Classic Tiramisu – Lady fingers are dipped in coffee and layered with whipped mascarpone to make a classic version of this Italian dessert.
My birthday is this week! Woohoo! Luckily, I’m not yet jaded by my birthday so I get just as excited to celebrate a new year of life now as I would 10 years ago. But now, the most exciting thing about this time of year isn’t the gifts…it’s the food! I get to pick out where we celebrate (I always pick steak) and I get a yummy cake.
In honor of my birthday, today I am featuring a recipe for one of my favorite desserts EVER – tiramisu! Instead of vamping up this dessert and making it unique, I’m changing things up and giving you a classic recipe for tiramisu. Because why mess with a classic?
Without further ado, check out this Classic Tiramisu!
What is tiramisu?
Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert that tastes of coffee, cake, and a tangy whipped cream mixture. But you’ll be shocked to know that the “cake” you taste is actually lady fingers that soak up coffee to get perfectly soft.
And that tangy whipped cream you taste is actually whipped mascarpone with sugar and eggs to get it nice and thick, but still slightly light in texture.
Finally, the ingredient that gives tiramisu it’s signature look is the layer of chocolate cocoa powder that sits right on top of the tiramisu.
How is tiramisu made?
Tiramisu is a no-bake dessert so it’s rather easy to put together. The hard part, however, is letting the flavors and textures marinate to form the end product. This takes at least 4 hours but the tiramisu only gets better as time goes on so you should definitely make it the day before serving.
Using raw eggs
First, you’re going to whip eggs together with the sugar to get them nice and fluffy. Now, I’m sure your first thought here is: “You just said this dessert was no-bake, but you’re adding eggs? Does that mean there are raw eggs in this dessert?
Yes, there are. Traditionally, tiramisu has always been made with raw eggs. Most times, however, restaurants pasteurized their eggs before adding to tiramisu to make the dessert safer for children and expectant mothers.
For my recipe, I am not pasteurizing the eggs because I am confident in the quality of my eggs. However, if you have any concerns about using raw eggs, you can whisk them over a double-boiler until the eggs reach a temperature of 140 degrees. Then you can add to sugar and begin whipping them in the mixer.
Once the eggs are whipped and fluffy, the mascarpone cheese is added with vanilla, whipped some more, and then set aside for layering.
Layering the tiramisu
Once you’ve made the mascarpone cream, it’s time to get layering!
The lady fingers are dipped in strong coffee sweetened with a little sugar. You don’t want to hold the lady finger in the coffee for too long or it will begin to fall apart. 2-3 seconds is the perfect amount of time to let just enough coffee get absorbed by the lady finger.
Next, the lady fingers are layered in a square dish, making sure to put them as close together as possible.
Half of the whipped mascarpone is then spread over the top of the first layer of lady fingers. Make sure to get into every nook and cranny of the lady fingers layer.
The layers are repeated and then the tiramisu is chilled for at least 4 hours before dusting with cocoa powder and serving.
Tips & Tricks
- Don’t soften the mascarpone cheese at room temperature before using it. The texture appears to be similar to cream cheese, but it’s actually much softer. Therefore, it whips nicely, even when cold. In fact, if it gets room temperature, it’s actually greasy will ruin the texture of the cream.
- The lady fingers needed for this recipe must be crunchy and firm or else they will turn soggy and fall apart when dipped in coffee. You can typically find them in the grocery section near the fancy packaged cookies.
- The resting time for this recipe is not optional. The lady fingers need time to soak up the coffee flavor or else they won’t get soft enough. Plus, all the flavors come together over time so it becomes one cohesive dessert.
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar divided
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1 ¾ cup strong brewed coffee hot
- 7 ounces lady finger cookies
- unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
- Add eggs and 1/2 cup of sugar to the bowl of stand mixer. Beat with whisk attachment on medium-high until light and super fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add vanilla and mascarpone cheese and beat for 1 more minute. Set aside.
- Add 2 tablespoons of sugar to hot brewed coffee and ix together. Place into a shallow dish. Dip one lady finger into coffee and hold for 2 seconds, but no more than that! It'll start to fall apart if it soaks for too long. Lay into a square dish. Repeat with more lady fingers until you create one even layer.
- Spread on half of the mascarpone mixture. Repeat with the rest of the lady fingers and the last layer of mascarpone. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Before serving, dust cocoa powder all over. Left overs can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.