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Tiramisu Recipe for a Coffee-Infused Slice of Italy in Your Humble Abode

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Coffee breaks will never be the same again with our authentic tiramisu recipe, perfect for bringing this creamy, coffee-soaked Italian classic to life in your humble abode as coffee shops and bakeries have since the 1970s.

Tiramisu Recipe

The true origins of this Italian wonder are hotly debated to this day, and from just laying eyes on this moist, creamy, layered dish, topped with a speckled carpet of chocolate-coated galore, it’s not hard to understand why.

Tiramisu is a dessert of humble beginnings yet epic recognition. Throughout the world, this coffee-flavored dessert is loved, adored, and enjoyed with hot coffee and casual conversation with loved ones, friends, and family.

While in time so many variations of tiramisu have come about, using everything from fruits to liquor, we have done our best to honor our Italian ancestors with this simple, authentic recipe. In fact, it’s so utterly indulgent, you’ll wonder why anyone even thought to adapt the original recipe!

What is Tiramisu?

Literally meaning “pick me up” in Italian, traditional tiramisu is a dessert consisting of layers of savoiardi, or ladyfingers, soaked in cold coffee, covered with a cream mixture made of whipped egg whites, whisked yolks, mascarpone cheese, and sugar, topped with a final dusting of cocoa.

As mentioned, the origin of this dessert continues to be a hotly debated topic in Italy to this day. Theories ranging from a semi-frozen dessert created in the latter half of the 17th century, to claims made by restauranter Ado Campeol that he officially invented the dish in his Treviso restaurant in 1969 are plentiful.

What is for sure, however, is that this classic Italian dessert continues to be a firm favorite for people to enjoy with coffee or for dessert in bakeries, restaurants, and coffee shops not just in Italy, but throughout the world.

Tiramisu Ingredients

To make our classic tiramisu recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Savoiardi/Ladyfingers – 14oz (400grams)
  • Mascarpone – 17oz (500 grams)
  • Eggs – 5 medium
  • Powdered Sugar or Icing Sugar – 10 tbsp
  • Cold Coffee/Espresso – 1 3/4 cup (400 ml)
  • Vanilla – 1 tbsp
  • Cacao Powder (Unsweetened) – 3 tbsp
  • Salt – a pinch

Notes:

  • If you can’t find Savoiardi biscuits, look for them under the names of ladyfingers, sponge fingers, or Boudoir biscuits.
  • For a boozy version, you can add 3-4 tbsp of Marsala to the coffee. You can also add amaretto, coffee liqueur, cognac, or any liqueur (although that might be less traditional but still very tasty).

Variations

Shape – Despite the hugely common rectangular-shaped tiramisu which is cut into square or rectangular pieces, originally the cake was in fact round. You can also find tiramisus assembled in round glasses, or stacked in a pyramid-like formation.

Alcoholic Versions – Many variations exist that use alcohol not only as a substitute for the coffee or addition to the coffee but also used as an additional ingredient in the mascarpone and egg mixture. The most common is marsala wine, and you can find tiramisu recipes with a wide range of beverages, including port, Irish cream, brandy, and coffee-flavored liquors like Kahlua.

Whipped Cream – Though not authentic, many modern recipes will use whipped cream along with mascarpone cheese and egg in the main mixture.

Base – Some variations substitute other biscuits or breads, like panettone, instead of ladyfingers.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – The first step is to make the coffee/espresso so that it has time to cool down. We used an AeroPress to make our espresso, but you can use anything you have on hand to make espresso or very strong coffee. If you have a Moka pot, that would be amazing! You can also use a Nespresso machine. Once you made, the coffee let it cool down to room temperature, and then place it in the fridge so that it’s cold when you use it.

Step 2 – Beat the egg whites and pinch of salt until you get stiff peaks (approximately 5 minutes). Add 5 tbsp of icing sugar and beat until mixed.

Step 3 – Beat the yolks with 5 tbsp of icing sugar and vanilla with the hand mixer until you get a creamy consistency.

Step 4 – Add the room-temperature mascarpone to the egg yolks and mix with the hand mixer on a low speed for about 2-3 minutes until fully incorporated.

Step 5 – Fold the egg whites into the egg yolks and mascarpone gently so that you keep as much air in them as possible. Use large, sweeping motions, lifting from the bottom up with the spatula.

Step 6 – Put 3-4 tbsp of the cream mixture on the bottom of a rectangular glass baking dish. We used a 9″ x 13″ dish (or 35cm x 23 cm).

Step 7 – Dip the ladyfingers in the coffee for 2-3 seconds and add them in a layer to the tray. Don’t dip them in for longer than 3 seconds as they’ll be too soggy!

Step 8 – Add half the cream on top of the first layer of savoiardi biscuits dipped in coffee.

Step 9 – Add another layer of ladyfingers dipped in coffee for 2-3 seconds.

Step 10 – Add the remaining half of the cream, and smooth out the top.

Step 11 – Cover with cling film/saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (but much better overnight).

Step 12 – Sprinkle with cacao powder before serving. We used a fine sieve to make sure it’s a light and uniform dusting.

Carefully cut your tiramisu into rectangular pieces, and use a spatula to unearth your slice of coffee-flavored perfection before placing it on a plate, ready to dig in.

You are in for a treat like no other with tiramisu. The sweet, creamy middle with the moist, crumbly ladyfingers is sensational to the touch of the tongue, while the deep, earthy notes of the coffee and cocoa bring a mature, satisfying balance to the sweetness.

Serving Suggestions

Coffee/Espresso – Paired with hot coffee, this is an utterly irresistible dessert that will transform your kitchen or living room into a rustic Italian bakery lining a cobbled street of a bustling Italian town amid the sun-bathed rolling hills – pure magic in dessert form!

You could also try it with:

Italian Biscotti/Biscuits – Get some crunch in there with a plate of Italian biscotti, to keep this authentic, or any biscuits you may have in the cupboard.

Fresh Fruit – While not necessarily authentic, sweet and tart berries, such as strawberries or raspberries, can be a great pairing for tiramisu.

Italian Liquor – If you didn’t opt for an alcoholic version of tiramisu and you’re hosting a classy dinner party, you could still serve this dessert with some chilled Italian liquor, such as Amaretto or Limencello, with shot glasses.

Tiramisu Recipe Card

Yield: 8

Tiramisu

Tiramisu slice
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 14oz (400grams) savoiardi or ladyfingers or sponge fingers
  • 17oz (500 grams) mascarpone
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 10 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup (400 ml) cold coffee/espresso
  • 1 tbsp vanilla paste
  • 3 tbsp cacao powdered (unsweetened)
  • a pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. The first step is to make the coffee/espresso so that it has time to cool down. We used an AeroPress to make our espresso, but you can use anything you have on hand to make espresso or very strong coffee. If you have a Moka pot, that would be amazing! You can also use a Nespresso machine. Once you made, the coffee let it cool down to room temperature, and then place it in the fridge so that it’s cold when you use it.
  2. Beat the egg whites and pinch of salt until you get stiff peaks (approximately 5 minutes). Add 5 tbsp of icing sugar and beat until mixed (about 1 minute).
  3. Beat the yolks with 5 tbsp of icing sugar and vanilla with the hand mixer until you get a creamy consistency (about 2 minutes).
  4. Add the room-temperature mascarpone to the egg yolks and mix with the hand mixer on a low speed for about 2-3 minutes until fully incorporated.
  5. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolks and mascarpone gently so that you keep as much air in them as possible. Use large, sweeping motions, lifting from the bottom up with the spatula.
  6. Put 3-4 tbsp of the cream mixture on the bottom of a rectangular glass baking dish. We used a 9" x 13" dish (or 35cm x 23 cm).
  7. Dip the ladyfingers in the coffee for 2-3 seconds and add them in a layer to the tray. Don’t dip them in for longer than 3 seconds as they’ll be too soggy!
  8. Add half the cream on top of the first layer of savoiardi biscuits dipped in coffee.
  9. Add another layer of ladyfingers dipped in coffee for 2-3 seconds.
  10. Add the remaining half of the cream, and smooth out the top.
  11. Cover with cling film/saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (but better overnight).
  12. Dust with cacao powder before serving. We used a fine sieve to make sure it was a light and uniform dusting.
    Carefully cut your tiramisu into rectangular pieces, and use a spatula to unearth your slice of coffee-flavored perfection before placing it on a plate, ready to dig in.

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Author

  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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