Tiramisu Recipe (VIDEO)
Tiramisu is a classic Italian no-bake dessert made with layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers and incredible mascarpone cream. The custard-like cream is excellent and contains no raw egg. This easy recipe is truly the best homemade tiramisu and always gets rave reviews.
We love classic Italian desserts like Panna Cotta, Affogato, and of course Berry Tiramisu. Classic Tiramisu is probably the most iconic Italian treat and this one does not disappoint! Watch the video tutorial and you’ll see how easy it is.
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What is Tiramisu?
The word Tiramisu (tirami su in Italian) means “cheer me up” or “pull me up,” which is very appropriate because one bite will put you in a good mood! An authentic Tiramisu dessert that has 2 main layers: sponge cake ladyfingers soaked in coffee and liqueur and the mascarpone cream layer. This classic dessert often contains raw egg yolks, but we use a different process to create a custard-like cream with amazing texture and flavor.
Ingredients for Tiramisu:
Tiramisu requires a short list of ingredients, but the combination tastes incredible. We add a little golden rum to the cream and to the coffee syrup for more depth of flavor. You can use espresso if you have an espresso machine (here’s ours), or use your favorite strong-brewed coffee.
Can I Substitute the Rum?
We used golden rum but you can use dark rum. You can also substitute the rum with a little Grand Marnier, or amaretto. If you prefer to omit it completely, you can just leave out the rum or add a little bit of vanilla extract to taste.
What are LadyFingers?
Lady Fingers are essentially sponge cake batter piped into strips then baked and dried into biscuits. They are known “savoiardi” in Italian and are perfect for tiramisu because they absorb the syrup well without getting soggy. Ladyfingers are great in other no-bake desserts such as the incredible Charlotte Cake, these individual Mousse Cups, and even a trifle.
Where to Find Lady Fingers:
They are sold in some grocery stores and I have found them at Trader Joes, Walmart, Albertsons, and World Market but it’s easy to get ladyfingers online. Either dry or “soft” ladyfingers would work here. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even make homemade ladyfingers.
What is Mascarpone?
Mascarpone is essentially the Italian version of cream cheese. It is made of whipped cream, stabilized with an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice or citric acid. Mascarpone cheese has a smoother consistency, is milder in flavor and has twice as much fat as cream cheese. In some cases, you can substitute with cream cheese like in our Tiramisu Yule Log but the flavor and texture will be different.
How to Make Tiramisu:
Tiramisu is made of 2 basic components – the cream layer and the coffee-soaked ladyfingers. The process is simple:
- Quickly dip half of the ladyfingers in coffee syrup and arrange in a 9×13 casserole
- Combine 6 yolks and 3/4 cup sugar and continue whisking over a saucepan of simmering water for 9-10 minutes. Remove from steam and whisk for a few minutes to help it cool cool.
- Beat 16 oz mascarpone with 3 Tbsp rum then beat in the cooled yolk mixture until blended.
- Whip 2 cups cold heavy cream to stiff peaks. With a spatula, fold half into the mascarpone mixture then fold in the remaining half until blended.
- Spread half of the cream over the first layer of ladyfingers. Dip the remaining ladyfingers and arrange over the cream. Spread on remaining cream. Cover and refrigerate overnight then dust with cocoa powder and serve.
Tips for the Best Tiramisu:
- Quick Dip – Dip ladyfingers one or two at a time. A quick dip on each side is enough. There will be some syrup left behind.
- Do not over-soak the ladyfingers or the layers may collapse.
- Water Bath – When whisking yolks and sugar over steam, make sure the bowl is not touching the water beneath it.
- Allow the yolk mixture to cool until it’s just slightly warm – whisking off the heat will help cool it down faster.
- Use cold HEAVY whipping cream and beat until stiff peaks form – whip slowly over time for the cream to remain more stable (don’t under beat or overbeat)
- Do not over-mix – When folding cream into Mascarpone, do not overmix the cream or it may turn grainy.
- Chill the cake at least 6 hours in the refrigerator or overnight and it will be very easy to slice.
- Tiramisu keeps well so you can make it a day or two ahead.
- Leftovers are good refrigerated up to 5 days because there are no raw eggs in the cake.
Can I Substitute the Coffee?
Traditionally, coffee or espresso is used in Tiramisu. If you are concerned about caffeine, you can use decaf coffee so you can still enjoy the same classic flavor. If you prefer a different flavor profile, you can turn this into a Berry Tiramisu and omit the cocoa powder.
More Holiday Dessert Recipes:
If you have the task of making the dessert for the holidays, any of these is an excellent choice. These are the best rated and most requested desserts on our blog. If you’re looking for something EASY, the Strawberry Pretzel Salad wins!
- Apple Pie – our top-rated, most iconic pie
- Apple Turnovers – quick and easy hand pies
- Easy Cinnamon Rolls – with the best frosting
- Baklava – classic, timeless and freezer friendly
- Pumpkin Cake – with marshmallow-like cream
Watch Tiramisu Cake Video:
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Tiramisu is a classic Italian no-bake dessert made with layers of ladyfingers and mascarpone custard cream (no raw eggs!). Truly the best homemade tiramisu.
In a bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups espresso and 3 Tbsp rum. Quickly dip half of the ladyfingers, one at a time and arrange in a single layer in the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Dip once on each side so they are moist but do not soak ladyfingers or the cake will collapse.
In a separate rimmed* medium glass bowl, whisk together yolks and sugar. Place over steam (on a saucepan with simmering water) and whisk 10 minutes on low heat until the mixture is lighter in color, slightly thickened and not grainy when you rub between your fingers. Remove from heat and whisk for a few minutes off the heat to help it cool down then set aside to cool while doing step 3.
Beat together 16 oz mascarpone and 3 Tbsp rum. Use an electric hand mixer to beat in the warm yolk mixture until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl, beat cold heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form*. Use a spatula to gently fold half of the whipped cream into mascarpone cream then blend in remaining whipped cream, just until incorporated. Do not overfold or it will become grainy.
Spread half of the cream over the first layer of ladyfingers. Dip and arrange remaining ladyfingers. Spread remaining cream. Refrigerate overnight. Dust with cocoa powder before serving. It is ok to dust with cocoa ahead of time - it will just darken it in color from the moisture.
*Be sure to use very cold HEAVY whipping cream and not light cream.
**A mixing bowl with a little rim around the edge helps to keep the steam and condensation out of the bowl.
***Beating heavy cream slowly will help the cream remain more stable without turning watery. Start on low speed then increase to medium speed over the next 5 minutes or until thick and stiff peaks form.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen