Saturday, May 24, 2014

Classic Italian Tiramisu

Classic Italian Tiramisu:  rich and silky mascarpone cream layered with coffee-soaked savoiardi cookies 

What's better than finishing my birthday week, and starting a long holiday weekend with this simply amazing tiramisu?

If you don't know, in Italian "tiramisu" means "pick me up", which is exactly what this heavenly dessert will do. Every bite combines the delicate flavor of the mascarpone cream with the bold aroma of the espresso. And I'm sure after you try this recipe, it will leave you begging for more!

You will be surprised by how easy and fast is to make this classic Italian dessert. The secret for an impeccable tiramisu is in the cookies, perfectly dipped in strong Italian espresso (not too dry and not too soggy), and rich, silky cream, just like you see in the pictures below, that makes you want to lick your screen ... no, please don't :)

Here are a few things to keep in mind when making tiramisu':

1. Ingredients: Begin with the finest components. Opt for fresh, high-quality eggs, authentic Italian mascarpone cheese, Italian savoiardi cookies (or ladyfingers if you can't find savoiardi), and robust brewed espresso or coffee. The better your ingredients, the more sublime your tiramisu will be.

2. Master the Mascarpone Cream: Achieving the perfect mascarpone cream is key. Pasteurize the eggs by whipping the egg yolks with sugar in a bowl and placing it on top of a pot with simmering hot water. Whisk continuously for about 5 minutes until the cream thickens enough to form ribbons and sticks to the back of a spoon. Remove from the double-boiler and let it cool. Add the mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract, then fold in gently whipped cream to create a luscious, airy texture. Remember not to overmix!

3. Soaking the Savoiardi Cookies: The secret for an impeccable tiramisu is in the cookies, perfectly dipped in strong Italian espresso – not too dry and not too soggy. Dip the savoiardi into the coffee mixture for about 2-3 seconds, or if using ladyfingers, one second. You want them moist but not soggy, ensuring a delicate balance that lets the flavors meld without compromising the structure of your tiramisu.

How to assemble your tiramisu':

You can make tiramisu in a casserole or baking dish, or you can prepare it in individual goblets for a touch of elegance and easy serving. The choice is yours. With the ingredients listed below, you can make 4 large or 6 medium individual servings or one around a 9-inch square dessert.

How to store:

While tiramisu can be enjoyed immediately if served in individual cups, its flavors deepen and meld beautifully with time. 

For the most exquisite results, refrigerate your creation for at least 3 hours or, better yet, overnight. 

This step is required if you are making tiramisu that will need slicing. This patience is rewarded with a dessert that reaches the pinnacle of flavor.

Tiramisu needs to be stored in the refrigerator. Cover it securely with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container to preserve its freshness.

Tiramisu can also be frozen, but the texture may slightly change. Also if you choose to freeze, do so without the cocoa powder. Add it just before serving for that perfect finishing touch.

Ready to try this recipe? Prepare yourself for greatness!
*Post updated in February 2024

* With the quantity indicated below I prepared a 9 x 13 inches tiramisu (that I brought to my boys' school for a teachers' lunch) and 3 individual cups (all for me!!!).
You can use around 3/4 of the amounts indicated if you'd like to prepare just the 9x13 in size: 24oz of mascarpone, 6 egg yolks, 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 3/4 cup of whipping cream,  8 oz of savoiardi cookies, 2 cups of coffee.

Ingredients:  To make a 9 x 13 in cake, and three individual cups *
  • 32 oz of mascarpone cheese (I used 4 packages of the Trader Joe's mascarpone)
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 and half cups of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • about 10 oz savoiardi cookies
  • About 2.5 cups of coffee (I used Italian espresso)
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus two hours or more of refrigeration

Step 1: Prepare the coffee and let it cool down to room temperature.
In a large bowl, blend the egg yolks and the sugar.

Step 2: Add the mascarpone cheese and the vanilla extract, and blend some more.

Step 3: Whip the whipping cream, and add to the mascarpone cream. Mix using a spoon, not a blender, so the whipped cream will keep.

Step 4: Now that the mascarpone cream is ready, we can assemble the tiramisu. First arrange the cookies in the pan that you will use, so that you can figure out how to fit them.
Step 5: Quickly soak the cookies in the coffee. It's very important that the cookies do not soak for too long. Just dip them really quickly, in and out of the coffee. Do the same for the cookies on the first layer.

Step 6: Spread half of the mascapone cream over the soaked cookies. Cover well!
Step 7: Repeat with one more layer of savoiardi cookies dipped in coffee, and the rest of the mascarpone cream.

Step 7: If you'd like, decorate the top with a fork. And sprinkle with unsweetened powder cocoa! Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or longer!

PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD: Authentic Italian Tiramisu


  1. I've always wondered what tiramisu actually meant and now I think it's totally apt. Gosh! Your recipe looks delicious. I love how you used savoiardi cookies. I've always used Oreos when I fix one up at home. Thank you so much for sharing. I can't wait to try that one out.

    Jason Underwood @ La Patisserie Bakery

    1. Thank you Jason!! Please let me know what you think if you try it out.
      In the traditional Italian recipe sometimes alcohol, like rum or marsala, is added to the espresso... that's definitely a "pick me up"!! :)

    2. I always steam-cook egg-yolks.Just in case. And it's still awesome!

  2. Thank you Sanam!! Your comment is greatly appreciated :-)

  3. No vaniglia e no panna vegetale nel tiramisu italiano!
    rosso d'uovo montato con lo zucchero
    tuorlo a neve fermissima


  4. Replies
    1. I know!! I have a hard time feeding tiramisu (without the coffee:) ) to my kids too, unless I know where the eggs come from. But that's the way it's done. Check when you go to an Italian restaurant next time, and ask how they make it. Raw eggs!!