Tiramisu is a very popular Italian dessert. It’s not a very old recipe. In fact, it’s said to have been created in the 1960s. These days, you can find it offered in practically every Italian restaurant all over the world. Tiramisu is typically made with mascarpone cheese, eggs, sugar, and ladyfingers that have been dipped in espresso. It’s rich and creamy and so delicious that you’ll be tempted to have a second and a third piece!
Mascarpone cheese is pretty easy to find nowadays, but if you can’t get it in your local grocery store, you can substitute 1 box (8 ozs.) of cream cheese, blended with ¼ cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons butter. (You would have to double that for this recipe.)
- 2 cups boiling-hot water
- 3 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 3 Tbsp. coffee liqueur, like Tia Maria or Kahlua
- 6 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup sugar
- 16 ozs. mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup chilled heavy cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 24 to 46 ladyfingers or savoiardi cookies (depending on how big your cookies are)
- unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
- Stir together water, espresso powder, 2 tablespoons sugar, and coffee liqueur in a shallow bowl or pie plate until sugar has dissolved, then set aside to cool.
- Using a wire whisk or hand mixer, beat egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar together in a double boiler set over gently simmering water until tripled in volume, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Add the mascarpone and beat until well incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Cover and place in refrigerator while you prepare the vanilla cream.
- In another bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form, then beat in vanilla.
- Gently fold one-third vanilla cream into mascarpone mixture to lighten it.
- Then gently fold in remaining cream until thoroughly combined, taking care not to deflate the cream. Mixture will look lumpy. I have no idea why it does that. Don’t worry about it. It’ll still taste good.
- Quickly dunk each ladyfinger in the cooled coffee until the coffee soaks about halfway through, leaving the center of the cookie dry (you can break one in half to check). Don’t get the ladyfingers completely saturated or you’ll end up with a layer of unrecognizable, soggy mush. Gently shake off excess coffee and lay soaked ladyfingers in 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish, lining them up to completely cover the bottom. If you need to, you can break some of the ladyfingers to create a snug fit.
- Spread half of mascarpone filling on top of the ladyfinger layer.
- Dip remaining ladyfingers one by one in coffee and arrange in second layer over mascarpone cream.
- Spread remaining mascarpone cream evenly on top of second layer of ladyfingers.
- Cover and chill in refrigerator until set, at least 4-6 hours.
- Before serving, dust top generously with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh sieve.
- You can substitute 2 cups freshly brewed espresso or double-strength drip coffee for the water and instant espresso powder.
- Tiramisu can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before serving.
- If you don’t have a double boiler, you can make one by setting a heatproof glass bowl on top of a pan of gently simmering water, as pictured below.