Layers of creamy whipped mascarpone and coffee-soaked lady fingers make this classic Tiramisu an absolutely dreamy dessert your guests will love.
I have a few desserts that I consider to be in my top 5 all-time favorite desserts and Tiramisu is one of them. When Tiramisu is great, almost nothing can beat it. Rich yet light mascarpone just barely sweetened is perfectly complimented by the bitter, coffee-soaked lady fingers. A dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder finishes it off beautifully. This Italian dessert is a true crowd favorite with good reason.
Table of Contents
- Egg yolks.
- Caster sugar. Caster sugar will dissolve into the egg yolks much quicker than granulated sugar will. You can find caster sugar (also often called superfine sugar) in the baking aisle of most supermarkets.
- Mascarpone. Cold mascarpone is the base of tiramisu and makes a deliciously creamy dessert.
- Heavy cream/whipping cream.
- Lady finger cookies.
- Kahlua/Marsala wine.
- Strong coffee.
How to make tiramisu
- The most important tip when making this tiramisu recipe is whipping the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is voluminous. The mixture needs to be almost white and airy. Add cold mascarpone cheese (room temperature mascarpone is likely to split when beaten) and beat until the mixture is thick and smooth. Fold in whipped cream right at the end for an airy cream mixture. I prefer using my stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for this but you can also use an electric mixer.
- Combine espresso with Kahlua or more traditionally, Marsala, in a shallow bowl. Dip the lady fingers very quickly into the mixture. Allowing them to soak will result in a very wet Tiramisu. Layer the soaked ladyfingers with the mascarpone mixture in a baking dish and finish with a dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Place in the fridge and allow to set for at least 4 hours but ideally overnight before serving.
Freezing and making ahead
- Make ahead: Tiramisu is the ideal make-ahead dessert. In fact, it is even better a day or two after made. Keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days before serving.
- Freezing: Even though I wouldn’t suggest freezing (the mascarpone mixture could change texture once thawed), I have seen people give directions to freeze tiramisu online. Wrap in a few layers of plastic wrap then freeze. Thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.
Marsala is most traditionally used but I like using Kahlua for extra coffee flavor. Brandy, dark rum or Frangelico can also be used. I also use Amarula to make a delicious Amarula Tiramisu.
If the thought of raw egg yolks worries you, using pasteurised eggs will remove any risk. However, If using fresh eggs you don’t have much to be concerned about. You can also cook the egg yolk and sugar mixture over a water bath, whisking constantly until the mixture is thick and pale to avoid any risk.
Using room temperature mascarpone can cause the mixture to curdle. Overbeating can also cause curdling.
At least 4 hours, ideally overnight in the fridge.
Creamy dessert recipes
- 4 extra-large egg yolks
- ¾ cup caster sugar
- 500 g (1lb) cold mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup cream
- 400 g (14oz) lady finger cookies
- 1 cup espresso
- 2 tbsp Kahlua / Marsala (optional)
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- Beat the sugar and egg yolks together until white, fluffy and voluminous. The mixture should be smooth (sugar dissolved) when rubbed between your fingers.
- Add the mascarpone and beat for another 2 minutes until smooth and thick.
- Whip the cream to stiff peak stage then gently fold into the mascarpone mixture.
- Combine the espresso and Kahlua / Marsala in a shallow bowl.
- Dip the finger biscuits into the coffee mixture then layer with the mascarpone mixture in a serving dish of your choice.
- Dust with cocoa powder and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but ideally overnight before serving.