Tiramisu is one of the most famous Italian desserts. Tiramisu literally means “pick me up”, and it’s true – no doubt that tasting this lovely dessert will cheer you up.

For me, Tiramisu is the iconic example of how to make the most out of a dessert. The bitter-strong coffee with the tender mascarpone cream, last but not least dusted with the bitter-strong cocoa powder makes such a contrast that could seduce anyone.

It’s important to use high quality ingredients to make your Tiramisu perfect. In order to achieve the harmony of flavors, first of all you’ll need a quality coffee and cocoa; choose a strong espresso coffee, and a quality cocoa powder.

Is There An Authentic Tiramisu Recipe?

As its origin is unclear, there’s no original or authentic Tiramisu recipe. Unfortunately many poor attempts can be found worldwide, especially outside Italy.

If you check Italian verions of Tiramisu, you’ll most frequently find this version of Tiramisu that I share with you below. As per the source of my recipe, I used my favorite Italian cooking blog, named yellow saffron (Giallo Zafferano). My recipe is a bit different though, as I prefer creamy Tiramisu, so I used less ladyfingers.

The base is ladyfingers dipped in strong coffee. The trick here is to get the right ratio. Use too much coffee, you’ll tiramisu will be soggy. Use too little, and you’ll get a very dry dessert, unfortunately the kind that you get served a tiramisu most of the times outside Italy.

The cream is the other most important part of this recipe. There are several variations, but mascarpone is always the base. A lot of English recipes use heavy cream, but I find that’s hardly ever the case in Italy. They use eggs instead, the yolks giving the creaminess and the whites the fluffiness.

Two Most Frequent Questions Regarding To My Ingredients

  1. If you’re afraid of using raw eggs, you can beat the egg yolks over a double boiler.
  2. No, alcohol is not a mandatory ingredient of tiramisu. Some add some good quality liqueur to the coffee, some don’t.

Fresh Tiramisu Is Not Good

The interesting thing regarding tiramisu is that it is not as good fresh as one day later.

Once I asked the waitress in a restaurant whether they had tiramisu, and she said they had very good one made fresh a couple of hours before. This way I knew it wasn’t the real Italian type of tiramisu.

I know it sounds counterintuitive, but this dessert has to rest for a day. The cream is too fluffy, it has to literally collapse a bit. The flavors are just too separate, they need to know each other better. Believe me, prepare your tiramisu the day before you serve it, and everyone will love it!



Balazs Szilagyi
The best Italian dessert. Period.
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings


  • 2 cups mascarpone (500 g)
  • 2/3 cup (120 g) granulated sugar + add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the coffee
  • approx. 200 ml (1 cup) Espresso
  • bitter cocoa powder
  • 300 g (10 oz) ladyfinger cookies


  • Make a strong espresso coffee. Pour it into a bowl or plate, add two tablespoons of sugar and let it cool to room temperature.
    Coffee dipping for tiramisu
  • Separate yolks and whites. Beat the yolks with half the amount of sugar until fluffy and pale in color, for approx. 5 minutes.
  • Add the mascarpone and whisk it until it’s light and fluffy.
  • Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the remaining half of the sugar afterwards, and continue beating for at least a minute to get a glossy and stable foam.
    Beaten egg whites for tiramisu
  • Add a small amount of the whites to the mascarpone cream and whisk it. Fold in the rest gently.
  • Dip half of the ladyfingers one by one into the coffee mixture just to moisten them, and line the bottom of a container with them. I find around 2-3 seconds is the perfect dipping time.
    Tiramisu ladyfingers
  • Spread half the amount of your cream over the ladyfingers evenly.
    Tiramisu recipe 4
  • Optional: Sprinkle some cocoa powder over the top using a fine-mesh sieve.
    Tiramisu recipe 5
  • Make a second layer the same way; ladyfingers dipped in coffee and the remaining tiramisu cream.
  • Sprinkle the top with cocoa powder. Cover with plastic wrap or lid, making sure it does not touch the cocoa, and put it into the fridge. Let it rest for at least two hours – in my opinion it’s even better if you make it the day before.
    Tiramisu in container
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