Rich and Creamy Tiramisu Recipe

A slice of rich and creamy tiramisu on a dessert plate.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

2:16

How to Make Tiramisu

Why It Works

  • A water bath helps dissolve the sugar and partially coagulate the eggs, allowing them to gain more volume when whipped.
  • Whole eggs put the focus on the flavor of mascarpone, for a strong dairy taste.
  • Cocoa powder adds flavor and richness, while helping to bind moisture from the coffee syrup.

Creamy, rich, and bursting with bold coffee flavors, tiramisu is one of my all-time favorite desserts (especially with homemade ladyfingers, though I'm not one to judge if you choose store-bought instead). My version is less eggy than typical recipes, putting the mellow flavor of mascarpone front and center.

Recipe Facts

4.1

(16)

Active: 30 mins
Total: 90 mins
Serves: 8 to 12 servings

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Ingredients

For the Coffee Syrup:

  • 3/4 ounce Dutch-processed cocoa powder (about 1/4 cup; 20g), such as Valrhona

  • 5 ounces espresso or strong brewed coffee (about 2/3 cup; 140g), piping hot

  • 2 ounces crème de cacao or other dark liqueur (about 1/4 cup; 55g); see note

  • 2 ounces Cardamaro or other mild amaro (about 1/4 cup; 55g); see note

  • 1/2 ounce vanilla extract (about 1 tablespoon; 15g)

For the Mascarpone Filling:

  • 5 large eggs (about 8 3/4 ounces; 245g)

  • 3 1/2 ounces sugar (about 1/2 cup; 100g)

  • 1/4 teaspoon (1g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight

  • 24 ounces mascarpone (three 8-ounce containers; 680g), straight from the fridge

To Assemble:

  • About 30 ladyfingers, store-bought or homemade

  • Dutch-processed cocoa powder, for dusting

Directions

  1. For the Coffee Syrup: In a deep bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, hot espresso, crème de cacao, Cardamaro, and vanilla extract until homogeneous. Set aside.

    A collage of six photos that show how to make coffee-cocoa syrup for tiramisu

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

  2. For the Mascarpone Filling: Fill a 2- or 3-quart saucier with a few inches of water; bring to a boil, then lower heat and adjust to maintain a steady supply of steam. Combine eggs, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, using a flexible spatula to stir. Place over the steaming pot (if the bowl touches the bottom, crumple a strip of foil into a ring to act as a booster seat) and cook, stirring and scraping constantly, until warmed to 160°F (71°C), about 5 minutes. This should not take significantly longer; major delays simply indicate insufficient heat/lack of steam.

    A collage of three photos showing how to make the mascarpone filling for tiramisu using a stand mixer.

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

  3. Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until eggs are foamy, more than quadrupled in size, and thick enough to briefly mound up like soft-serve ice cream when dropped from the whisk, between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the horsepower of your mixer. Reduce speed to medium and begin adding mascarpone roughly 1/4 cup at a time; no need to wait between additions. Once mascarpone is incorporated, pause to scrape bowl with a flexible spatula, then resume whipping on medium-high until mixture is homogeneous and thick, about 5 to 10 seconds more. Don’t fret over small flecks of mascarpone, since they will smooth out on their own over time.

    A collage of four photos showing how to whip the mascarpone filling in a stand mixer

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

  4. To Assemble: Working with one at a time, dunk each ladyfinger in coffee syrup with a fork, giving it a second or two to absorb the liquid, then place in the bottom of a 7- by 11-inch baking dish. Top with about half the mascarpone filling, spread into an even layer, and dust lightly with cocoa powder. Repeat with remaining ladyfingers until syrup is gone, then top with remaining mascarpone filling and spread smooth.

    A collage of three photos showing how to assemble tiramisu.

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

  5. To Decorate: Lay a long piece of butcher's twine on top of the smooth filling, curling it into swoops and swirls to create whatever sort of design you like, and dust generously with additional cocoa powder. Starting from the end of your design, carefully peel up twine and discard. (This twine step is optional; if you want, you can simply dust the top with cocoa powder.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 1 hour. Serve with a large spoon or angled spatula. Tiramisu can be refrigerated for up to 10 days.

    A collage of four photos showing how to make a design in the top of the tiramisu with string and cocoa powder

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Special equipment

3-quart stainless steel saucier, stand mixer, flexible spatula, 7- by 11-inch baking dish, offset spatula, digital thermometer, butcher's twine (optional)

Notes

After dozens of experiments, I've become obsessed with the bittersweet combination of crème de cacao and Cardamaro, a mild, wine-based amaro from Northern Italy. But tiramisu is all about customization! Feel free to swap the crème de cacao for other types of chocolate, coffee, or even nut-based liqueurs. The Cardamaro can be replaced with other mild amari, or dessert wines like vin santo or a sweet Marsala. The goal is to create an intense, bitter, and aromatic concoction, with just a whisper of sweetness. If alcohol isn't an option for you, try using a blend of coffee and hazelnut or almond milk spiked with chocolate syrup instead.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
443 Calories
31g Fat
31g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 443
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 17g 85%
Cholesterol 218mg 73%
Sodium 382mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 71mg 5%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 143mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)