Tiramisu Recipe – Cooking Classy

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A perfect Tiramisu recipe! This is dessert royalty with a luxurious taste, a velvety texture and an exceptionally delicious blend of flavors. And thanks to the use of store-bought lady fingers it’s a rather easy dessert to make (you just need a little patience for cooling and layering, but it’s most definitely worth the wait!).

What is Tiramisu?

Tiramisu is a beautiful, layered Italian dessert made with lady fingers that have been dipped in strong coffee and aligned in a baking dish, then spread atop is a layer of sweet and fluffy mascarpone custard, and it’s dusted with a decadent cocoa finish.

In this tiramisu recipe the layering process is done twice but other versions may have a group of three repetitive layers or just a single set of layers.

It can be made to include a few splashes of alcohol such as rum, brandy or marsala wine, or it can be left out altogether. I prefer without because it really lets the flavors of the coffee and cocoa shine without an overwhelming flavor of alcohol (in a side by side taste test the alcohol free version won for me, but definitely make it how you’d like).

Another difference you’ll find among tiramisu is raw eggs or tempered eggs. This version is uses just yolks (I think the whites can have an eggy flavor here), and they are tempered to kill off potential bacteria.

There are several other variations of the dessert. You’ll find tiramisu cake, tiramisu cheesecake, there’s also tiramisu overnight oats, cupcakes, a martini and trifles.

It also comes in various flavors. This is the coffee and chocolate version but other popular flavors include strawberry tiramisu, matcha, lemon and pumpkin.

This traditional tiramisu is one of my all time favorite desserts! You can’t go wrong with those cakey soaked ladyfingers, roasted espresso, rich mascarpone and cream, and a chocolatey cocoa finish. It’s such a dreamy dessert!

Ingredients needed to make tiramisu shown.

Tiramisu Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 cups prepared dark coffee or espresso
  • 1 Tbsp espresso powder
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (well chilled)
  • 16 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 14 oz. lady fingers (about 44)
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp Dutch process cocoa powder

Possible Variations and Substitutes

  • If you’d like you can also include 2 – 4 Tbsp rum or sweet marsala wine in with the coffee mixture.
  • Another delicious option is to include seeds of 1 vanilla bean along with the vanilla extract into the custard mixture.
  • If you don’t have coffee or espresso on hand you can just omit it, then increase espresso powder to 4 Tbsp total (dissolve it in 2 cups hot water).
  • If needed regular unsweetened cocoa powder will work in place of Dutch cocoa here.

Photo of eight images showing how to make tiramisu custard mixture with mascarpone.

How to Make Tiramisu

For the custard mixture:

  1. In a shallow bowl whisk together coffee and espresso powder. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Heat about 1-inch of water in medium saucepan to a simmer over medium-high, reduce heat to moderately low.
  3. Add egg yolks, sugar and salt to heat proof bowl (one that will fit over saucepan without touching water). Whisk well then set over saucepan.
  4. Let heat and whisk constantly until mixture registers 160 degrees on an instant read food thermometer, about 6 to 10 minutes (also occasionally scrape down sides with the whisk or a spatula so there’s no cooked eggs on sides of bowl).
  5. Remove from heat and right away with an electric hand mixer set on medium speed beat until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Let cool to 90 to 95 degrees, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
  6. Clean beater blades and dry (use cold water to clean!). Beat heavy cream in large mixing bowl on medium-low speed for a few minutes then increase to high and beat until very stiff peaks form.
  7. Add mascarpone and vanilla to cooled egg mixture. Blend with hand mixer on low speed until just combined and mixture is smooth.
  8. Fold egg yolk mixture into whipped heavy cream. Fold to combined mixtures. Chill.

Collage of eight photos showing how to layer a tiramisu dessert.

To layer and assemble tiramisu:

  1. Working with one at a time, very quickly dip each side of lady fingers in coffee mixture. Transfer to 13 x 9 and repeat with half of the lady fingers lining them up side by side and cutting to fit as needed.
  2. Add half of the mascarpone mixture over lady fingers then use and offset spatula to spread into an even layer.
  3. Dust entire top surface evenly with 1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  4. Repeat dipping and layering with remaining half of lady fingers. Top with remaining half of the mascarpone mixture.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  6. Dust with remaining 2 tbsp cocoa just before serving. Cut into slices and serve.

Finished tiramisu in a baking dish sliced into showing layers closely.

How to Store Tiramisu

  • Tiramisu shouldn’t sit at room temperature longer than about 30 minutes.
  • Store it (covered with a lid, foil or plastic wrap) in the refrigerator.

How Long Does it Keep?

  • It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • I don’t recommend freezing because the texture will not be the same upon thawing.

A baking dish filled with tiramisu cut into slices.

Helpful Tips for the Best Tiramisu

  • Be sure to whisk the egg yolk mixture constantly once it’s set over the heat. You don’t want scrambled eggs.
  • Also take the temperature of the custard mixture to ensure it’s reached both it’s safe to eat temp, and it’s proper thickening point.
  • Be sure to let the mixture cool or it will completely melt the mascarpone and whipped cream and you’ll have soup instead of a fluffy custard mixture.
  • When dipping the lady fingers just dip them quickly. Do not soak! Or you’ll have soggy mushy lady fingers in the completed dessert. They really shouldn’t need more than 2 seconds (or one second on each side).
  • If you want a pretty finish then wait to dust with cocoa powder just before serving. It will get dark and damp as it rests in the fridge (it still tastes great just doesn’t look quick as cleanly finished).

Close up photo of tiramisu cut into with a fork showing layers of custard filling, coffee soaked lady fingers and cocoa powder finish.

More Delicious Italian Desserts You’ll Love

Slice of homemade tiramisu on a dessert plate.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu is a beautiful, layered Italian dessert made with lady fingers that have been dipped in strong coffee and aligned in a baking dish, then spread atop is a layer of sweet and fluffy mascarpone custard, and it’s dusted with a decadent cocoa finish. It’s dessert royalty!

Servings: 15

Prep40 minutes

Cook10 minutes

Chill4 hours

Ready in: 4 hours 50 minutes

  • 2 cups prepared strong coffee or espresso**
  • 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (well chilled)
  • 16 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 14 oz. lady fingers (about 44)
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp Dutch process cocoa powder
  • In a shallow bowl whisk together coffee and espresso powder. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

  • Bring about 1-inch of water in medium saucepan to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce heat to moderately low.

  • Add egg yolks, sugar and salt to heat proof bowl (one that will fit over saucepan without touching water). Whisk well then set over saucepan.

  • Let heat and whisk constantly until mixture registers 160 degrees on an instant read food thermometer, about 6 to 10 minutes (also occasionally scrape down sides with the whisk or a spatula so there’s no cooked eggs on sides of bowl).

  • Remove from heat and right away with an electric hand mixer set on medium speed beat until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Let cool to 90 to 95 degrees, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

  • Clean beater blades and dry (use cold water to clean!). Beat heavy cream in large mixing bowl on medium-low speed for a few minutes then increase to high and beat until very stiff peaks form.

  • Add mascarpone and vanilla to cooled egg mixture. Blend with hand mixer on low speed until just combined and mixture is smooth.

  • Fold egg yolk mixture into whipped heavy cream. Fold to combined mixtures. Chill.

  • Working with one at a time, very quickly dip each side of lady fingers in coffee mixture. Transfer to 13 x 9-inch pan, then repeat using up half of the lady fingers lining them up side by side and cutting to fit as needed.

  • Add half of the mascarpone mixture over lady fingers then use and offset spatula to spread into an even layer.

  • Dust entire top surface evenly with 1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder.

  • Repeat dipping and layering with remaining half of lady fingers. Top with remaining half of the mascarpone mixture.

  • Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

  • Dust with remaining 2 tbsp cocoa just before serving.** Cut into slices and serve. Keep chilled up to 3 days.

  • *If you prefer a slightly alcoholic tiramisu you can stir in 1/4 cup rum, brandy or sweet marsala wine in with the coffee. I just prefer the taste of the coffee, cocoa and mascarpone to shine through, the alcohol can really overpower the other flavors in my opinion.
  • **If you aren’t serving the entire tiramisu I recommend waiting to dust the remaining portion with cocoa until ready to serve for the best appearance.

Nutrition Facts

Tiramisu

Amount Per Serving

Calories 395
Calories from Fat 243

% Daily Value*

Fat 27g42%

Saturated Fat 16g100%

Polyunsaturated Fat 1g

Monounsaturated Fat 4g

Cholesterol 201mg67%

Sodium 86mg4%

Potassium 107mg3%

Carbohydrates 32g11%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 14g16%

Protein 7g14%

Vitamin A 1035IU21%

Vitamin C 0.1mg0%

Calcium 83mg8%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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