Tiramisu, an Iconic Italian Dessert

Tiramisu dessert and coffee on stone table. Top view
Copyright: karandaev

Tiramisu, an iconic Italian dessert, is a harmonious blend of rich mascarpone cheese, coffee-soaked ladyfingers, and a dusting of cocoa powder. This classic recipe for tiramisu will serve six people, making it an ideal choice for a small gathering or a delightful family dessert. Follow these step-by-step instructions to create a decadent and authentic tiramisu that will transport your taste buds to Italy.

Serves 6.


For the Mascarpone Filling:

  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) mascarpone cheese
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Assembling the Tiramisu:

  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
  • 3 tablespoons coffee liqueur (optional)
  • 24 to 30 ladyfingers (savoiardi)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
  • Dark chocolate shavings or cocoa powder (optional, for garnish)


  • 8×8-inch (20×20 cm) square or a similar-sized glass or ceramic dish
  • Mixing bowls
  • Electric mixer
  • Fine-mesh sieve or sifter
  • Plastic wrap
  • Refrigerator


1. Brew and Prepare Coffee:

  • Begin by brewing a cup of strong coffee. You can use an espresso machine, a moka pot, or even instant espresso, depending on your preference. Allow the coffee to cool completely. If desired, add the coffee liqueur for an extra layer of flavor.

2. Prepare the Mascarpone Filling:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese, egg yolks, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the mixture until it becomes smooth and creamy. Ensure that there are no lumps, and the mixture is well combined. Set it aside.

3. Assemble the Tiramisu:

  • Take your 8×8-inch dish and pour a small amount of the mascarpone filling into the bottom, spreading it evenly to create a thin layer. This layer helps anchor the ladyfingers and adds a creamy base.

4. Soak the Ladyfingers:

  • One at a time, briefly dip each ladyfinger into the cooled coffee mixture. Make sure not to soak them for too long, as they can become overly soggy. A quick dip of about 1-2 seconds per side is sufficient. Arrange the dipped ladyfingers in a single layer over the mascarpone layer in your dish.

5. Layer the Mascarpone and Ladyfingers:

  • Spread half of the remaining mascarpone filling over the first layer of ladyfingers.
  • Create another layer of coffee-soaked ladyfingers on top of the mascarpone filling.

6. Continue Layering:

  • Add the remaining mascarpone filling on top of the second layer of ladyfingers.

7. Chill the Tiramisu:

  • Cover the dish with plastic wrap, ensuring it touches the surface of the tiramisu to prevent a skin from forming.
  • Refrigerate the tiramisu for at least 4 hours, but overnight is best. This resting time allows the flavors to meld and the dessert to set.

8. Dust with Cocoa Powder:

  • Just before serving, remove the tiramisu from the refrigerator.
  • Using a fine-mesh sieve or sifter, dust the top of the tiramisu generously with unsweetened cocoa powder. You can adjust the amount of cocoa powder to your liking.

9. Garnish (Optional):

  • For an extra touch of decadence, you can garnish the tiramisu with dark chocolate shavings or additional cocoa powder.

10. Serve:

  • Slice and serve the tiramisu directly from the dish. Use a sharp knife or a spatula to get clean portions that showcase the layers of creamy mascarpone and coffee-soaked ladyfingers.

Tips and Variations:

  • If you prefer a non-alcoholic version, you can omit the coffee liqueur from the recipe.
  • To enhance the flavor, you can add a touch of unsweetened cocoa powder to the mascarpone filling.
  • Customize the sweetness of the tiramisu by adjusting the amount of sugar in the mascarpone filling. Taste the mixture as you go to achieve your preferred level of sweetness.
  • Tiramisu can be served in individual glasses or dessert cups for a stylish presentation.

This classic tiramisu recipe serves six people and is a delightful and authentic Italian dessert. With layers of creamy mascarpone and coffee-soaked ladyfingers, it offers a perfect balance of flavors and textures. Whether you’re serving it at a small gathering or a family dinner, this homemade tiramisu is sure to impress and transport your taste buds to the heart of Italy. Enjoy the luxurious flavors and savor the experience of making this beloved dessert from scratch.

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