Jamie Oliver's Untraditional Twist For Perfect Tiramisu

Tiramisu is one of the most beloved Italian desserts. With its layers of mascarpone cheese, coffee-soaked ladyfingers, and a dusting of cocoa powder, what's not to like? While there's debate over tiramisu's beginnings, with some believing it debuted in the 1800s as a treat served to those who frequented brothels and others thinking it's a more modern concoction, tiramisu lives up to its name, which means "pick me up."

Chef Jamie Oliver has shared one way to make this dessert a bit lighter and fluffier than many of the other tiramisu recipes and it all comes down to how he handles the eggs in the dish. Many versions of this dish involve whole eggs or egg yolks, but Oliver surprised Italian food devotees with the confession that he sometimes just uses egg whites, which produce a fluffier and less rich version of this classic dessert. 

Not everyone may agree about revising the way tiramisu is made this way, but Oliver loves using egg whites. "They make it lovely and light, and spread the mascarpone about so it's not so rich," Oliver said, according to his website.

How to use the egg whites

To use only egg whites in your tiramisu, you would add them in place of egg yolks or whole eggs when making the mascarpone cream filling. Whip the egg whites with the sugar until they become fluffy and form stiff peaks. Then you delicately fold the mascarpone cheese into the whipped mixture. If you prefer to go the traditional route for your tiramisu, you can still get some of the lightness in your tiramisu by whipping the egg whites separately and folding them into a mixture of the yolks, sugar, and mascarpone.

Oliver has found other ways to play with the traditional tiramisu recipe as well. He even has an option for those who are a bit wary of using raw eggs — whites or whole — in a dish. In his Christmas version of the tiramisu, he skips the eggs altogether and uses ricotta cheese alongside the mascarpone for the filling. Oliver also adds honey and orange zest to this take on tiramisu. In addition, he has a version of tiramisu that's more chocolate focused, which uses chocolate sponge cake in place of ladyfingers and adds chocolate shavings on top. 

Oliver also varies what alcohol is included in this dish, using Tia Maria, a coffee liqueur, Vin Santo, an Italian dessert wine, or sweet sherry.