This tiramisu recipe is my absolute favorite and is so decadent! If you are looking for an authentic tiramisu recipe – then this is it!
If you asked me to list my 3 favorite desserts, tiramisu would absolutely be #1 or #2 (it's a close tie with creme brulee). If we are at a restaurant and tiramisu is on the dessert menu, I am going to order it, even if I wasn't originally in the mood for dessert! For a quick dash of the taste, I will make my tiramisu dip recipe, but more often, I want the real thing!
Because it is my favorite, I am really picky about it and insist that it be an authentic tiramisu recipe. The ladyfingers need to have been soaked in the espresso, but not too much. The tiramisu has to have been allowed to sit in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (preferably overnight) to allow for the flavors to blend.
Because nothing is worse than a tiramisu where the ladyfingers were just “brushed” with the espresso and then it was served immediately. It ends up tasting more like a trifle and doesn't have that fabulous flavor! (well – starving kids in Africa and the Flint water crisis are worse….but you know what I mean!)
When choosing a dish to make the tiramisu, I like to use a glass dish so you can see the layers. It also helps to arrange the ladyfingers in the bottom of the dish before you start assembling it. If you need to cut them to fit, it's much easier to do this beforehand.
I prefer a deeper tiramisu, so I use a smaller, deeper dish. If you like more ladyfingers and less filling in between the layers, you can use a wider, shallower dish and add more ladyfingers in your layers. To assemble the tiramisu, I like to set up an assembly line. The assembly goes very quickly, so it helps to have everything ready.
When folding the whipped cream and custard together, fold from the bottom to the top. At first, it won't look like it's going to come together, but just keep going until it does. Don't try to rush this step by stirring it or you'll deflate the whipped cream.
When making the whipped cream, be sure that your bowl and the cream are very cold. Be sure to check out my homemade whipped cream recipe for more tips for making the perfect whipped cream!
When making the custard, be sure to use a glass bowl that fits inside the pot without going too deep. When you fill the pot with water, you don't want it to touch the bottom of the bowl.
Although we use marsala in both the coffee mixture and the custard, it's very mild in the finished dessert. If you like a stronger Marsala flavor, you can add more to coffee mixture (I usually do).
- 4 egg yolks (use extra-large eggs)
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
- 8-ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup very strong brewed coffee or espresso
- 4 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine
- 20 - 24 Savoiardi or Ladyfinger biscuits
- Cocoa powder or grated chocolate for the top
- Place a deep metal bowl in the freezer to get cold. You'll use this to make the whipped cream.
- Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of marsala wine to the hot coffee, whisk to dissolve the sugar, and set aside to cool.
- In a large, heat-proof glass bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and ½ cup of sugar until smooth and pale yellow in color. This should take 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of marsala and whisk to combine.
- Place a large pot over high heat and fill it with water. (see notes below)
- Bring the water to a full boil' and place the bowl with the egg yolk mixture on top of the pot.
- Turn the heat down to low and start whisking. Continue to whisk for 10 to 12 minutes or until the custard is smooth, glossy, and slightly thickened. Don't rush this step. Remove the custard from the heat and set it aside to cool.
- While the custard is cooling, add the heavy whipping cream to the metal bowl you put in the freezer. Use a hand mixer and whip the cream until stiff peaks form. You'll know it is done when the mixture is very thick and you can scoop it up onto the end of the beaters without it falling off.
- Add the mascarpone cheese to a bowl and whisk it to soften it up.
- Add the custard to thde mascarpone cheese and whisk until completely smooth.
- Add the whipped cream into the bowl with the custard and mascarpone cheese mixture. Using a large, flexible spatula, gently fold the custard and whipped cream together until they are thoroughly combined. (see notes below)
- When the tiramisu filling has come together, place it in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble.
- Pour the cold coffee into a bowl wide enough to easily dip the ladyfingers. Working quickly and with one lady finger at a time, dip each cookie into the coffee mixture and quickly flip it 5 to 6 times. Don't soak it too long or it will fall apart in the coffee.
- Place the soaked ladyfinger into the bottom of a dish approximately 8" x 10" wide. Continue this process until the bottom is covered.
- Spread half of the custard on top of the ladyfingers, until it completely covers the top.
- Top the custard with another layer of soaked ladyfingers, and then spread the remaining custard on top.
- Cover the tiramisu and refrigerate for no less than eight hours, preferably overnight.
- When ready to serve, dust the top with cocoa powder or finely grated chocolate.