This Classic Italian Tiramisu features a delicious combination of
mascarpone (Italian cream cheese), ladyfingers, and coffee.
Just recently, my wife and I hosted a murder mystery party. There were 7 of us there, and the game featured an Italian theme. (Who could have killed dear Pepi Roni?) We made a huge plate of spaghetti and meatballs and served chianti from the classic reed-wrapped bottles. Why am I talking about this murder mystery? Well, one of the guests/suspects was named Tara Misu, and ever since that night, I’ve been craving this delicious Italian dessert! Tiramisu is a wonderful combination of mascarpone, ladyfingers, and coffee…and it has long been one of my favorite “fancy” desserts.
It’s no secret that I love Italian food. It’s amazing how such simple ingredients can be combined to create really tasty food. When I was first learning to bake and cook, I remember making homemade pound cakes and overnight coffee cakes like it was my job. But then I decided to start challenging myself a bit more, and I think tiramisu was the first “fancier-style dessert” that I learned to make. And I’ve been making it ever since! You’ll notice in the pictures that I like to serve this dessert in martini glasses. It’s fun and festive, and everyone gets their own glass. Tiramisu is traditionally made in a square or rectangular dish by layering the coffee-soaked ladyfingers with the mascarpone cream. You could certainly use this recipe and make it in that form…I just find the martini glasses so much more fun!
Classic Italian Tiramisu
One of the keys to making delicious tiramisu is strongly-brewed coffee. While coffee is not the central flavor in tiramisu, it is a supporting flavor (is that an actual term?), and this dessert would not be the same with weak coffee! When making tiramisu, I use either espresso or a strongly roasted drip coffee.
Tiramisu is not difficult to make at all, and it’s a great dessert to serve at a dinner party or on a special occasion. (If you don’t have a special occasion, then just make one up…this tiramisu is that good!) Plus, tiramisu should be refrigerated overnight, so it really is the perfect dessert for a dinner party because all you need to do is pull it out and dust it with cocoa powder before serving. For an added touch of Italian authenticity, serve this tiramisu with a shot of espresso (not cappuccino…those are reserved for the morning).
I use store-bought ladyfingers when making this Classic Italian Tiramisu. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could certainly make your own…but I usually opt for the easier route. You should be able to find ladyfingers in either the bakery or grocery section at your local market. Finally, it’s important to include a food safety note here. This Classic Italian Tiramisu is never actually cooked, so make sure to use fresh, unbroken, grade A or AA eggs and keep the eggs refrigerated. (Don’t let this scare you. Tiramisu is served quite frequently in Italy, and plenty of other common foods include raw eggs. I’m just saying use common sense and be safe! Another option is using fully pasteurized eggs, but I haven’t tried that myself yet.)
Looking for other fun tiramisu desserts? Check out these recipes!
Classic Italian Tiramisu
- 5 egg yolks
- 5 Tbsp sugar divided
- 4 tsp dark rum
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese room temperature
- 3 egg whites
- ⅓ cup heavy cream whipped
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 12 ladyfingers store-bought or homemade and split in half length-wise
- 1 cup strongly brewed coffee cooled
- cocoa powder for garnish
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 3 Tbsp of sugar until light yellow in color (~2-3 minutes). Add rum and mix until fully combined. Add the marcarpone and mix until combined. (Note: The mixture should be smooth at this stage, but take care not to overbeat.) Set aside.
- In a separate medium bowl, beat the egg whites with remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar until stiff peaks form. (see note below).
- Fold the whipped cream, lemon juice, and vanilla into the beaten egg whites. Then fold the egg white mixture into the mascarpone mixture. Set aside.
- Pour the coffee into a shallow bowl; separate each ladyfinger into two halves. Working with one half-ladyfinger at a time, dip it into the coffee until fully saturated. Place four ladyfingers in each martini glass; fill each glass with 1/2 cup of the mascarpone cream. Cover glasses with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Dust with cocoa powder just before serving; serve chilled.
Disclosure: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters supplied two bags of Dark Magic Espresso Blend coffee for this Classic Italian Tiramisu post, however the recipe and content are entirely my own.