Authentic tiramisu has espresso-dipped ladyfingers and the perfect amount of egg yolks and mascarpone to make a rich, but light texture.
This dessert has to be one of my favorites. Honestly, nothing beats authentic tiramisu. It has the perfect light, but rich texture and a noticeable espresso flavor. I love serving this dessert for guests as it always seems to please everyone!
Why this recipe works: This recipe calls for authentic tiramisu ingredients. The ratio of egg yolks to mascarpone makes for a rich, flavorful filling. The ladyfingers are dipped in espresso mixed with marsala, which is the traditional way Italians make the dessert.
Tiramisu ingredients are somewhat common, but if you’re having trouble find them, try Whole Foods or a local speciality grocery store. You can also find ladyfingers and mascarpone online. I personally like getting espresso from a local coffee shop, but strongly brewed coffee at home works too! I prefer using caster sugar for tiramisu (and my homemade macarons). It’s ultra-fine and makes for a superb texture. However, if you can’t find any, then confectioners’ sugar works too.
How to make authentic tiramisu
- Prepare pan: Dust the bottom of a square baking pan with cocoa powder. Set aside.
- Prepare egg whites: In a bowl over simmering water, whisk egg whites and sugar until stiff. Set aside.
- Make mascarpone filling: Beat egg yolks and sugar. Fold in mascarpone and egg whites.
- Prepare lady fingers: Whisk together espresso and marsala. Dip ladyfingers in coffee mixture quickly and arrange on the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Assembly: Layer bottom of pan with espresso-dipped lady fingers. Top with half the mascarpone mixture. Repeat with another layer of ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture.
- Chill tiramisu: Cover and chill tiramisu overnight. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.
Helpful tips for making tiramisu
Tiramisu is a simple dessert, but there are some tips to guarantee success. For starters, use pasteurized eggs or very fresh eggs. I usually ask a supermarket employee to see if they had eggs delivered that day. If you can’t find pasteurized eggs, cook the eggs with sugar in a grease-free bowl over a pot of simmering water whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes.
For the ladyfinger cookies, make sure to dip them quickly in the coffee mixture, about 1 second per side. If they absorb too much liquid, then your tiramisu will be soggy. Finally, chill the tiramisu a full 8 to 12 hours to obtain the proper texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Authentic tiramisu has marsala, which is a fortified wine traditionally used in cooking. However, many tiramisu recipes call for rum, brandy or coffee liquor.
Authentic tiramisu calls for raw pasteurized eggs, which may be hard to find in the States. The eggs may be cooked in a clean, grease-free bowl over a simmering pot of water before using to reduce risk of salmonella.
Once placed in the refrigerator, tiramisu will last up to 4 days.
Yes, but it freezes best when the servings are individually wrapped. After the tiramisu has chilled, slice into individual servings. Place in the freezer for 2 hours so the mascarpone hardens. Then individually wrap the tiramisu servings with plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Store for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
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- 2 egg whites, room temperature
- 4 egg yolks, room temperature
- ¾ cup caster sugar, confectioners’ sugar works too, separated
- 1 ¾ cups mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup freshly brewed extra strong coffee or espresso, cooled
- 2 Tablespoons marsala, brandy or rum works too
- 24 ladyfingers
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
- Dust the bottom of an 8x8x3-inch or 9x7x3-inch pan with 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder. Set aside.
- Prepare egg whites: Set a grease-free, metal bowl over a pot filled 2 inches with simmering water. Whisk egg whites and ¼ cup sugar until stiff. Set aside.
- Make mascarpone filling: In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and remaining ½ cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gently fold in the mascarpone, then the egg whites.
- Prepare coffee: Whisk together cooled coffee and marsala (or alcohol of choice).
- Prepare ladyfingers: One at a time, dip the lady fingers in the coffee, about 1 or 2 seconds per side. If the ladyfingers soak in the coffee too long they will fall apart or create a watery tiramisu. Arrange ladyfingers in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. If necessary, break ladyfingers in half to fill any gaps.
- Layer tiramisu: Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the first layer of lady fingers. Repeat once more so there are two layers of ladyfingers and mascarpone (final layer is mascarpone on top).
- Chill tiramisu: Cover the tiramisu dish securely with plastic wrap. Chill 8 to 12 hours or overnight. Before serving, dust with remaining 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.