How to Make Tiramisu | Authentic Italian Dessert Recipe
Updated: Oct 29, 2020
In Italian, “tiramisu” means “pick-me-up.” And it’s no wonder how this classic dessert got its name, as it’s chock full of strong coffee! A tiramisu is best made at home; you’ll rarely see an Italian order one in a restaurant. The following recipe will show you how to make the traditional delicacy in the authentic Italian fashion.
A tiramisu consists of layers of savoiardi (ladyfingers) dipped in coffee between layers of a thick cream made from eggs and mascarpone cheese. Be aware that the eggs remain raw, so consume at your own risk. We recommend picking up some fresh eggs from a local farm, if possible.
Italians use moka coffee for tiramisu, such as those made by Bialetti brewers. Despite a misconception to the contrary, this coffee isn’t actually espresso although it’s just as strong. For an authentic tiramisu, we recommend using a moka pot (you can find one here), but it’s also acceptable to use espresso which is easily obtained from a coffee shop.
Regarding savoiardi: the soft, mushy ladyfingers available in most grocery stores simply won’t do. If you have a local Italian market you can pick up the crunchier, genuine biscuits. If not, click this link to order them online. You’ll be glad you did!
We used a circular cake dish to make this recipe, measuring 8-inches in diameter and 3-inches tall. However, you can easily adapt to whatever size or shape you have available. Unless you have tireless arms, you will also want a hand or countertop mixer for beating the eggs.
For this recipe, you will need:
1/3 cup sugar
8 oz. of mascarpone cheese
2 cups moka or espresso coffee
1 oz. Marsala wine (optional)
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
Begin by preparing your coffee, as you’ll want it to cool down to room temperature before layering the dessert.
Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. Save the yolks for later and beat the whites until they become light and fluffy. Set aside for later.
Combine the egg yolks with the sugar and beat until the mixture turns from bright yellow to very pale, almost an off-white. Taste occasionally to make sure the sugar has dissolved completely. If there’s any crunch, keep beating.
Add the mascarpone cheese into the yolks and whip until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Now, begin adding the egg whites into the mascarpone cream. Do this by adding a scoop of whites at a time and gently folding them in with a spatula, turning the mixture over from the bottom to the top. Be gentle because you want this to come out thick and fluffy, not soupy.
Now comes the layering. Pour your coffee into a shallow bowl and add the optional marsala. One at a time, take the ladyfingers and dip them for a few moments into the coffee, then arrange in a single layer along the bottom of the tiramisu dish. Depending on the size and shape of your dish, there may be gaps in the layer which you should fill in by breaking off smaller pieces of biscuit.
Once the savoiardi layer is complete, spoon a layer of mascarpone/egg over it. The cream layer should be about the width of a finger. Then repeat the savoiardi process again, making a new layer of biscuits over the cream. Finally, top it all off with another mascarpone layer.
At this point, the tiramisu is assembled but not quite ready to eat. Allow to chill in the fridge for at least three hours, although it’s best if you can wait overnight. This allows the flavor of the layers to intermingle and for the savoiardi to absorb the excess coffee.
Immediately before serving, dust the top surface of the tiramisu with cocoa powder. Do this by filling a small, fine sieve with the powder and gently tapping it over the dessert.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we made this recipe here:
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