How to Make Tiramisù | Authentic Italian Dessert Recipe
Updated: Apr 25
In Italian, “tiramisù” means “pick-me-up.” It’s no wonder how this classic dessert got its name, as it’s chock full of coffee! A tiramisù is best made at home; you’ll rarely see an Italian order one in a restaurant. In fact, if you’ve never had an authentic homemade tiramisù, chances are you’ve never tried the real thing. Restaurants notoriously cut corners and fill theirs with whipped cream and other substitutes. So roll up your sleeves, it’s time to make the traditional delicacy in the authentic Italian fashion!
The Ingredients of a Real Tiramisù
Italians use “moka” coffee for tiramisù, 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 tiramisù, we recommend using a moka pot, 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. While many foreign recipes call for making your own savoiardi, this is almost unheard of in Italy. It’s sort of like making your own Oreo cookies for an Oreo cheesecake…
Tiramisù is made with raw eggs from start to finish. We always recommend using farm fresh eggs from a source you trust. Even taking this precaution, consume at your own risk. We are not doctors or lawyers, so we certainly are not in the position to make any recommendations, but we will definitely not stop eating tiramisù any time soon…
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make tiramisù here:
Makes: One 2-quart tiramisù, serves 6-8
Cook Time: 60-90 minutes, best made the day before
For this recipe, you will need:
3 cups (700ml) espresso coffee diluted with 1 cup (240ml) water
6 large eggs
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
16 oz. (450g) mascarpone cheese
16oz. (450g) savoiardi biscuits
Unsweetened cocoa powder for topping
2 large mixing bowls
2-quart dish (we recommend an 8x8-inch square, but a rectangle will work just fine)
Shallow dipping dish
Fine mesh sieve for dusting the cocoa powder
Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks into two mixing bowls. Save the whites for later.
Combine the egg yolks with the sugar and beat with a hand mixer 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 mix it in thoroughly. Set the yolk mixture aside for later.
Add a pinch of salt into the egg whites and beat them with the hand mixer until they become fluffy but not stiff. Adding a little bit at a time, mix the egg whites into the yolk/mascarpone mixture. Do so by gently folding them in with a spatula. Try to avoid vigorous stirring as this will cause the egg whites to lose volume. Continue to add and fold until all of the whites are evenly mixed in.
Pour the diluted coffee into a shallow bowl or dish. Quickly dip a ladyfinger in the coffee, shake off the excess, and place it in the bottom of a 2-quart dish. Continue to arrange coffee-dipped biscuits into a tight, single layer which covers the bottom of the dish completely. There should be no gaps, so cut the savoiardi into smaller pieces as necessary to fill in holes.
Spread a layer of egg/mascarpone “cream” over all. The layer shouldn’t be too thick, just enough to cover the savoiardi completely and up to edge of the dish. Repeat with layers of savoiardi topped with cream until you have run out of space or biscuits. Finish with a final layer of cream.
A tiramisù is best served the next day after being refrigerated overnight. If you can’t wait 24 hours, at least try to give it a few hours of rest so that the coffee can properly disperse into and amongst the savoiardi. Dust the tiramisù with cocoa powder immediately before cutting and serving.