Monday, January 16, 2012

The Delightful Tiramisu

Tiramisu (for those who don't know) is an Italian trifle made with Savoiardi (lady finger biscuits) soaked in coffee and liquor, layered with a heavenly rich, but light custard.
As a general rule, I do not like trifle.  Apparently this is not the case when it's Italian trifle.  It must be the combination of the lady finger biscuits and liquor, and of course the decadence of the Mascarpone cheese. 

This recipe was adapted from the one that is in the George Brown College Northern Italian Cuisine manual.

You’re going to need a few mixing bowls for this - one for the egg whites, one for combining the egg yolks and sugar and one for the mascarpone cheese. 
I like to do the mixing by hand.  It does require some arm and shoulder stamina, but I prefer the control that you get when mixing by hand..I find that it helps with determining the right consistency for each step (and it has the added benefit of burning off some calories, which you are guaranteed to consume when you eat this dessert). 

A couple of my Tiramisu tips:
-Take the eggs out of the fridge a couple of hours before you want to make this....they need to be room temperature
-This dessert requires some planning as it does have to be refrigerated overnight
-This version of Tiramisu does contain raw eggs...if you would rather the eggs be cooked, please see the modification at the bottom of this post


450 g (1 tub) mascarpone cheese
6 eggs
6 tsbp sugar
1 pkg Savoiardi (lady fingers biscuits)
6 oz Kahlua (or other coffee liquor)
3/4 cup espresso coffee
1 vanilla bean
Cocoa powder (for dusting)

(1) Have a pan (about 12" x 10" x 2.5" deep) ready for assembling the Tiramisu (I used a foil pan...)
(2) Empty mascarpone Cheese into a mixing bowl;  Mix vigorously by hand with a spatula until mascarpone is smooth (like spreadable cream cheese); Set aside
(3) Combine espresso and Kahlua together in a bowl (wide enough to dip the length of the biscuits in); set aside
(4) Separate the eggs, placing the egg whites into one mixing bowl and the eggs yokes into another
(5) Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and pale

Egg Yolks and Sugar
(6) Slice vanilla bean down the center and scrap insides of vanilla bean out with the back of a knife; mix into egg yolk mixture until just combined
***placing the husk of the vanilla bean into a jar of white sugar infuses the sugar with a lovely vanilla flavour/scent which can then be used for baking, sweetening coffee etc...
(7) Whip the egg whites until they double in volume and form stiff peaks
Tips for whisking egg whites:
-make sure the egg whites are at room temperature
-use a dry, clean bowl
-make sure whisk is very clean
-whip with a loose shoulder and wrist
-sometimes it helps to put the bowl at an angle.

Egg Whites

(8) Combine egg yolk mixture with the mascarpone cheese a little at a time until just blended
(9) Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk/Mascarpone mixture a little at a time until just incorporated
***don't over mix*** (it's okay if it's a little lumpy)

Egg Yolk/Mascarpone/Egg White mixture...
(1) Dip the cookies in the espresso/Kahlua mixture
-Don't soak them...Quickly dip each side of biscuit in the liquid mixture and then flick off excess liquid.
(2) Layer the biscuits into the pan, covering the entire bottom of the pan (cutting the cookies as required to cover the entire bottom of pan)
(3) Spread about 1/2 of the custard mixture over the biscuits
***At this point, drop the pan from about 2 inches in the air, 2-3 times to release any air bubbles
(4) Dip and cover the custard layer with a second layer of biscuits.  Position the cookies the opposite way of the first layer (i.e. If you placed the first layer horizontally, then position second layer of biscuits vertically)

Second layer of biscuits over first layer of custard
(5) Spread the remainder of the Custard over the second layer of cookies
***Again, Drop the pan from about 2 inches in the air 2-3 times to release any air bubbles
(6) Refrigerate overnight. 
(7) Before serving, sprinkle with cocoa power

I was sending this one to my Aunt's house...but of course I had to try it first to make sure it was okay.....
*** if raw eggs freak you out ***
-Step 3 - whisk egg yolks and sugar over a pot of boiling water until they turn pale, but use 8 egg yolks instead of 6 (you must whisk continuously, otherwise you'll end up with scrambled eggs)
-Step 4 - replace the egg whites with 300-350 ml of 35% whipping cream and whip until stiff.  Replace egg whites with whipped cream in step 6 above and gently fold into the egg yolk/mascarpone mixture

Happy Cooking!


  1. This post was very informative and a great tutorial. I have never made Tiramisu but have seen several posts out there of this dessert. Your post by far is the most thorough I have seen. Definitely the one I will be using when I do make this dessert. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the kind words! I'd love to know how it turns out when you get a chance to try it out...

  2. Your post and its tutorial are really great. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took some time to browse through your earlier posts. I'm si glad I did that. You've created a great spot to visit and I really enjoyed the time I spent here. I'll be back to learn more. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback. I really appreciate it. Have a great day!

  3. You've done an excellent job of step by step instructions. Thanks.

  4. You make tiramisu sound like a simple and effective dessert with delicious results - thanks for the pictorial and you have a wonderful blog!

    Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself
    Latest: No Bake Fudgy Fridge Biscuits

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. Have a great day!

  5. I love tiramisu! It's one of the dessert i prefer, and i love baking it! I've done it a lot of times since I was a kid, and i've never got bored of it!


  6. Hi, I rarely eat desserts, but tiramitsu is one of the dessert that I love!!!
    I have quite few recipes, but this one looks like a winner... all the good step that you teach us, and mixing with beaten egg white is a great idea to follow, Thanks, I am going to give it a try,I will follow this blog.
    My blog is "ilibili's kitchen" at google blogs (easy to find)
    Thanks, ilibili

  7. I found that using all 6 egg whites to fold in made the custard a little runny.... I would personally use only 2-3 next time. Other than that, great recipe!!!