Italian Tiramisu Recipe Made Easy

By Nadia Vitari

How does a rich and indulgent tiramisu sound? As foodies, you might have had the chance to taste a tiny and over-priced portion of Italian desserts at restaurants and might want to replicate them at home but you are not too sure how to go about it, especially if you would like to offer them as desserts to your guests and impress them. Or maybe you have always wondered what they taste like (they look so yummy and inviting) but you prefer an egg-less dessert or you would like to avoid the alcohol in the original recipes or may find the importe ingredients too pricey! let me help you; being an Italian, I can share with you the real recipes. Living in India, I have worked out several alternatives with are cheap on the pocket, made with the available ingredients and adapted to the local tastes/diet or religious requirements.

The Ingredients

So let’s start explore the original Italian Tiramisu! The real recipe uses Savoiardi (that’s the Italian name for the authentic version of Ladyfinger biscuits), mascarpone cheese, coffee prepared with moka pot (as ground coffee is more aromatic and tasteful than instant), eggs and sugar.

Ladyfinger (biscuit) or Savoiardi. Image source:


Mascarpone Cheese. Image source:

The Recipe

So let’s try to prepare it without Savoiardi and mascarpone as they are not always available. In fact, let’s also look at an egg-less version. If you are not keen on using coffee or you have kids in the household, you can replace coffee with juice and add chunks of fruit in it (for example pineapple, papaya or wild berries). So you carefully imbibe the cookies in juice instead of coffee, but be careful not to dip them for too long otherwise instead of crunchy and spongy they get mushy and not so nice to your palate. Especially as the real tiramisu tastes better after being kept for several hours (overnight would be great) in the fridge and then kept out for 20 minutes before serving it, after sprinkling its top with powered cocoa. Also decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe as it might get too sweet and use less cocoa if you are using juice. Replace mascarpone with thick whipped cream and cream cheese. Use digestive cookies (better if square than round, as it is easier to cut portions) instead of Savoiardi; you can also use glucose biscuits but in this case I would suggest avoiding sugar altogether.

Tiramisu with Digestive Biscuits. Image source:

Be generous in your purchase of cream cheese and whipped cream, as you want to create thick layers to cover the cookies. Also add two tea spoons of vanilla extract if available. Whip the heavy cream, vanilla and sugar until soft peaks form; add soft cream cheese (the more you use the better it will taste). Then place a layer of biscuits at the bottom of a deep square casserole, after having quickly dipped them into juice or coffee. Spread a first layer of cream over them and repeat this layering at least three or four times as the cookies you are using are very much thinner than the original Savoiardi. Use a knife or a flat spatula to spread the top smooth. Cover and let it sit for upto 24 hours before serving.

Tiramisu. Image source:

Most times, I let mine sit for as little as three/four hours and it turns out just fine. Take it out of the fridge at least 15 minutes before serving it and then dust top with cocoa or shaved chocolate. Also, if you decided to opt for juice and fruit, a yummy version can be prepared by adding think chunks of fruit over the top of each layer of cookies and then using shaved white chocolate instead of cocoa at the top.

Pineapple Tiramisu. Image source:

For those who appreciate its “alcoholic” version, add liquor like Kahlua or Bailey’s to your coffee preparation, in this case avoiding sweetening it altogether.

You can also make a healthier version replacing some of the whipped cream and cream cheese with thick, Greek yogurt, plain or fruity, depending the variant you selected.

Voila’! or, as we would say in Italy Ecco fatto! Buon appetito

About Nadia Vitari

Passionate traveler and backpacker, Nadia comes from the Lake of Como area in Italy (yes, where George Clooney lives!). She moved to Mumbai to work for an NGO. Being Italian and having lived, worked and studied in different countries, she is passionate about food and other cultures, especially anything Japanese! She also loves reading, football and rock music.


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