Perfect Tiramisu Recipe – A traditional Italian dessert

Cooking Method
Cuisine ,
Difficulty Advanced
Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 60 min Total Time: 13 hrs 30 mins
Servings 10

Tiramisu is a rich and creamy, multi-layered dessert made with ladyfingers, cream, eggs, and mascarpone cheese infused with coffee and vanilla flavors

  • 40 Ladyfingers
  • 2 cups Mascarpone cheese (( Two 8 OZ packs ))
  • 2 cups Heavy cream
  • 1.5 cups Caster sugar
  • 6 Eggs (Yolks only)
  • 1 cup Espresson / Strong coffee
  • 1 tablespoon Coffee Liqueur (Kahlua or Godiva)
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla essence
  • 2 tablespoons Chocolate (grated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa powder
  1. Equipment needed
    • Double Boiler for eggs - A pot with 2 inches deep water for the base and a round-bottomed heatproof glass or metal mixing bowl on the top (check notes section on how to make one or see the recipe video)
    • Whisk
    • Mixing bowls
    • Flat bottom glass baking dish (metal is also OK) at least 2.5-3 inch depth and 10X12 inch dimensions
    • Sieve to sprinkle cocoa powder
  2. Cooking the yolks in double boiler
    • Place a medium-sized pot on the stove and bring an inch or two of water to a simmer (no need to boil) as we need gentle heat.
    • Take another round glass or metal bowl large enough that it can be placed on the saucepan ( as shown in the video). Add the egg yolks and sugar and gently whisk the mixture. 
    • Place the bowl with egg yolks and sugar on the pot with water. Make sure that the bowl fits snugly on the pot without touching the water (if it dips into the water, it will get too hot). 
    • Keep the flame on medium and gently stir the yolk mixture for about 10 minutes. The mixture turns golden yellow and the sugar should start to dissolve. 
    • Remove from heat and let the mixture cool. It is ok if you still see some sugar crystals. It will dissolve during the process.
  3. Prepare the coffee
    • Prepare a strong coffee or espresso - you can use instant coffee powders also.
    • Add the coffee liqueur to the coffee. Mix well and let it cool.
    • Transfer the coffee and liqueur mixture to a flat bottomed bowl about 6 inches wide.
  4. Prepare whipped cream

    Transfer the heavy cream into a mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream on medium-high speed until medium peaks form. May take about 3-4 minutes.

  5. Prepare the cream cheese mixture
    • Bring the mascarpone cheese to room temperature
    • Transfer the mascarpone cheese to a mixing bowl. Gently whisk the cheese so that it is softened and all lumps are removed. 
    • Gently fold the cooled egg yolk and sugar mixture into the mascarpone cheese. Whisk slowly to form an even mixture.
    • Add vanilla essence
    • Next, fold the whipped cream into the cheese-yolk mixture and gently whisk it until the entire mixture reaches uniform consistency.
    • Keep this cream cheese mixture in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or until we are ready for the next steps
  6. Assembling the Tiramisu
    • Take a flat bottom glass baking dish 
    • Step A - Gently dip the lady fingers one by one in the coffee and lay them flat on the bottom of the baking dish  
    • Place the lady fingers next to each other and cover the entire base of the dish.
    • NOTE : The lady fingers should not get soggy and dip them just for a second or two. Ideally the coffee should seep only in the top layers of the lady fingers while the center is still dry.
    • Step B - Spread the cream cheese mixture in a uniform layer on the ladyfingers to about ½ inch thickness. 
    • Step C - Add a second layer of ladyfingers on top of the cheese layer
    • Step D - Repeat Step B. Spread another layer of cream cheese mixture on top of the second layer of ladyfingers.
    • Gently even out the top surface to remove any variations.
  7. Refrigeration

    Keep the Tiramisu bowl/tray in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours

  8. Serving

    When you are ready to serve,

    • Sprinkle a thin layer of cocoa powder on the entire top surface using a fine sieve.
    • Next, spread chocolate gratings on the cocoa powder.
    • Cut the Tiramisu into desired sized pieces and serve while it is still cold
  • Do-it-yourself Double- boiler : Equipment needed - medium-sized pot and a heatproof metal or glass mixing bowl. The purpose of double-boilers is to provide indirect heat for temperature-sensitive foods that can get cooked easily. Bring an inch or two of water to a simmer (no need to boil) as we need gentle heat. Place the bowl with egg yolks and sugar over top. Make sure that the bowl fits snugly on the pot without touching the water (if it dips into the water, it will get too hot). 

  • The secrets of making a great Tiramisu lies in :
  1. Getting the right texture of the cream filling - it should be of the right consistency and sweetness. Watch for the ratio of mascarpone cheese : Cream : Eggs.
  2. Quality of Ladyfingers: Use the right quality ladyfingers ( I used Italian Savoiardi - available in grocery stores) and do not soak them in espresso too long. Just dip for 1 second on each side.
  3. All ingredients must be at room temperature
  4. Refrigeration: Once prepared, Tiramisu needs to be refrigerated at least for 12 hours 
  5. Serve cold: Tiramisu needs to be served cold. The mixture contains whipped cream which will start to melt if Tiramisu gets warm.
Keywords: Tiramisu, Mascarpone, Ladyfingers, Italian, dessert
Vinay Mummigatti

I love traveling, cooking, and reading. This blog is a reflection of my passion for cooking. Food is a representation of culture and I have tried to assimilate foods from different cultures across the world. I am an Indian by birth who moved to the USA 20 years back. I hope my recipes and articles bring new experiences and joy to the readers. Please share your comments and feedback.