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A Traditional Tiramisu Recipe

A Traditional Tiramisu Recipe yields an iconic Italian dessert that gets its subtle flavor profile from both strong coffee and sweet liquor.
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Cooling and Refrigeration: 9 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 35 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: dessert, easy tiramisu, Italian tiramisu recipe, make ahead, make ahead dessert, make tiramisu, no bake dessert, recipe for Italian tiramisu, tiramisu, tiramisu original, traditional tiramisu recipe, what is in tiramisu
Servings: 9 servings
Calories: 356kcal
Cost: $2.71 per serving

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  • 9 x 9-inch baking dish or trifle bowl or springform 9-inch pan
  • pie plate or wide shallow bowl
  • handheld electric mixer
  • double boiler or large metal mixing bowl and medium sized pot that the bowl can rest atop but not in
  • spatula for folding
  • plastic film
  • fine mesh sieve for dusting
  • optional: vegetable peeler for chocolate curls or chocolate shavings


Ingredients for A Traditional Tiramisu Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups Americano or espresso coffee room temperature: I recommend just picking up at a local coffee shop or Starbucks to ensure you've got a good and strong coffee
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sweet Marsala divided
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 24 to 30 ladyfingers
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • fresh fruit to garnish optional
  • semisweet chocolate bar for chocolate curls or shavings optional


The Method

  • Pour coffee into a pie dish or wide shallow bowl with 2 tablespoons of the Marsala. Combine eggs, sugar, and remaining 1/3 cup Marsala in a large double boiler only half full of simmering water or a metal bowl set on top of (but not in) a pot of simmering water. Use an electric hand mixer to beat the eggs until mixture doubles in volume and reaches 160°F on a thermometer. This process may take up to 10 minutes and several tests using an instant read thermometer.
  • Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool slightly. Clean and dry beaters. In another bowl, use the electric mixer to whip heavy cream to form peaks. Set aside.
  • Gently whisk the mascarpone cheese into egg mixture. I find it helps to break up the mascarpone into large spoonful's versus simply emptying the whole container into the egg mixture. Mascarpone with slowly melt as it's whisked in. Fold in the freshly whipped cream.
  • If you're using hard and crunchy ladyfingers similar of hardness to say biscotti, dunk each cookie in the coffee and arrange snuggly side by side in the bottom of the baking dish. If, however, using soft and spongy ladyfingers similar to angel food cake, arrange snuggly side by side in the bottom of the baking dish and use a pastry brush to brush the coffee mixture over each cookie.
  • Evenly spread half of mascarpone cream over the moistened ladyfingers. Dip or brush remaining half of ladyfingers in coffee and repeat layering with cookies and mascarpone cream. 
  • Use a fine mesh sieve to sift a layer of cocoa over the entire top so it infuses the mascarpone cream. Wrap dish with plastic film making sure the plastic does not touch or rest upon the tiramisu. Refrigerate at least 9 hours and up to 1 day. To serve, sift another layer of cocoa over top and cut into squares. Arrange on plates with fruit, chocolate curls, or chocolate shavings if desired.


Make Ahead this recipe must be made ahead by between 9 and 24 hours prior to serving
Serving Suggestions cut pieces with a chef's knife rather than a serrated one, and wipe the blade with a damp towel between slices
Leftover Portions And Storage use plastic film to cover any leftover portions of tiramisu and store under refrigeration up to two days


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 356kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 170mg | Sodium: 92mg | Potassium: 123mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 800IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg

Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.