This beautiful tiramisu is made of ladyfingers soaked in espresso, a mascarpone cream, and is topped with a generous dusting of cocoa powder. Buon Appetito!
It’s been years since I made tiramisu. I used to make a cheater’s version by using instant vanilla pudding in place of the mascarpone cream, and it was pretty good. Throughout the years though, I’ve had authentic tiramisu (from legit Italian restaurants… not the chain places), and I’ve come to appreciate the classic cream that’s made from mascarpone. We fell in love with a tiramisu from a local restaurant, but sadly, the restaurant closed. No restaurant = no tiramisu.
This year for Mother’s Day, I set out to create a real tiramisu without the vanilla pudding. My biggest dilemma for the tiramisu was the coffee. Being a non-coffee drinker (I know!), I wouldn’t have access to strong coffee. Because I don’t own a coffee maker or coffee beans or grounds, I opted to purchase the coffee for the dessert. I went to a coffee store and asked for help.
Unbeknownst to me, espresso is usually sold by the shot. I asked the barista for her recommendation on what I should order for a little 1 cup of espresso. She told me that if I ordered true espresso, it could cost over $20. Her suggestion was for me to buy some powdered espresso and heat it up with some hot water. I did exactly that, and I spent under $2 for the entire package of espresso powder.
The tiramisu came together pretty quickly, but it really tested our patience because I wanted to let it marinate and chill overnight. We each had a slice after Mother’s Day dinner (we made these pork bao). Although the mascarpone cream was dreamy, the rest of the tiramisu fell a bit flat. I suspect that because I omitted the alcohol, the flavors didn’t come through as much (it’s also possible that my espresso powder didn’t pack the same punch as a freshly brewed espresso).
I wanted to really love this dessert, but the flavors just weren’t there. Most of that was likely my fault for not getting good espresso or using alcohol. But it was still a solid tiramisu, and I am proud of making this from scratch and not with an instant pudding mix!
Husband’s rating: 3.5 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4 out of 5
My rating: 4 out of 5
- 300 grams (about 30) ladyfingers
- 500 grams (about 1.1 pounds or 2 and ¼ cups) mascarpone cheese
- 4 large eggs
- 100 grams (about ½ cups) granulated sugar
- 300 millileters (1 and ¼ cups) strong coffee espresso preferred (I used a powdered espresso and mixed it with hot water)
- 2 Tablespoons rum or marsala I omitted
- unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
- Make the coffee. I don't drink coffee or own a real coffee maker, so I opted to purchase some. I bought some powdered espresso powder and mixed it with hot water. If you like, add rum or marsala and mix well (I opted not to add alcohol since my daughter was going to have some of the dessert). Let the coffee cool down before using.
- Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Place the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer. Save the yolks and place it in a small bowl and set aside.
- Mix the egg whites on high speed until you achieve stiff peaks. This will take anywhere from 3-5 minutes. Gently transfer the whipped egg whites to a large bowl and set aside.
- In the same bowl that you mixed the egg whites in, add the egg yolks and the sugar and mix on high speed until they are pale yellow and thick, about 3-5 minutes.
- In a medium sized bowl, work the mascarpone with a spoon or a rubber/silicone spatula. You want to fold and mix it so it becomes more pliable. Once the mascarpone is smooth and creamy, add it to the bowl with the egg yolks. Switch to the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until well incorporated, about 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the mixer off and add the egg whites back in. Gently fold them into the egg yolk mixture to slowly incorporate. You don't want to deflate the egg white so be very careful to gently fold the egg whites in. Once the egg whites have been mixed in, set this aside.
- I used an approximate 7" x 9" rectangular glass baking pan for my tiramisu. I'd recommend using something with tall sides so you can build up many layers. I don't recommend using anything like a 9" x 12" pan since it will be too big. If you don't have a pan like mine, you can opt for an 8" or 9" square baking pan, or even an oval pan.
- Working very quickly, dip a ladyfinger into the coffee mixture (no more than 1 second) and place it onto the bottom of your pan. Repeat so you form a single layer of ladyfingers on the bottom of the pan.
- Add a layer of mascarpone cream on top of the ladyfingers. Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers and mascarpone cream. You will want to make sure that you end with a layer of mascarpone on top.
- Gently dust the top of the mascarpone with unsweetened cocoa powder. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and preferably overnight.
- Slice and serve.