocolate flavors and including another flavoring will overpower it.
- Making ahead: The mascarpone and ladyfingers can be made up to 2 days in advance to save time.
- Liquor alternatives: You can use marsala wine, amaretto, dark rum, or a coffee liqueur like Kahlua in place of the brandy.
- Small serving: This dessert is best eaten within 24 hours of being made, but you can halve the recipe for a smaller crowd.
- Soaking ladyfingers: Homemade ladyfingers are not as crips and dry as store-bought so when dipping them in the coffee mixture let them soak for a few extra seconds so that the liquid goes all the way through.
And don’t miss more everyday baking recipes in my NEW Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook!