Last updated on February 13th, 2024.

Indulging in the exquisite flavors of Italian cuisine is always a delight; when it comes to desserts, Tiramisu takes center stage.  Renowned for its rich layers, delicate balance of flavors, and a touch of coffee-infused magic, Tiramisu is more than just a dessert—it’s a culinary masterpiece with worldwide fans, and today we are making my favorite version.

For more Classic Italian desserts, check out this Torta Caprese, this Torta Della Nonna, or these Italian Cream Puffs.

Italian Tiramisu with a spoon

What is an “Authentic” Italian Tiramisu

Disclaimer: I am Italian only by temper and am not claiming this is the best Tiramisu recipe. I have, however, spent two decades searching for my favorite version of this epic dessert. (Still willing to explore)

Tiramisu, which translates to “pick me up” in Italian, is a luscious and creamy coffee flavor no-bake dessert that has captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world. Hundreds or even thousands of Tiramisu recipes are out there; some infuse dark rum, sweet marsala wine, some fold meringue, and some (like this one) add whipped cream. But, an authentic Tiramisu recipe typically features the following: layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers, raw eggs whipped with sugar mascarpone cheese, and a dusting of cocoa powder. (see how the famous Le Beccherie restaurant does it).

For a fun twist to this classic recipe, check out this Chocolate Tiramisu.

Ingredients

To embark on this culinary journey, gather the following high-quality ingredients:

  • Espresso or any strong coffee you like.
  • Chopped dark chocolate, optional.
  • Sugar, divided.
  • Egg yolks
  • Mascarpone cheese at room temperature
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Lady fingers (Savoiardi). I decided to add whipped cream to this recipe because I believe that whipped cream makes everything better. But if you wish to skip it, you can. Follow the recipe as is without the cream.
  • Cocoa powder for dusting the top
Ingredients to make no bake dessert

How to Make Italian Tiramisu

  1. Place the chopped chocolate and one tablespoon of sugar in a wide bowl and pour the hot coffee over it. Stir until melted. Set aside to cool.
  2. Use a double boiler to whip the raw egg yolks until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture reads 160F. (see recipe card for more details)
  3. Remove from the heat, and keep whipping until cool, light in color, and thick.
  4. In a large bowl, cream the mascarpone for about 30 seconds, add the whipped cream, and whip until thick.
  5. Fold in the egg yolk mixture.
  6. To assemble: Dip the bottom of the ladyfingers in the espresso mixture and line them in a single layer over a 9×9 dish.
  7. Spread half of the creamy mascarpone filling.
  8. Line a second layer of dipped cookies over the cream layer, and spread the remaining cream mixture (or pipe them for a decorative design)
  9. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. Before serving, dust with cocoa powder.
whipping egg yolks and sugar over a double boiler
bowls with mascarpone and cream filling
How to assemble tiramisu

Tips

  • Use high-quality ingredients for the best results. Ladyfingers made in Italy tend to hold their shape and texture best.
  • Only dip the ladyfinger for about 1-2 seconds. Otherwise, they will soak too much of the coffee mixture and lose some of their texture.
  • Ensure the mascarpone cheese is at room temperature for a smooth texture; if cold, instead of having an airy mascarpone cream, you will get a lumpy cream. 
  • Whipping the egg yolks and sugar over a boiler is a form of pasteurizing. If you feel comfortable, are not worried about food safety, and would like to skip this part, check your grocery stores for pasteurized eggs.
  • Traditional tiramisu recipe calls for espresso coffee. If you have an espresso machine, make a strong espresso, then add water to complete one cup. Another option is to add 1-2 tablespoons of coffee liqueur for a stronger coffee flavor.
  • This might be the hardest part. but allow the Tiramisu to set in the refrigerator for at least two hours. If served immediately, it will collapse.
  • For this recipe, you can use an 8×8-inch pan, a 9×9, or even a 7×11 dish, square, oval, or round. Another option is to use smaller dishes for individual desserts. 

Storing and Making ahead of time

You can make this easy tiramisu recipe ahead of time; it’s important to remember that it should be consumed within three days. Another thing to keep in mind is that as time passes by, the Savoiardi (ladyfingers) absorb the moisture from the cream and tend to get soggy.

To preserve the freshness and flavor of your Tiramisu, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator. Consume within 2-3 days for the best experience.

To freeze, place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface, then wrap the whole dish, or for the best result, use a lid. Note that the freezer might change the texture of the dessert. When ready to eat, remove it from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

FAQ

Can I substitute mascarpone cheese?

You can use cream cheese, but it will not taste like the traditional recipe. I recommend sticking to the recipe.

How to Serve the Tiramisu?

Tiramisu is best served cold with a dust of cocoa powder or shaved chocolate. It can be a bit challenging to cut a smooth slice, so feel free to use a large spoon.

How do You Keep Tiramisu from Getting Soggy?

First, use high-quality ladyfinger cookies. Chill your coffee mixture before using it, and only dip it for 1-2 seconds.

Can I use decaffeinated coffee?

Absolutely. If you prefer a decaffeinated version, feel free to use decaffeinated coffee to soak the ladyfingers.

a slice of tiramisu dessert

More Desserts Recipes You Might Enjoy

Choux A La Crem, Marittozo, French Strawberry Tart

Italian Tiramisu

Coffee soaked ladyfinger cookies layered with sweet mascarpone cream.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword italian tiramisu
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Author Dikla

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Espresso or strong coffee (240ml)
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped dark chocolate (optional) (30g)
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 5 Large Egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar (150g)
  • 2 Cups Mascarpone Cheese (2-8oz containers) at room temperature (450g)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream, very cold (350ml)
  • 36 Ladyfingers

Instructions

  1. Place the chopped chocolate and sugar in a medium bowl, and pour the hot coffee over. Allow to sit for one minute, then gently stir until the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool.

  2. In a medium-sized pan, bring water to a simmer. The water should be about 1 inch deep. Place a bowl with the egg yolks and sugar over the pan as the water is simmering. Whisk the yolks and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has reached 160F. Remove from the stove and whisk until the mixture has cooled, and is light and thick. (I like to use an electric mixer).

  3. In a separate bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese for about 30 seconds.

  4. Pour in the whipped cream and whip until the mixture is thick.

  5. Fold in the yolk mixture.

To Assemble

  1. Dip the ladyfingers, one cookie at a time, the coffee and line them in an 8×8-inch pan.

  2. Spread half of the cream over the cookies.

  3. Repeat with another layer of cookies, and spread the rest of the cream (or pipe it over).

  4. Place in the refrigerator to set for about four hours. Before serving, dust the top layer of the cream with cocoa powder, or chocolate shavings.

Recipe Notes

    • Store in the refrigerator for up to three days. 
    • To freeze, cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 4 weeks. When ready, allow to defrost in the refrigerator the night before and remember that the texture might change.
    • Use high-quality ingredients for the best results. Ladyfingers made in Italy tend to hold their shape and texture best.

    • Only dip the ladyfinger for about 1-2 seconds. Otherwise, they will soak too much of the coffee mixture and lose some of their texture.

    • Ensure the mascarpone cheese is at room temperature for a smooth texture; if cold, you will get a lumpy cream instead of an airy mascarpone cream. 

    • Whipping the egg yolks and sugar over a boiler is a form of pasteurizing. If you are not worried about food safety and would like to skip this part, use pasteurized eggs.

    • Traditional tiramisu recipe calls for espresso coffee, but you can use any of your favorite coffee. The strength of the coffee will determine how much coffee flavor the dessert will have.

    • Do not serve the Tiramisu right away; allow it to set in the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours or even overnight.

    • Use any 8,9 dish you have available, square, round, or oval. Make sure it is deep enough to fill the four layers.

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