The Original Tiramisu Recipe Has No Heavy Cream Or Marsala

If we're being completely honest, tiramisu is not very easy to make. Not everyone has mascarpone on hand, or heavy cream, or marsala wine for that matter. In fact, these ingredients are often purchased for the sole purpose of making the classic Italian dessert. But what if we told you tiramisu used to be simpler? If you take a look at the history of the dish, you'll find that it was inspired by an egg yolk drink called sbatudin, which was at times mixed with coffee and served with biscuits. Tiramisu may have developed from this simple concoction when chefs in Treviso combined it with mascarpone and coffee-soaked ladyfingers. Alba di Pillo-Campeol, wife of restaurateur Ado Campeol, and pastry chef Roberto Loli Linguanotto experimented with several different cheeses and creams until they found that mascarpone gave them the perfect texture they were looking for.

The Campeols featured tiramisu on the menu at their restaurant, Le Beccherie, in 1972. The original recipe included the main star of the show, mascarpone cheese, but it didn't have any heavy cream or marsala wine. The creamy component is instead made by whipping lots of egg yolks with sugar and incorporating mascarpone cheese. The consistency becomes thick and pasty without the need for heavy whipping cream. The bready part is simpler, too: You only need espresso for dipping, no marsala, Madeira, or coffee liqueur, as many modern recipes call for. This makes for a simple yet delicious tiramisu.

Norma Pielli's 1959 tiramisu also only uses eggs, sugar, and mascarpone

It's widely agreed upon that tiramisu was invented by Campeol and Linguanotto in their restaurant, Le Beccherie. In fact, their original tiramisu recipe has been certified by the Italian Academy of Cuisine. However, even with much acclaim, there has been debate about the origins of this dish, and some say it came not from sbatudin but another dish entirely: dolce Torino. Norma Pielli and Giussepe "Beppino" Del Fabbro had records of a "tirimu su" recipe from 1959, over a decade prior to Le Beccherie's debut of the dish.

Pielli was attempting to make dolce Torino, which is a cake made from (you guessed it) eggs and sugar; the difference is that she used the whole egg. The cream part of this cake is traditionally made from eggs, sugar, and butter, but Pielli replaced the butter with mascarpone. Layering the cream with coffee-soaked ladyfingers, Pielli felt that her cake was the original tiramisu, and some still agree. Regardless of which early iteration tiramisu recipe you want to follow, you'll find that both have straightforward creams made from eggs, sugar, and mascarpone. Pielli's tiramisu also had no liqueur, so both Le Beccherie's and Pielli's recipes are alcohol-free, cream-free, and simply delicious.