Tiramisu is a heavenly Italian dessert.
It features decadent layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers, mascarpone cheese, and whipped cream. The finishing touch is a delicious dusting of cocoa powder.
If you like the combination of coffee and cream, this dessert is for you. With each layer complementing the others, this Italian treat is a true show-stopper.
And luckily, it’s so easy to make. You don’t even need to turn on the oven!
The hardest part is waiting for the dessert to set in the fridge. It’s 200% worth the wait, though.
So go grab your apron and let’s go!
Tiramisu is probably one of the most famous Mediterranean desserts around.
It features ladyfingers soaked in espresso, and sometimes rum.
The ladyfingers are layered with a creamy mascarpone, sugar, and egg yolk blend. This layer is followed by a layer of whipped cream.
The whole thing is topped off with a dusting of cocoa powder. The cocoa adds a deliciously chocolatey finish. And it looks quite pretty, too.
You may wonder if this is even worth making at home. The answer is a resounding YES!
While it might seem a little daunting, tiramisu is simple to make. And the result is so worth it.
You only need a few ingredients and patience to create this delightful dessert masterpiece.
- Mascarpone – This creamy Italian cheese is vital to this classic dessert.
- Egg Yolks – They make the mascarpone layer extra rich and thick. Don’t worry about consuming raw eggs. You cook them over low heat so they’re 100% safe to eat.
- Sugar – To sweeten the mascarpone layer.
- Milk – Milk adds richness and thickness to the mascarpone layer.
- Heavy Whipping Cream – Beat cream with vanilla extract to make homemade whipped cream. (Use an electric mixer!)
- Vanilla – Vanilla adds oomph to your whipped cream. Plus, it helps bring out the other flavors in the dessert.
- Ladyfingers – These crunchy oval-shaped sponge cookies soften when soaked in liquid and turn into moist cakes. They’re the reason this dessert is no-bake!
- Coffee – Ladyfingers are soaked in coffee to give it that punch of espresso flavor.
- Rum – Added to the coffee for an extra kick. You can also use Kahlua or Amaretto. Or, skip the alcohol for a kid-friendly dessert.
- Cocoa Powder – For a chocolatey final touch.
How to Make Tiramisu
1. Make the mascarpone filling.
- In a saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Turn the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the milk.
- Keep whisking until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil and whisk continuously for another minute. Remove from heat.
- Allow the mixture to cool somewhat (whisk some more to speed things up). Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Gently mix in the softened mascarpone until incorporated. But only just. Do not overmix.
2. Whip the cream.
- Chill the bowl (preferably metal), beater attachments, and whipping cream for 10-15 minutes beforehand.
- Pour the cream and vanilla into the bowl. Beat with an electric mixer over low speed. Gradually increase the speed and beat until stiff peaks form.
- This step takes about 10 minutes.
3. Dip the ladyfingers.
- Combine the brewed coffee and rum in a shallow bowl. Give both sides of the ladyfingers a quick dip in the mixture. (I must emphasize that this should be a quick dunk.)
- You will have a pile of mush if they soak too long.
4. Assemble the tiramisu.
- Arrange the soaked ladyfingers in a single layer at the bottom of a glass dish. Use half of the ladyfingers for the bottom layer.
- Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Top with half of the whipped cream.
- Following the same steps, assemble a second layer of ladyfingers, mascarpone, and whipped cream.
- Dust the top with cocoa powder.
5. Let the tiramisu set.
This is hands down the toughest part, but it’s a must.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap and chill the tiramisu for 4-6 hours minimum.
- If you can wait longer, chill it overnight. This will allow the flavors of your tiramisu to mix and mingle. So, it tastes even better!
- Slice the tiramisu into squares and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Tiramisu
- Don’t let egg-cidents ruin the recipe! When separating egg yolks and whites, use different bowls for each step.
- Use one bowl to crack the eggs and another to separate the yolks and whites. Transfer the yolks to a separate bowl.
- Don’t over-soak the ladyfingers. They’re very absorbent, so overdoing it will make them mushy. Just give both sides a quick dip, and they’re all set.
- Whisk the egg yolk mixture to cool it faster. Whisking the mixture will whisk off some of the heat, as well.
- Refrigerate the whipping cream, bowl, and beaters. This will help whip the cream quicker and keep it stable.
- Whip cream like a pro. The key is to take it slow. Start whipping on low, and then increase the speed gradually.
- This will cause a thicker, more stable whipped cream.
- Don’t overmix the mascarpone. Otherwise, it might turn grainy. Also, don’t add it while the egg yolk mixture is hot, or it will curdle.
- Don’t slice into the cake just yet. Give it at least 4-6 hours in the fridge to set! In fact, it’s better to leave it there overnight.
- No mascarpone, no problem! DIY it. Beat 1 (8-ounce) block of softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup of heavy cream, and 2 tablespoons softened butter until combined.
- Don’t give up on molten tiramisu. If yours didn’t set, freeze it and enjoy it as a chilly treat.
- Make a kid-friendly tiramisu. Skip the rum and combine brewed coffee with simple syrup to sweeten it up.
- Or, if the kids don’t like coffee, use hot chocolate instead.
How to Store & Freeze
To Store and Make Ahead
Tiramisu is best served chilled and honestly tastes better the next day.
So, it’s best to make it in advance. You can prepare tiramisu 1-4 days early and refrigerate it until ready to serve.
To store your tiramisu, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Transfer any leftovers into a smaller, airtight container.
It will last in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
Make the tiramisu but leave out the cocoa powder. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. It will freeze for up to 3 months.
Allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with cocoa powder before serving.
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