Classic Tiramisu

Classic Tiramisu

Kristina Vanni

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Chill: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
785 Calories
44g Fat
78g Carbs
18g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 785
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 44g 56%
Saturated Fat 24g 118%
Cholesterol 434mg 145%
Sodium 367mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 78g 28%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 121mg 9%
Iron 5mg 27%
Potassium 256mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

One of the most famous and well-loved of all Italian desserts, tiramisù (literally translated as "pick me up") is a descendant of the traditional English trifle. The most widespread claim is that it was invented at the Le Beccherie restaurant in Treviso, in Northern Italy's Veneto region. Carlo Campeol, owner of Le Beccherie, has said that his mother Alba Campeol, together with pastry chef Loly Linguanotto, developed the recipe at the restaurant in 1971. It was allegedly inspired by the fact that, after the birth of her son, Alba's mother-in-law brought over an energy boost in the form of a zabaglione cream spiked with espresso.

Tiramisu is creamy, lightly sweet with a rich coffee flavor infused into delicate ladyfinger cookies. It is a great make-ahead dessert since it can be prepared in advance and served chilled from the refrigerator. Crisp ladyfinger cookies are quickly dipped in a combination of strong coffee and liqueur then layered with rich whipped cream and topped with a dusting of cocoa powder for beautiful presentation. While tiramisu does typically have alcohol in it, the dish can certainly be made without it as well. Simply replace with a little vanilla extract for an extra flavor boost.

"This creamy tiramisu is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up or ending to any meal. It’s perfectly sweetened and very light thanks to the whipped cream folded into the mascarpone mixture. Just be sure to keep an eye on the mascarpone as you mix it to ensure it stays smooth and creamy." —Kayla Hoang

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Ingredients

  • 6 large egg yolks

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 (8 ounce) containers mascarpone, at room temperature

  • 6 tablespoons rum, divided

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1 1/2 cups espresso or strong coffee, cooled to room temperature

  • 44 ladyfingers

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic Tiramisu

    Kristina Vanni

  2. In a double boiler (or a medium glass bowl placed over a saucepan with simmering water) whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Continue to whisk for 10 minutes over low heat (the water should be simmering, not boiling) until the mixture is thickened and the sugar is dissolved. This will cook the eggs.

    Classic Tiramisu

    Kristina Vanni

  3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool while proceeding to the next step.

    Classic Tiramisu

    Kristina Vanni

  4. In the large bowl of a stand mixer beat the mascarpone and 3 tablespoons of the rum until smooth and combined. Be careful not to overbeat the mascarpone as it can separate and become grainy.

    Classic Tiramisu

    Kristina Vanni

  5. Beat in the cooled egg yolk mixture until incorporated.

    Classic Tiramisu

    Kristina Vanni

  6. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

    Classic Tiramisu

    Kristina Vanni

  7. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until just incorporated. Do not overmix.

    Classic Tiramisu

    Kristina Vanni

  8. In a bowl, combine the espresso with the remaining 3 tablespoons of the rum.

    Classic Tiramisu

    Kristina Vanni

  9. Working one at a time, quickly dip (but do no soak) the ladyfingers once on each side in the mixture and arrange in a single layer in the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan.

    Classic Tiramisu

    Kristina Vanni

  10. You will use half (about 22) of the ladyfingers to cover the bottom of the pan.

    Classic Tiramisu

    Kristina Vanni

  11. Spread half of the cream over the layer of ladyfingers.

    Classic Tiramisu

    Kristina Vanni

  12. Repeat the process of dipping the remaining ladyfingers and arrange in a single layer on top of the cream.

    Classic Tiramisu

    Kristina Vanni

  13. Spread the remaining cream on top. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

    Classic Tiramisu

    Kristina Vanni

  14. When ready to serve, dust with cocoa powder.

    Classic Tiramisu

    Kristina Vanni

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness. The egg in tiramisu is safe because it is cooked with the sugar over a water bath. If you have any further concerns, purchase pasteurized eggs for this recipe.

Recipe Tips

  • You may have noticed there are two kinds of ladyfingers available in some grocery stores: soft and crunchy. For tiramisu, it is important to seek out the crunchy version. They quickly soften when dipped in the brewed coffee mixture, while the softer type quickly fall apart.
  • The crisp Savoiardi ladyfingers can be found in most grocery stores or can be purchased online.

Recipe Variations

  • This recipe calls for rum, but coffee liqueur or amaretto are also great choices.
  • Tiramisu can be made without booze as well. Simply eliminate the alcohol from the coffee mixture for dipping the ladyfingers and substitute vanilla extract for the rum in the mascarpone mixture.
  • Substitute the cocoa powder with grated semisweet chocolate.
  • Substitute zabaglione for the mascarpone cream.
  • This dish can also be made without eggs, if desired. Simply fold the whipped mascarpone into the whipped cream.
  • Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest to the mascarpone cream. 
  • Top your finished tiramisu with a few chocolate-covered coffee beans.

How to Store

  • Tiramisu can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator before serving. Leftovers can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Tiramisu is not suitable for freezing since the moisture from the coffee dip doesn't hold up well when defrosted.

What is a good substitute for ladyfingers in tiramisu?

Biscotti, sliced sponge cake, sliced pound cake, sliced panettone, and pavesini cookies can each make an interesting substitute for ladyfingers in tiramisu.

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Article Sources
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  1. @NatGeoUK. Deconstructing tiramisu: the coffee-infused Italian classic. National Geographic.