Classic Tiramisu Recipe

The popular Italian dessert tiramisu is actually pretty simple in composition as it only consists of a layer of ladyfingers dipped in coffee and topped with mascarpone cream. Although these days you'll often see flavored versions such as pumpkin tiramisu recipes or even beer-soaked ones, recipe developer Eric Ngo sticks with a classic rendition. He notes that if you want to flavor the dessert with a little liqueur, "You can add marsala, dark rum, or Kahlúa to the coffee," advising that you "start with a tablespoon and adjust according to your personal preference."

Ngo also explains that there are two common ways to make mascarpone cream. As he tells us, "The traditional method uses egg white to give the cream a lighter texture," but here he opts for what he calls a more "modern version us[ing] whipped cream to create a similar effect." As his recipe still includes raw egg yolks, you may want to stick to using pasteurized eggs.

Gather the ingredients for this tiramisu recipe

One of the most important ingredients in tiramisu is mascarpone, a cheese that Ngo explains has a "high[er] fat content and richer, creamier texture" than cream cheese because it is made with heavy cream rather than milk. You will also need egg yolks, sugar, and heavy cream, plus ladyfingers to make the bottom layer. Cooled coffee or espresso is used to soften and flavor the ladyfingers, and Ngo likes to sprinkle the top of the tiramisu with cacao powder. 

If you are wondering about the difference between cacao and cocoa powder (or if it's possibly a typo), Ngo says that the two ingredients "are not 100% the same, but they are interchangeable for this recipe."

Prepare the mascarpone cream

Start by whisking the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl until they look light and fluffy and are pale in color. Stir in the softened mascarpone until the mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks, then fold it into the mascarpone mix.

Assemble the tiramisu

Dip each ladyfinger into the coffee and then layer it in an 8x5-inch serving dish, ideally 2 inches in height. "Depending on the height of your container," says Ngo, you can make one layer of ladyfinger[s] or more." He does, however, advise to "Be careful not to over-soak [the cookies] as ladyfingers will fall apart."

When all of the ladyfingers are packed in the dish, cover them with mascarpone cream, then smooth out the top to make it look pretty. Ngo suggests doing so "by lightly tapping the container or us[ing] a flat spatula."

Chill the tiramisu then serve

Transfer the tiramisu to the refrigerator and leave it to set for at least 6 hours. Just before you dig in, sprinkle the cacao powder over the top.

Ngo advises that tiramisu is best eaten within a day or two, although it will last up to four days in the fridge. If you can't eat it all within that time frame, you can also wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer. In this case, freeze it before sprinkling on the cacao powder.

Classic Tiramisu Recipe
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Learn how to make a classic tiramisu using a modern method. The contrast between the rich creamy mascarpone and bitter coffee is hard to beat.
Prep Time
Cook Time
piece of tiramisu on plate
Total time: 6 hours, 20 minutes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup mascarpone, softened
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 10 ladyfingers
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with sugar until pale and fluffy.
  2. Mix mascarpone into the egg mixture until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream to form stiff peaks then fold it into the mascarpone mixture.
  4. Dip the ladyfingers into the cold coffee and layer them in an 8x5-inch serving dish that is 2 inches in height.
  5. Cover the ladyfingers with the mascarpone cream and smooth out the top.
  6. Refrigerate the tiramisu for at least 6 hours.
  7. Dust the chilled tiramisu with cacao powder before serving.
Calories per Serving 526
Total Fat 40.7 g
Saturated Fat 23.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 257.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 34.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Total Sugars 15.6 g
Sodium 270.5 mg
Protein 8.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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