How to make tiramisu: Recipe

If you are finishing up a big weekend meal and you need a good dessert to bookend the experience, then tiramisu is the ultimate dessert. With this quick and easy recipe, learn how to make homemade tiramisu.

Tiramisu is absolutely delicious, but it can also be quite time consuming.
Tiramisu is absolutely delicious, but it can also be quite time consuming.  © Unsplash/Victoria Aleksandrova

Stuffed to the brim with cream and coffee, the tiramisu is not only a humble and delicious dessert but one that is not too difficult to make.

This beautiful dish is a perfect way to end a family meal, but it can also be an impressive finale to a date-night meal or a fantastic mid-afternoon snack to share with friends.

Fans of Italian food will forever be obsessed with tiramisu, a dessert so close to perfect that it speaks for itself. If you don't know how to make tiramisu, though, fear not! TAG24 is here with our easy and classic tiramisu recipe.

How to make easy and classic tiramisu: Recipe

Is there any dessert more iconic and well-known than the tiramisu? The only one that even comes close is the crème brûlée, to be honest, and it's a lot harder. Luckily, though, despite its iconic status, it is actually a rather straightforward thing to put together a tiramisu, without the need for any particularly fancy gadgets.

Here's the equipment you will need when making a tiramisu:

  • Electric mixer (You can use a whisk, but good luck with that!)
  • 4 large bowls
  • 1 small bowl
  • Baking dish/casserole
  • Measuring equipment
  • Mixing spoons
  • Oven tray
  • Piping bag
  • Baking paper

As you can see, the equipment needed is pretty basic. What we would say, though, is to make sure you use an electric mixer — it'll make the whole process significantly more pleasant.

There are many ingredients and components to a good tiramisu.
There are many ingredients and components to a good tiramisu.  © Unsplash/Eiliv Aceron

Tiramisu recipe | Ingredients

There are a fair few ingredients needed when making tiramisu, especially if you want to make the ladyfingers from scratch. With that in mind, none of them are particularly expensive or fancy. The priciest items will be the coffee and the alcohol, but even there you don't need to go with anything too fancy.

Here are the ingredients for tiramisu:

  • Heavy cream, 2 cups
  • Mascarpone, 10 ounces
  • Sugar, 1/2 cup
  • Vanilla essence, 1 teaspoon
  • Lady fingers, either an entire packet or homemade with the following ingredients:
    • 3 eggs
    • Sugar, 1/4 cup
    • Vanilla essence, 1/4 tsp
    • Flour, 1 cup
    • Pinch of salt
  • Amaretto, 4 tablespoons
  • Espresso coffee, pre-brewed and cooled, 1 cup
  • Cocoa powder

On the proportions: This recipe will make about enough tiramisu to fill your average casserole dish. If you want to make more or less, adjust the quantities proportionally.

Tiramisu recipe | Instructions

This is where the fun begins. Making tiramisu isn't a difficult process, but it does take quite some time on account of its many different components and stages. Luckily for you, other than making your own ladyfingers (which, mind you, is optional), you don't even need to do any "cooking."

Here's how to make our classic, delicious tiramisu recipe

Step 1: The process of making tiramisu starts with baking the ladyfingers. If you decide to buy premade ones from the supermarket, you can skip steps one to five. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Step 2: Having separated your egg yolks and whites, place your yolks as well as half the sugar, all the vanilla, and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Using the mixer or a whisk, beat them until light and a bit fluffy.

Step 3: Put your egg whites in a separate bowl and beat, slowly adding in the rest of the sugar little by little. Continue until thick and sticky, with stiff peaks.

Step 4: Combine the mixtures by simply folding them all together. Sift in your flour and fold until totally combined. Put the mixture into a piping bag.

Step 5: Pipe into strips on your baking paper and dust those strips with a bit more sugar. Cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool before using.

Step 6 (Start here if not making lady fingers): In a mixing bowl, add the cream and start to beat on medium speed with an electric mixer or a whisk. Continue for a few minutes and start to incorporate the sugar and vanilla slowly.

Step 7: Once the sugar and vanilla have all been incorporated and the mixture has stiff peaks similar to whisked egg whites, fold in the mascarpone cheese. Cover in glad wrap and set aside.

Step 8: Take out your freshly made ladyfingers or your packet of store-bought ones. It's time to get them ready for action. Start by brewing your coffee and letting it cool down completely.

Step 9: Mix your amaretto together with your coffee and a teaspoon of sugar (it makes the medicine go down). Now dust the bottom of your casserole dish with a bit of cocoa powder, and get dunking!

Step 10: Dunk each ladyfinger into your coffee-amaretto mixture and line them up on the bottom of the tray. Continue this until the casserole is totally filled on the bottom.

Step 11: Scoop and spread the cream mixture over the top. Then, continue dunking and form a second layer of ladyfingers over the cream. Again, make a second layer of cream to top it all off.

Step 12: Dust the top of the tiramisu with cocoa powder and then refrigerate it for a minimum of four hours to allow the cream to set and everything to settle.

Step 13: Serve with a shot of espresso or a nice liqueur of some kind, maybe limoncello or amaretto. Enjoy!

Now that you have made your family a beautiful tiramisu, it's time to sit down and guzzle it all up. Make it an Italian extravaganza and pair it with a beautiful carbonara or homemade arancini to start.

What is tiramisu?

Tiramisu is the perfect bookend to a nice weekend meal.
Tiramisu is the perfect bookend to a nice weekend meal.  © Unsplash/Marianna OLE

Tiramisu is, simply, an Italian dessert characterized by ladyfingers dipped in coffee and alcohol, with an egg, sugar, and mascarpone cream. The name of the dish means "pick me up" when translated directly from Italian and was first found in cookbooks starting in the 1960s.

It's thought that the dish was originally invented in the restaurant of Ado Campeol, whose Treviso restaurant featured the dish starting in the late 1960s. Since that time, it has become a worldwide phenomenon and one of the most famous desserts ever. It is a staple of Italian restaurants in Italy and all over this great green globe of ours.

The funnest of facts about tiramisu, though, is that there is a rumor it was originally concocted in 19th-century Treviso by a brothel madam who used it as an aphrodisiac. This is unlikely to be true.

What alcohol is in tiramisu?

There are a number of different alcohols commonly used to make tiramisu, and there is no definitive "traditional" liquor to point towards. What you want, of course, is a relatively sweet alcohol that has a bite to it, contrasting the sweetness of the dish with an alcoholic flavor that gives it a tanginess, a burst of sourness, or even a slight bitterness.

Here are the usual alcohols used in most tiramisus:

  • Amaretto
  • Coffee liquor of some kind
  • Marsala wine
  • Dark rum

It's also completely okay to avoid the alcohol in tiramisu. There is even an argument to be made that it is non-traditional, though that is disputed.

Tiramisu is full of alcohol and coffee, which only adds to how delicious it is!
Tiramisu is full of alcohol and coffee, which only adds to how delicious it is!  © Unsplash/Victoria Aleksandrova

Tiramisu is easier than you think

While it can be a time-consuming exercise, tiramisu isn't the hardest thing in the world to make. There are plenty of ways to do it, but at its core, it is simply a creamy cake-like pudding full of coffee, liquor, and sugar. It is beautiful, textured, and full of sweetness, bitterness, and flavor.

So don't worry about the quantity of ingredients and steps, and don't worry about the number of different components involved. It may be complex, but tiramisu is not hard to make. Just follow the instructions in our recipe and you'll be right!

Cover photo: Unsplash/Victoria Aleksandrova

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