Tiramisu is a timeless no-bake Italian dessert combining espresso-dipped ladyfingers and a creamy lightly sweetened mascarpone cream.
This tiramisu recipe is one of our absolute favorite desserts. Espresso soaked ladyfingers are layered with a light and airy filling made from mascarpone cheese, egg yolks and cream. It is simple to make, you just need a little time.
How to Make Tiramisu at Home
Tiramisu is an Italian dessert made with layers of coffee soaked ladyfingers (Italian biscuits with a dry spongelike texture) and cream. Look for Italian ladyfingers (or Savoiardi). They are quite hard and often have a sugary top. Not to worry, though — they soften as the tiramisu sits.
To make tiramisu, you are looking at 5 simple steps (the detailed recipe is below):
- Make a creamy filling of egg yolks, Marsala wine and sugar. A hand-held mixer makes this step extra easy.
- Fold mascarpone cheese into the creamy, whipped filling. (Mascarpone is similar to plain cream cheese.)
- Finish the creamy layer by folding in whipped heavy cream or whipped egg whites (see our FAQs below).
- Assemble the tiramisu by layering the creamy filling between ladyfingers that have been dipped into strong coffee and Marsala.
- Refrigerate at least 6 hours before enjoying to allow the ladyfingers to soak up all the flavors of the creamy filling, coffee, and wine.
It is so important that you wait at least 6 hours before serving. In fact, it can be kept refrigerated 1 to 2 days and still be delicious.
Do I have to use raw egg whites to make tiramisu?
Look around for tiramisu recipes and you’ll notice there are two common ways to make it: with beaten raw egg whites or with whipped cream. Both are delicious, we promise.
The decision is completely up to you (we’ve included directions for both below). They taste very similar. If anything, tiramisu made with egg whites is a little lighter than one made with cream.
The decision comes down to whether or not you’re comfortable with adding raw egg whites to the dish. We’ve never had a problem with this, but if you’re concerned, make sure you use the freshest (and highest quality) eggs possible. Using pasteurized eggs is also a good option.
If you are not interested in using egg whites, you can make the tiramisu with cream instead. It really is just as delicious.
Why do you whisk the egg yolks over simmering water?
The base of our creamy filling is egg yolks — they are pretty important for authentic tiramisu. The yolks are gently cooked while being whisked with sugar and Marsala wine over gently simmering water. This step also ensures that the egg yolks turn into a creamy thickened mixture, which is what makes tiramisu so incredibly dreamy.
While it is possible to substitute the egg whites called for in our recipe below, we do not recommend that you remove the egg yolks.
Can tiramisu be made non-alcoholic? Can I substitute the Marsala wine?
While Marsala wine is traditional in tiramisu, you can absolutely make a perfectly delicious dessert without it. If you are okay with using alcohol, you can substitute the wine for dark rum, brandy or coffee flavored liqueur. Since Marsala is less potent than something like live sex cams rum, we suggest using about half the amount.
For a non-alcoholic version, leave the Marsala out of the recipe all together. You can simply eliminate it or use rum extract — we recommend using 1 1/2 tablespoons of rum extract.
Can I make tiramisu ahead of time? Can it be frozen?
For the best results, tiramisu needs at least 6 hours in the fridge before serving. This time allows the ladyfingers a chance to soak up flavor and moisture from the coffee, wine and filling. You can make tiramisu 1 to 2 days in advance, just keep it refrigerated until you are ready to serve.
As for freezing tiramisu, we have never tried it ourselves, but we think you should be just fine! Make sure it is well wrapped in the freezer and then thaw overnight before enjoying. To freshen up the look before serving, add a bit more chocolate on top.