Italian Tiramisu is a a no-bake dessert with a light and creamy texture infused with an explosion of coffee and rum flavor. This cake is easy to make and is made up of Lady Fingers dipped in a coffee and rum syrup, layered with a smooth and creamy Mascarpone filling. The best part is that there is no baking required and it is a great make-ahead dessert for any occasion.
What are lady finger cookies used in Italian Tiramisu:
Lady Fingers are best described as dried out sponge cake with a crispier sweet top. The inside is light and airy making them perfect for many no bake desserts because they soften when in combined with a cream or liquid.
Where to find lady finger cookies:
Some grocery stores carry Lady Finger cookies but not all. They can be found either in the cookie aisle or Italian/international section. An Italian store is more than likely to be your best bet. If you are having trouble finding Lady Fingers, I will link them HERE. For this recipe, in a 9×13 casserole dish, you will need about 36-40 lady finger cookies.
What kind of run is best and can I substitute the rum?
Any kind of dark rum works best of a Tiramisu dessert because of the stronger flavor. Since you are not using a whole lot of run in the whole cake, you want rum that has a stronger aroma that you will be able to smell and taste without dumping a whole bottle in the cake. Rum flavor is part of what gives this cake it’s unique taste, however, if you choose not to use run, you can skip the ingredient.
How long can the Tiramisu be refrigerated?
Since the Lady Fingers are very soft and delicate, they will begin to fall apart after about 4-5 days. I also don’t recommend freezing the Tiramisu because extra moisture in the thawing process will not hold up the Lady Fingers very well.
Tips for making the best Tiramisu:
- Do not over soak the Lady Fingers. These cookies are delicate and will fall apart quickly or cause a soggy dessert. Simply dip each side of the Lady Fingers for a quick 1 second and that is all you need. It’s okay if the whole cookie does not feel soft. You want the cookies to keep their shape so that they can hold the cake together without being soggy.
- Do not over-mix the mascarpone filling. Over-mixing will loosen deflate he whipping cream that will cause a grainy and runny filling rather than a smooth and silky cream.
How to make Italian Tiramisu (Step-by-Step Photos):
To make the Mascarpone filling:
- Whisk egg yolks and sugar over boiling water until the sugar is mostly dissolved.
- Beat mascarpone cheese and 3 Tbs run until creamy.
- Add egg yolk mixture to mascarpone cheese and beat until thick and smooth.
- In a separate bowl, beat heavy cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
- Fold in the whipped cream into the mascarpone cheese custard. Do not over mix
To prepare the Lady Finger Layers:
- In 1 3/4 cup of COLD espresso, add 3 Tbs dark rum.
- Dip each Lady Finger in the espresso and rum syrup one second on each side. Do not over soak.
- Lay each Lady Finger in a 9×13 casserole dish in a single layer.
- Add 1/2 of the mascarpone filling on top of the first Lady finger layer.
- Top with another layer of Lady Fingers dipped in espresso.
- Add rest of the mascarpone filling on top of the second Lady Finger layer.
Dust top of Tiramisu with about 3 tablespoons cocoa powder.
Optional: Beat 1 1/2 cups of cold heavy cream and 1/3 cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Using a large round piping tip, pipe whipped cream on top of the cake before dusting with cocoa powder.
Italian Tiramisu Recipe
- 1 ¾ cups strong espresso cold
- 6 tbsp dark rum divided
- 36-40 Lady Finger cookies
- 6 egg yolks
- 16 oz Mascarpone Cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder for using
Optional Whipped Cream Topping
- 1 ¾ cups heavy whipping cream
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- Make 1 ¾ cups of strong espresso, add 3 tablespoons of dark rum in the coffee and let it cool. Have your espresso in a round dish that will fit the lady fingers.
- Prepare the egg yolk custard. Mix 6 egg yolks with 1 cups of granulated sugar. Place egg mixture over a pot of boiling water. Whisk constantly until most of the sugar has dissolved. Your egg yolks will turn a lighter yellow color and the mixture will thicken just slightly. This process takes about 8-10 minutes. Make sure that your dish with the egg yolks does not touch the boiling water. Once the custard is done, set it aside to cool.
- In a medium mixing bowl using an electric mixer, whisk heavy cream and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Set aside
- In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the mascarpone cheese and 3 tablespoons of rum until creamy and evenly combined. Then, add the egg yolk mixture to the mascarpone cheese and beat until you get a thick and smooth cream. Scrape down the sides with a spatula as needed, making sure that the mascarpone cheese is fully incorporated.
- Fold the whipped cream in the mascarpone cheese filling until it is evenly mixed. Do not over-mix because it will deflate the whipped cream and cause a runny/grainy mixture.
- Dip the lady finger cookies in the espresso and rum syrup. Do not drench them in the liquid because Lady Fingers are very fragile and will fall apart within a matter of seconds. Instead, quickly dip each side of the Lady Fingers a quick second per each side. If they are too soaked, you will end up with a soggy dessert. Lay them on a single layer in your dish.
- Top the first layer of dipped Lady Fingers with half of the cream.
- Lay another even layer of dipped Lady Fingers on top of the mascarpone cream and top with the rest of the cream.
- Optional: Whip 1 ¾ cup of whipping cream with 1/3 cup of sugar. Using a large round piping tip, pipe whipped cream on top of the last layer of mascarpone cream.
- Dust cocoa powder on top of your final layer of the Tiramisu cake and leave in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to set.