Instant Pudding Is Your Secret Weapon For Easy Tiramisu

When you picture the perfect serving of tiramisu, chances are, you imagine layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers, rich mascarpone cream, and a generous dusting of cocoa powder — all slightly chilled. As decadent as it is, the classic Italian dessert maintains a fluffy lightness that makes it easy to scoop into and hard to resist.

Some versions add a boozy kick to the coffee with Marsala wine, rum, or amaretto; some flavor the custard with chocolate. But while the particulars may fluctuate from recipe to recipe, the basic components are universal: spongy cookies and cream.

It may sound simple enough to DIY, given the fact that it also requires no baking. But preparing a tiramisu for dessert can be quite time-consuming, especially when it comes to nailing the creamy layer. Traditionally, the treat calls for a custard base made with raw egg yolks and sugar, which is ultimately mixed with mascarpone. Some recipes also include the addition of heavy whipping cream or egg whites. Whisking and whisking until you've achieved the ideal consistency takes a while, and there's a chance of over-mixing, which could result in a clumpy, grainy mess.

If you're in a pinch, however, there is a shortcut for creating the perfect custard cream in a snap — all it requires is a box of instant pudding.

Use instant pudding for the custardy base

The nostalgic, store-bought staple is used in plenty of iconic desserts, including Magnolia Bakery's beloved banana pudding. And now, it can be your secret ingredient for an easy and delicious tiramisu.

Whether you want to save your arm from the workout of whisking yolks or would just prefer not to include raw eggs in your no-bake treat, instant pudding can be swapped in as an alternative to the eggy custard base. You can certainly get creative and use any flavor you like, but vanilla is the go-to for that classic taste, and all you need is one 3.5-ounce package.

Once you combine the pudding with other key ingredients — including heavy cream, powdered sugar, and, of course, the all-important mascarpone — you'll have a rich and fluffy mixture to spread over each layer of coffee-soaked ladyfingers. Sprinkle the top with cocoa powder and pop it all in the fridge until the cookies have absorbed all the liquid and the cream is set. When you serve it, no one will know you used this simple trick — but you'll probably get asked for the recipe.