This is how to make a real Tiramisu the proper Italian way! The cream layers are luxurious and rich, but not greasy and heavy like simplified versions made with whipping cream.
It’s simple to make, fun to construct, and tastes even better the next day – and the next! This is a traditional Italian recipe by Vanessa Martin, a well regarded Australian Italian Chef.
Tiramisu – proper Italian recipe!
There are many, many Tiramisu recipes out there in this big wide world. Some are complicated. Some are very shortcut, made using cream in a can.
This is a proper Italian Tiramisu recipe. The way it’s made in Italy and the GOOD Italian restaurants.😇
There is no whipping cream.
And it’s made using raw eggs.
I know that concerns some people. And in fact, somewhere along the lines of history, someone (non Italian!) got scared about eating raw eggs so they decided to start making Tiramisu using tempered eggs (eggs whisked over a water bath).
While food safety may have been a valid concern in the past, these days in Western countries (certainly in Australia), the quality of eggs sold in reputable stores is good enough such that you won’t need to worry about consuming raw eggs.
And if the thought of raw eggs is icky – well, chances are you’ve eaten raw egg without realising it in the form of:
chocolate mousse (in a traditional or nice French restaurant)
Pavlova (what do you think that marshmallow centre you know and love is? Raw egg whites!)
Homemade mayonnaise, hollandaise and bernaise (raw yolks!)
All those cake batter and cookie dough bowls you’ve licked clean!!
And of course, that Tiramisu you swooned over at that rustic little Italian restaurant?? Raw eggs!
Safety note: for extra precaution, it is recommended that young children, pregnant women or people with fragile health issues avoid foods made with raw eggs. And yep, that includes all the foods I’ve listed above!
The unique thing about the Tiramisu cream is that it’s rich yet light, it sets so it’s cuttable to show the layers, yet it’s soft and creamy.
What goes in Tiramisu
So, other than the eggs, there’s a few more ingredients in Tiramisu worth chatting to you about!
Lady fingers aka Pavesini or Savoiardi biscuits – pretty widely available nowadays, at least here in Australia. Sold at grocery stores in the biscuit aisle, delis and fruit ‘n veg shops. They are crisp, sweet sponge fingers that taste like vanilla;
Mascarpone – it’s a very thick, rich Italian cream that has a consistency like cream cheese (see video for consistency). Australians – do NOT use Woolworths or any generic home brand as they are too thin and won’t set, so your cream layer will be too thin. Use good brands such as:
La Casa Formaggio Mascarpone (Woolworths)
Montefiore Mascarpone Cheese (Coles)
Formaggio Zanetti (Harris Farms)
Latteria Sociale Mantova (Harris Farms, pictured below)
Any from an Italian deli
Coffee – Tiramisu ain’t Tiramisu without coffee for dunking the biscuits! You’ll see me using an espresso machine in the video, but in my pre coffee machine days, I always used coffee granules; and
Frangelico or other liquor – I am actually not really much of a fan of liquor in my sweets, but Tiramisu is the exception! I like Frangelico because it’s a hazelnut flavoured liquor, and also very partial to Kahlua which is coffee flavoured. Other options: Rum, brandy, Bailey’s – go wild, use what you love, or even keep it virgin (almond essence, vanilla extract!)
This is an easy Tiramisu recipe – it’s made the traditional way so the eggs are not tempered.
How to make Tiramisu
The key to a rich-yet-light Tiramisu is to beat the egg whites until fluffy, then fold it through the rich cream mixture of sugar, yolks and mascarpone.
This technique creates a Tiramisu cream which has a consistency like whipped cream (ie soft and spreadable) but it sets in a way that cream never can so you can cut through the Tiramisu to reveal the layers.
I say it “sets”, but it’s still very soft and creamy – it’s a unique texture that sets proper Tiramisu recipes apart from quick version made with whipping cream!
My favourite part! And it goes down like this:
Dunk biscuits in coffee-Frangelico
Cover base of dish
Top with half the Tiramisu cream
TIP: Dunk quickly! 2 seconds total for each biscuit. Any longer and the biscuit will literally disintegrate in your hands!
The one other thing worth noting about Tiramisu made the proper way – it is far less sweet than most desserts. There’s only 1/2 cup of sugar in this whole recipe and the only other sweetness is the biscuits, but they aren’t that sweet!
In fact, I sometimes fret that it’s not sweet enough – but everybody (and I really do mean everybody) I have ever made this for says it’s the perfect as is.
So in the many years I’ve been making this, I haven’t change the recipe at all! – Nagi x
If you’re thinking about an Italian Dinner Party…
Typical Italian Dinner Party at mine involving proven favourites that are largely prep ahead would have a menu like this:
Bruschetta DIY spread made with tomato (when in season) or grilled/roasted Marinated Veggies (which is basically homemade antipasto) with soft ricotta (Australia – avoid Perfect Italiano, it’s powdery and borders on inedible)
Tuna or kingfish carpaccio (want the recipe? Drop me a message below!)
Main and sides
Shredded Beef Ragu pasta (a proven, low maintenance winner I make a LOT! Also great to take camping)
Rocket/Arugula Parmesan Salad – toss rocket/arugula with salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Pile into bowls, drizzle with balsamic reduction (store bought fine!), shave over parmesan (using veg peeler). I make this a LOT for everyday purposes – super fast, no dressing to make separately!
Dessert – This Tiramisu!
Watch how to make it
Easy Tiramisu (Chef Recipe)
- 3 eggs , yolks and whites separated
- 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 oz / 250g mascarpone , good brand (Important - read Note 1)
- 1 1/4 cups black coffee , hot and strong! (Note 2)
- 2 tbsp (or more!) Frangelico or Kahlua , or other liquor of choice (skip for alcohol free)
- 6.5 oz / 200g (24 - 30) lady fingers, pavesini or savoiardi biscuits (Note 3)
- Cocoa , for dusting
- Beat yolks and sugar in stand mixer or electric beater on speed 6 to 7 for 10 minutes or until it changes from yellow to pale yellow (almost white), and is thick (see video for consistency).
- Add vanilla and mascarpone, beat until just combined and smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl, set aside.
- Clean bowl and whisk. Add egg whites and beat until it's stiff (3 minutes on speed 7, should be all white foam, see video!)
- Add 1/2 the cream mixture into the egg whites. Gently fold through. When most incorporated, add the remaining cream mixture and fold through until just combined - don't bash out all the air in the egg whites! (Note 4)
- Mix coffee and liquor together. Quickly dip biscuits in and line the bottom of a 8”/20cm square dish. (See video or step photos above to see how I arrange them).
- Spread over half the cream, then top with another layer of coffee dipped biscuits.
- Spread with remaining cream.
- Cover, refrigerate for at least 4 - 5 hours, preferably overnight
- Dust with cocoa powder just before serving - either before you cut or after placing onto serving plates.
- La Casa Formaggio Mascarpone (Woolworths)
- Montefiore Mascarpone Cheese (Coles)
- Formaggio Zanetti (Harris Farms)
- Latteria Sociale Mantova (Harris Farms)
- Any from an Italian deli, anything made in Australia
Tiramisu recipe originally published March 2016. Updated August 2019 with new photos, new step photos, brand new video and most importantly, Life of Dozer section added!
Life of Dozer
Off to Vietnam today to film the first official RecipeTin Food Travels video! Very excited to venture into this new direction which will bring together FOOD along with TRAVEL tips from the RecipeTin Family.
The travel videos will be accompanied with posts that will list exactly where we stayed, where we ate and what we ordered. And the most exciting part (at least for me!) is that I’ll share recipes for the foods I film on the streets of Vietnam!
As for Dozer – unfortunately I am yet to find an airline that will let me take him in the cabin with me, and yet to get the Australian government to relax the rigid 6 week quarantine laws upon return of dogs to Australia.
So until such time, Dozer stays behind for international trips…. and this is what I have to deal with when I’m packing to go away without him….
Oh the guilt! It’s almost too much to bear!! Might be smiling on the outside but I’m crying on the inside 😩