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Tiramisu, with homemade ladyfingers, expresso, and a lightened zabaglione custard, is an easy-to-make layered dessert, the perfect afternoon or holiday “pick-me-up.”

Tiramisu, the name literally translates as “pick-me-up,” is made in advance to allow the flavors to mellow in the refrigerator. This recipe may seem a little boozy, but the flavors are magical. Start by making a zabaglione which is a cooked mixture of egg yolks, sugar, and sweet marsala wine, then blend in the mascarpone and whipped cream. Homemade ladyfingers are dipped in espresso syrup and layered with the zabaglione filling, then top with some chocolate and refrigerate. Simple, easy, elegant.

My filling uses a combination of Kahlua and dark Rum; however, you can use all Kahlua or all dark Rum if you prefer. If you prefer a more pronounced rum flavor go ahead and add an additional tablespoon.

You may choose to use store-bought ladyfingers for this recipe, or make your own. Ladyfingers are easy to make.

Make Ahead Tip: for this recipe the ladyfingers are best made one to two days ahead of time so they have time to dry out and become crisp. Crisp ladyfingers are less likely to break apart when dipped into the espresso syrup.
Recipe type: Dessert | Layered Custard
Serves: 8 servings
Lady Fingers:
  • 2 to 2½ dozen homemade Ladyfingers. See recipe for Ladyfingers.
Espresso Syrup:
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua
  • 2 tablespoons Dark Rum
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup sweet Marsala Wine
  • 1 cup mascarpone, room temperature
  • 1 cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • About 1-ounce semi-sweet chocolate, grated
Lady Fingers:
  1. Make the Ladyfingers. The Ladyfinger recipe makes about 3 dozen ladyfingers; therefore, you should have a few leftovers to enjoy eating. See recipe for Ladyfingers.
Espresso Syrup:
  1. Combine the water and sugar is a small saucepan and stir to combine. Heat over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the instant espresso powder. Let cool to room temperature, then stir in the Kahlua and Rum. Refrigerate until ready to assemble tiramisu.
  1. In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together using a wire whisk. Add the marsala and whisk to combine. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (top of double boiler) and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick and a pale-yellow color and the mixture reaches 150 degrees F using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. This will take from 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. This is basically a zabaglione custard. Tip: if you need to scrape the sides of bowl with a rubber spatula while heating the egg mixture, first remove the bowl from the water, scrape the sides of the bowl, then replace the bowl over the water. Removing the bowl from the water will help ensure the eggs don’t have a chance to curdle.
  2. Let the cooked egg mixture cool to room temperature, whisking frequently while cooling. When cooled, stir in the mascarpone until completely blended. Refrigerate while preparing the whipped cream.
  3. Whipping Cream: In a medium-sized bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream to semi-stiff peaks. Tip: the whipped cream peaks should look soft but be stiff enough to hold a peak.
  4. Fold the whipped cream into the egg and mascarpone mixture, folding until thoroughly combined and no streaks remain. Refrigerate until ready to assemble tiramisu.
  1. Quickly dip each ladyfinger in the cooled espresso syrup and arrange in a single layer over the bottom of a 9-inch glass baking pan (or similar sized pan.) Do not soak the ladyfingers or they will become too moist and fall apart. Tip: I use a 11x7-inch glass baking pan.
  2. Making Tiramisu
  3. Spoon half of the filling over the ladyfingers and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Repeat with a second layer of dipped ladyfingers and remaining filling.
  4. Making Tiramisu
  5. Topping: Sprinkle a light layer of unsweetened cocoa over the top of the filling, then sprinkle the grated semi-sweet chocolate over the cocoa. Use the back of a spoon to gently press the grated chocolate down so it is not loose on top.
  6. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight, before serving.
  7. Serve tiramisu cold from the refrigerator. Cut into squares and remove from the pan with a spatula. Refrigerate leftovers.
Source: Greenspan, Dorie, Baking, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, 2006; Malgieri, Nick, Perfect Cakes, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2002; Rather, Rebecca, The Pastry Queen, Ten Speed Press, California, 2004
Recipe Notes
Equipment: Heatproof Bowls Method: Double Boiler Pan: one 9-inch baking dish Yield: 8 servings Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

Help: Lady Fingers

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Recipe by at https://thebakingpan.com/recipes/christmas/tiramisu/