Classic Tiramisu

Tiramisu is a rich and delicious classic Italian dessert.  Creamy and boozy with a bit of chocolate flavor, this no-bake dessert is the perfect end to your dinner.

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If I’m at a restaurant that serves tiramisu, no matter how full I am, there WILL be dessert ordered. For me, its like jello.  There is always room for tiramisu.

A Classic Italian dessert of Classic Tiramisu. Espresso and Kahlua soaked ladyfingers layered with an eggy, sweet, mascarpone cream and dusted with cocoa powder.

I enjoyed tiramisu that had a strong chocolate flavor, some had a heavy liquor taste.  A few had more of a light, airy, eggy flavor to them. And they were all delicious.

What I’ve discovered eating this classic Italian dessert in several countries and all over the US, is that I prefer the simple, classic recipe.  Heavy on the coffee flavor, a bit of a boozy bite, and a rich, creamy mascarpone layer. Oh, and dusted with cocoa powder. That’s important too.

This recipe has become my favorite and something that I enjoy making for my family and friends – often.  Did I say that it’s also no-bake and ready in about 30 minutes? Well, 30 minutes plus at least 6 tortuous hours to allow it to chill.  That’s the difficult part of this recipe – the waiting.


Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert that’s made from coffee-soaked sponge cake layered with creamy, sweet mascarpone cheese sabayon.  Roughly translated, tiramisu means “pick me up” or “cheer me up”.


  • Use really fresh eggs and mascarpone cheese for this recipe.  If they are close to their expiration date, your tiramisu may not set up as well.  
  • The eggs and the mascarpone cheese should be at room temperature when you start the dish.  They will incorporate better, becoming silky smooth.
  • The heavy cream, however, should be ice cold.  If at all possible, chill your mixer bowl and beater as well.  Your cream will whip up a bit faster.
  • Use a large spatula or spoon to fold the whipped cream into the egg and mascarpone mixture.  You want as much of the air from the whipped cream to remain in the mascarpone mixture to keep it light and airy.
  • Ladyfingers, or Savoiardi, are crunchy, light sponge cookies.  Be sure to use the crunchy ladyfingers. The spongy, soft ones will dissolve into your espresso.  If you can’t find Savoiardi, you could also use sponge cake, angel food cake, or pound cake. Just be sure to slice the cake into fingers, like a Savoiardi.
  • If you don’t want to use liquor in the dessert, it can be omitted.  Increase the amount of espresso and y,ou may also want to sweeten the espresso to your taste as well.  The coffee liquor is sweet, so you’ll want to replace that. A Classic Italian dessert of Classic Tiramisu. Espresso and Kahlua soaked ladyfingers layered with an eggy, sweet, mascarpone cream and dusted with cocoa powder.


Looking to make an entire, delicious Italian meal?  Try this recipe for Classic Caprese Salad for starters.  Then for your main course, Cabernet Braised Beef Short Ribs, with a side of Lemon Parmesan Roasted Asparagus and Basic Biryani Rice.  Enjoy!

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This classic Italian dessert is a favorite of most people.  Cool, creamy, a little bit boozy, and ready in less than 30 minutes.



6 large egg yolks, room temperature

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cup mascarpone cheese – room temperature

2 cups heavy whipping cream, ice-cold

27 oz packages Italian Ladyfingers (Savoiardi)

1 cup cold espresso

1/2 cup coffee-flavored liqueur

Cocoa powder for dusting 


In the bowl of a stand mixer bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved and the egg yolks are lemon yellow, smooth, and thickened- about 5 minutes.  Stir in the vanilla.

Add the mascarpone to the egg yolks and beat until fully combined.  Set aside

In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream, slowly but gently increasing the speed, until stiff peaks form.  This will take 10 minutes. Don’t overwhip the cream. We don’t want butter.

Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone/egg mixture.  Set aside.

In a shallow bowl or dish, stir together the espresso and coffee liquor.

Gather a 9-inch square baking dish or casserole and set aside close to your coffee mixture.

Dip each ladyfinger into the coffee mixture just long enough to get them wet, but not long enough that the dissolve.  A second or two for each cookie is enough.

Arrange the ladyfingers in the bottom of the baking dish.

Spoon half of the cream mixture over the ladyfingers, using an offset spatula to spread the cream evenly over the ladyfingers

Repeat the process with the remaining ladyfingers and cream.

Use a fine-mesh sieve to dust cocoa powder all over the top of the dessert.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: classic Italian dessert, classic desserts, easy dessert recipes, no-bake desserts, boozy desserts

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