Learn how to make traditional Italian Tiramisu. With layers of creamy filling & coffee soaked ladyfingers – this tiramisu recipe is easier than you think!
Tiramisu is a delicious Italian dessert that’s surprisingly simple to make. It has a delicious coffee flavor and a luxurious creamy filling made from mascarpone cheese. This classic recipe doesn’t require any oven time, just like my favorite no bake tiramisu, and can be made with or without liqueur for a decadent dessert. Your friends and family will definitely be asking you for the recipe.
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Every spring I go to a local Italian festival. I always have the most delicious food – including the best homemade pasta, pizzelle cookies, and the best tiramisu recipe. I love how the tiramisu tastes decadent without being too sweet. And I always buy a few extra pieces of tiramisu to take home. (It’s too delicious not too).
What is Tiramisu?
- Tiramisu is an Italian coffee-flavored dessert made of ladyfingers dipped in a mix of coffee and liqueur, layered with a sweetened whipped mascarpone cheese filling, and topped with a sprinkle of cocoa powder. Tiramisu means “pick me up” in Italian and this coffee-spiked dessert will do just that.
A few years ago I tried making tiramisu for the first time myself. It turns out that it’s actually way easier to make than I thought. It’s completely no bake and takes very little actual cooking skills. I find the key to making a delicious tiramisu is in the ingredients that you use. And if you follow this simple recipe – you’ll end up with the most delicious homemade tiramisu.
- Egg Yolks
- Whipping Cream
- Ladyfinger Cookies
- Cocoa Powder
How to Make Tiramisu
This easy tiramisu recipe is made in a 9×13 inch pan – so it makes a lot. Here’s the rundown of what to do, along with tons of tips so that it turns out perfectly.
First, whisk together egg yolks with white sugar. I do this using a double boiler with a glass bowl over top of a saucepan with about a 1/2 inch of simmering water in the bottom of the pan. It’s important to constantly whisk the eggs and sugar together so that they get thick, pale, and frothy. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water in the saucepan and that the burner is turned to low – otherwise, you can end up with scrambled eggs. It’s really important to constantly whisk the eggs and sugar so that the temperature increases slowly.
Once the egg and sugar mixture is sufficiently thick and frothy, remove the bowl from the heat and beat in the vanilla extract and mascarpone cheese until just combined. Using mascarpone cheese in tiramisu is key for the classic creamy, texture and delicious flavor. You can typically find mascarpone cheese in the dairy section at your grocery store (often near the cream cheese or cottage cheese) or at a specialty Italian grocery store.
In a separate bowl whisk whipping cream until thick, then gently fold it into the mascarpone mixture.
Then it’s time to assemble the tiramisu.
In a shallow bowl combine strong coffee (I like to use espresso) with Frangelico (Kalua works too). Then gently dip both sides of lady finger wafers in the coffee mixture and place them at the bottom of the pan. I don’t recommend completely dunking the wafers in the coffee or else they can get too soggy. To cover the bottom of the pan you’ll likely need to break or trim some of the wafers.
Then spread about 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture on top of the wafers. You’ll repeat the process with a second layer of coffee-soaked cookies, and then spread the rest of the creamy filling on top.
While tiramisu is no bake, you do need to let it set in the fridge for 4 hours before serving. This lets the biscuits soften, the flavors fuse together, and the creamy filling to firm up.
Before serving, dust the top with a little cocoa powder – and then you’re ready to serve.
Tiramisu Without Raw Eggs
Traditionally, tiramisu is made with completely raw eggs (ie without tempering the eggs over a double boiler). If you feel comfortable eating raw egg yolks you could skip the double boiler and simply whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl. However, raw eggs are not safe for everyone to eat – which is why I recommend using the double boiler method.
If you whisk the eggs and sugar using a double boiler, the eggs will temper (increase in temperature) and are therefore safe to eat because they are no longer raw.
Tiramisu Without Alcohol
If you’d like to make tiramisu without alcohol, feel free to leave out the liqueur. It will still taste delicious.
This easy tiramisu is such a show-stopping dessert. It’s extra creamy but still light in texture, and has a delicious flavor that’s perfectly grownup and not too sweet.
Love this tiramisu recipe? Try these other Italian favorites:
- Easy Chicken Cacciatore
- Italian Stromboli
- Classic Easy Beef Lasagna
- Chicken Marsala
- Pasta Carbonara
- More dessert recipes…
Tools used to make this Italian Tiramisu recipe
Double Boiler: Growing up we’d just set a bowl over boiling water, but having an actual double boiler is SO great when I’m making lots of treats to share with friends and family!
Baking Dish: This baking dish is a must-have for any home cook. I actually have 3 of them in my cupboard, and each dish comes with a lid for storing leftovers or taking your dishes on the go.
Mixing Bowl: These mixing bowls get used just about every day at my house. The grip handle makes them easy to hold and the pour spout makes them perfect for batters!
Hand Mixer: While I love my stand mixer, this handheld mixer is perfect for smaller recipes and when I need just a quick mix.
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups mascarpone cheese room temperature
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 2 1/2 cups strong coffee
- 1/4 cup Frangelico optional
- 14 ounces ladyfinger cookies (see note)
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- Add the egg yolks and sugar to the top of a double boiler over simmering water.
- Immediately start beating the eggs and sugar until thick and frothy, or for at least 10 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the top of the double boiler and beat in the vanilla extract and mascarpone.
- In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold the whipping cream into the mascarpone mixture.
- In a shallow dish mix together the coffee and Frangelico.
- Carefully dip both sides of the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture (do not submerge) and layer on the bottom of a 9-inch x 13-inch pan. You may need to cut some of the biscuits to cover the pan.
- Spread 1/2 of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers.
- Place a second layer of coffee-dipped ladyfingers on top of the mascarpone layer.
- Spread the rest of the cream mixture on top.
- Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight. When ready to serve, sift the cocoa powder on top. Store leftovers in the fridge.
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