Tiramisu Recipe - David Lebovitz (2024)


Tiramisu Recipe - David Lebovitz (1)

Although I’ve often been critical of the French trend towards putting food in silly little glasses, called verrines, once again, I find myself eating my words around here.

On a recent trip to Ikea (I know…I know what I said…) I saw these great little glass candle holders and thought they’d be perfect for servings of something…like, say…individual portions of Tiramisu. Which are great for those of you, if you’re anything like me, who will forage around their apartment all all hours, desperately searching for something to eat. I am like an aspirateur for food and will eat anything, but have a strong preference lately for this chocolate spread I bought in Nice with bits of caramelized pears in it, crunchy organic peanut butter, and Chex party mix.

(Oh great, another thing I need to add to my ever-expanding shopping list for my trip to the states next week…)

But if something is individually-portioned, it keeps how much I’m going to eat in check.

Tiramisu Recipe - David Lebovitz (2)

The other great thing about individual portions is that there are no serving “issues”.

No messy digging around in the pan trying to get neat servings: everyone gets their own pre-set, pre-determined portion, so there’s no bitching about something getting gypped since everyone’s getting one that’s exactly the same size.

Tiramisu Recipe - David Lebovitz (3)

And in France, that’s really part of our rights, anyways. Liberté, Egalité, and Fraternité is the motto. And the dining table should be no exception.

I have no idea what the Italian motto is (from what I hear, things are a bit less-organized over there) but I think they’re a bit less-restrained when it comes to Tiramisu, which they invented. So I guess they can do whatever they want with it, which I do (even though I’m not even a bit Italian) by sneaking some shaved chocolate between the layers.

Tiramisu Recipe - David Lebovitz (4)

Since they invented Tiramisu, I’m in no position to tell the Italians what to do. But if they’re looking for a motto, as far as I’m concerned, they might want to consider: Mascarpone, Espresso, and Chocolate.

And these are a pretty good argument in favor of that.

Tiramisu Recipe - David Lebovitz (5)



This recipe uses raw eggs, which is the traditional way of making Tiramisu. If you have concerns, be sure to use very fresh eggs, ones they that you practically stuck your hand in the chicken and plucked out for yourself. If you don’t have chickens, get your eggs from a trusted source.Depending on your ladyfingers, you might need a bit more espresso. But mine were super-dry and this was just the right amount. My glass containers hold roughly 1/2 cup (4 ounces, 125ml) each. Feel free to use regular custard cups or ramekins, in which case you may get four servings.

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) espresso, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 tablespoon cognac
  • 2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 7 tablespoons (90g) sugar, divided
  • 1 cup (250g) mascarpone
  • twelve 3½-inch ladyfingers, (70g, or 3 ounces)
  • optional: 1 ounce (30g) bittersweet chocolate
  • unsweetened cocoa powder, for serving
  • Mix together the espresso, rum, and cognac. The mixture should taste strongly of alcohol. If not, add more until it does. (That flavor will tone down when mixed with the other ingredients, but feel free to adjust to taste.)

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they begin to get stiff. Beat in half of the sugar until stiff. Scrape the egg whites into a small bowl.

  • In the same bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until stiff and light-colored, about three minutes. (If using a standing electric mixer, you may need to stop and scrape down the sides.) By hand, beat in the mascarpone with a spatula or whisk, until lump-free.

  • Fold in half of the beaten egg whites, then the remaining half, just until fully incorporated.

  • Put a splat, a heaping soup spoon, of the mascarpone cream into each vessel.

  • Submerge each ladyfinger in the espresso mixture for 5-10 seconds, until completely, utterly soaked. (Dried ladyfingers will take longer to saturate than softer ones.) Break the ladyfinger in half to be sure; they should be dropping wet, and can’t be saturated enough. Then layer them over the mascarpone cream in each vessel. Use two ladyfingers per.

  • Grate a generous amount of chocolate over each.

  • Top with remaining mascarpone cream, cover, and refrigerate at least four hours, but preferably overnight.

  • Right before serving, shake powdered cocoa generously on top.

Note: I used store-bought ladyfingers, which, if you find a decent brand (one with the fewest ingredients listed), work well here. Especially when saturated and buried underneath all the other ingredients, you can save yourself a bit of effort. If you want to try your hand at making your own ladyfingers, you can find recipes at La Tartine Gourmand and Tartlette.

Tiramisu Recipe - David Lebovitz (2024)


What not to do when making tiramisu? ›

Roberto Lestani, who for the occasion revealed to us the 3 mistakes not to make to prepare a stunning tiramisu!
  1. 1: excessively whipping the mascarpone! ...
  2. 2: once together, don't immediately mix the yolks and sugar! ...
  3. 3: Neglect stratification!
Jun 16, 2020

Why is my tiramisu not creamy? ›

The right biscuits

As a result, the consistency will be less creamy and slightly more compact. Whichever biscuits you choose, make sure not to soak them too much, otherwise the excess coffee will make the mascarpone cream runny.

What's the difference between tiramisu and tiramisu cake? ›

While traditional tiramisu relies on ladyfingers, tiramisu cake often uses layers of sponge cake soaked in espresso and sometimes a touch of liqueur. The quintessential mascarpone cream remains a constant, but the structure allows for creative variations.

What is traditional tiramisu made of? ›

Traditional tiramisu contains ladyfingers (savoiardi), egg yolks, sugar, coffee, mascarpone and cocoa powder. A common variant involves soaking the savoiardi in alcohol, such as Marsala wine, amaretto or a coffee-based liqueur.

How long should tiramisu sit before serving? ›

Wrap tiramisù with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator at least 6 hours before serving. If you want to get fancy, finish the Tiramisù with a layer of whipped cream piped on top and dust with more cocoa powder.

Is tiramisu better with whipped cream or egg whites? ›

In most tiramisus, you would be able to find the use of either heavy whipping cream or whipped egg whites. I've tried both and they worked well for me. However, my family and friends tend to prefer the whipped egg white version as they're less fattening, and has a lighter aftertaste.

Is it better to use soft or hard ladyfingers for tiramisu? ›

If you can't find these and your supermarket only has soft, cakelike ladyfingers, you'll need to let them dry out in the oven first. Moist ladyfingers will soak up too much liquid and the tiramisù will be mushy.

Why is my tiramisu too liquid? ›

The other main reasons the mixture would be runny is if other liquid ingredients have been added first, or if the mascarpone has been beaten so much that it has curdled (then you will get water separating out from the cheese curds).

How do you fix curdled mascarpone for tiramisu? ›

To fix it once it has already curdled, generally you would gently heat it over a double boiler (or microwave it a few seconds at a time) while whipping it until you've whipped the lumps out. Once it's smooth, let it cool back to room temperature, stirring regularly, and rewhip it once it's cool.

Which alcohol is used in tiramisu? ›

Most recipes use Marsala wine in tiramisu, however, I have always loved Kahlua since it pairs so well with the espresso that's already in the recipe. Use any of these or your favorite liquor: Marsala wine. Rum (dark rum would be best!)

What is a substitute for mascarpone cheese in tiramisu? ›

You can mimic the silky, decadent consistency of mascarpone with an easy DIY recipe. To make this mascarpone substitute, mix together 12 ounces of room temperature cream cheese (1 ½ blocks) with ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream and ¼ cup of sour cream until combined.

What can I use instead of sponge fingers for tiramisu? ›

Pavesini Biscuits: Pavesini biscuits are a popular alternative to ladyfingers in tiramisu. These small, thin biscuits are low in calories and can be brushed with coffee instead of being dipped. They are commonly used in making tiramisu, especially in individual servings [2].

What kind of rum is best for tiramisu? ›

What kind of rum do I use in tiramisu? Dark rum is best, but you can use brandy or your favorite coffee liqueur.

What is the best cocoa powder for tiramisu? ›

Rather than grocery store brands, which are often low in fat and quite astringent, look for full-fat cocoa powders from brands like Valrhona, which can offer a deep, rich flavor instead. After dusting, add another layer of coffee-soaked ladyfingers.

What is the difference between Italian and American tiramisu? ›

Authentic Italian Tiramisu is made with raw eggs. In America, due to fear of salmonella, Tiramisu is often made by tempering the egg yolks and substituting heavy whipping cream in place of the egg whites.

Why is my tiramisu so soggy? ›

She uses crisp ladyfingers and subsequently dips them in a mixture of rum and coffee. It is this dipping stage that makes or breaks a tiramisu. According to Garten, if you dip your ladyfingers for too long, they will turn soggy. However, if you don't dip them for long enough, they won't absorb the proper flavor.

Why did my tiramisu curdle? ›

Unfortunately it sounds as if the mascarpone curdled because it was whisked too much. Mascarpone has a very high fat content and so will split more easily than double/whipping cream or cream cheese.

Why don't you cook the eggs in tiramisu? ›

In most traditional tiramisu recipes, you'll find egg yolks. This adds richness and a decadent flavor to the mascarpone filling. While true classic tiramisu recipes use raw egg yolks, I prefer to cook them to eliminate the risk of salmonella, so that's what this recipe calls for.

Is it better to leave tiramisu overnight? ›

Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Will keep in the fridge for up to two days. To serve, dust with the cocoa powder and grate over the remainder of the chocolate.

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