Better late than never, right? After my camera went on a field trip with Nick and a power outage kept me from actually getting on my computer, I bring you… Tiramisu!


Nick’s family came up to celebrate his birthday this weekend and his parents wanted to take everyone out to dinner. Nick knew I was a little disappointed since I love to entertain, have people over and feed them, so he asked if I wanted to make tiramisu for dessert. (Thanks babe, you know me so well, and knew I’d love to be able to make something – you’re the best!) Nick must have figured (hoped?) that I had experienced some growth in my baking muscles over the last year or so, because my last attempt at tiramisu did not turn out well. AT.ALL. I used a copycat recipe for the Olive Garden tiramisu and the custard turned out much too cheesey in taste, too dense in texture, and the savoiardi were not sufficiently soaked.

A few months ago I came across a tiramisu recipe in the most recent Cook’s Illustrated issue, and I made sure to save it, knowing that someday I would try to redeem myself. That someday finally came! I’ve got to admit that I am becoming quite smitten with Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchens. It seems that everything I have made has come out absolutely perfect. I’m pretty convinced that their recipes are spot-on and foolproof. The only modification that I made to the tiramisu was to substitute Kahlua in place of the rum, and cut that amount in half. The CI recipe notes that its recipe results in a strong rum flavoring, and to create a more subtle flavor to cut the amount in the coffee/espresso mixture in half. I also decided to cut in half the amount that went into the cream mixture. I think this was a good decision, as there was still a distinct flavor, but it complemented the other flavors and was not overpowering. I was initially nervous about using completely raw eggs, but Nick made a great suggestion and told me I should just buy pasteurized eggs, which I did, and my fears resolved themselves šŸ™‚

This tiramisu was absolutely fabulous. The savoiardi were perfectly soft and loaded with flavor, while the mascarpone mixture had a light and smooth flavor, as well as texture, which I attribute to the addition of the whipped cream that is incorporated. The dish received high praise, and it is easily just as good, if not better, than tiramisu you would find at the nicest of Italian restaurants. Cook’s Illustrated definitely perfected this recipe.


(Source: Cook’s Illustrated November & December 2007 issue)

2-1/2 cups strong brewed coffee, room temperature
1-1/2 Tablespoons instant espresso granules
9 tablespoons dark rum [I substituted Kahlua and cut the amount down to 4-1/2 tablespoons]
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1-1/2 pounds mascarpone
3/4 cup cold heavy cream
14 ounces (42 to 60, depending on size) dried ladyfingers (savoiardi)
3-1/2 Tablespoons cocoa, preferably Dutch-processed
1/4 cup grated semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (optional) [I omitted this]

1. Stir coffee, espresso, and 5 tablespoons rum [2-1/2 tablespoons Kahlua] in a wide bowl or baking dish until espresso dissolves; set aside.

2. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat yolks at low speed until just combined. Add sugar and salt and beat at medium-high speed until pale yellow, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula once or twice. Add remaining 4 tablespoons rum [2 tablespoons Kahlua] and beat at medium speed until just combined, 20 to 30 seconds; scrape bowl. Add mascarpone and beat at medium speed until no lumps remain, 30 to 45 seconds, scraping down bowl once or twice. Transfer mixture to large bowl and set aside.

3. In now-empty mixer bowl (no need to clean bowl), beat cream at medium speed until frothy, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Increase speed to high and continue to beat until cream holds stiff peaks, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes longer. Using rubber spatula, fold one-third of whipped cream into mascarpone mixture to lighten, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Set mascarpone mixture aside.

4. Working one at a time, drop half of ladyfingers into coffee mixture, roll, remove and transfer to 13 by 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. (Do not submerge ladyfingers in coffee mixture; entire process should take no longer than 2 to 3 seconds for each cookie.) Arrange soaked cookies in single layer in baking dish, breaking or trimming ladyfingers as needed to fit neatly into dish.

5. Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers; use rubber spatula to spread mixture to sides and into corners of dish and smooth surface. Place 2 tablespoons cocoa in fine-mesh strainer and dust cocoa over mascarpone.

6. Repeat dipping and arrangement of ladyfingers; spread remaining mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers and dust with remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons cocoa. Wipe edges of dish with dry paper towel. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 to 24 hours. Sprnkle with grated chocolate, if using; cut into pieces and serve chilled.

41 Responses

  1. Looks beautiful! It is one of my goals this year to make tiramisu!

  2. I want to try this…the last time I made tiramisu was a total flop! I’ve been aprehensive every since and the marscapone is too expensive to keep messing up.

  3. This looks wonderful! I’ve been wanting to make tiramisu for a long time now but have never found a recipe that appealed to me. I’ll definitely give this a try, especially since I found out the other day that David has never had tiramisu (can you believe that??). I hope I’ll try it soon because it looks and sounds delicious!

  4. this looks to die for! omg i’m completely drooling at my desk at work šŸ™‚ i can’t wait to make this for my sister. this is her favorite dessert!

  5. Gretchen – Thank you! It’s definitely not hard to assemble, I think the key is finding the right recipe, and I definitely think that this one is a winner!

    Chelai – My last one was a total flop as well, and you’re right – mascarpone is mighty expensive! If you try it I’d love to hear what you thought!

    Erin – No, I cannot believe that a grown up has never tried tiramisu šŸ˜‰ Haha. If you try it let me know how it turns out for you!

    kayte – Thanks! I think it’s killer, I hope your sister enjoys it!

  6. Ahhh! You’re favorite! It looks fabulous! Better than most I’ve ever seen. Wish I had some of this right now!

  7. this looks amazing Chelley!!!

  8. Katie – thanks so much!

    Tara – Thank you šŸ™‚

  9. YAY! Mission completed. šŸ˜‰ It looks fantastic. Jaos and I both love it, I will def try to make it sometime soon. Great photos too, lickable good!

  10. Laurie – Thanks! Definitely mission completed! I was so excited about how great it was and then I was afraid I wouldn’t even have pictures to show for it! If you try it, let me know!

  11. I love that recipe. Best tiramisu I’ve ever had.

    Out of the hundreds of CI/ATK recipes I’ve made, I’ve had very few failures.

  12. bridget – Thanks so much for vouching this recipe – it helped me make my decision šŸ™‚

  13. That looks so good!! I love tiramisu, this looks just like the recipe I needed! Thanks!!

  14. noskos – Thanks! If you make it, I hope you enjoy it!

  15. I love tiramisu! This looks so good!

  16. April – Thank you!

  17. This looks great, Chelle! Unfortunately I don’t like tiramisu (it’s a texture thing) but yours looks so pretty it makes me wish I loved it šŸ™‚

  18. Annie – Thanks! I definitely understand the texture thing – there are many things that do that to me too!

  19. This has left me drooling! I cannot wait to make this šŸ™‚

  20. mrsdanigirl8 – I’m glad this has hit the spot for you! Can’t wait to hear about your experience with it!

  21. It looks wonderful Chelle!! Great job.

  22. Thank you Amber! šŸ™‚

  23. This one is way more similar to my recipe than the last one.

  24. Kate – awesome, I’m so happy to have found one that seems perfect!

  25. I saw this in Cook’s Illustrated and filed it away for future use. I think this weekend might be the right time. Thanks for the extra push I needed šŸ™‚

  26. Erin – glad I could encourage you! I hope you enjoy it!

  27. i love tiramisu! yours looks perfect šŸ™‚ i’m still on the fence about which recipe to try…

  28. Thanks Jaime! Let me know which one you try and how you like it!

  29. oh, this tiramisu looks wonderful. yum!

  30. Wow this looks really good! I can’t believe there’s raw egg yolks in it though? I wonder if all tiramisu recipes are like that.

  31. Jerri – Thank you!

    Ashley – Many of the recipes that I found had raw egg yolks in them, although this one offered an alternative method that involved heating them, but resulted (per the recipe) in a thicker mascarpone filling. I didn’t necessarily want that, so I went with Nick’s suggestion and bought pasteurized eggs. I wasn’t as worried then.

  32. Absolutely beautiful…I love tiramisu but have never ventured out to make one. This looks finger licking good! YUM YUM!!

  33. Deeba – Thank you!! I had always been a little intimidated by it as well; the assembly is pretty foolproof, I think the key is just finding a great recipe!

  34. Ooh this looks divine! Can you believe I’ve never even had tiramisu? I’ve got to get on that asap!

  35. This is almost just like a recipe I have that they make at one of the Disney resorts — it uses Twinkies (halved) instead of ladyfingers. I wonder what you think Twinkies would do to your recipe?

  36. Barbara – I’m not sure how Twinkies would hold up to the soaking (might they fall apart? I haven’t had a Twinkie in I bet 20 years! so I’m not certain on their texture), but I’m Italian so I can honestly say that I couldn’t imagine a tiramisu with Twinkies instead of savoiardi šŸ˜‰

  37. I made this one yesterday and it was fabulous!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!

  38. noskos – I am so happy that you enjoyed this!! šŸ™‚

  39. […] would definitely make it again. I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe. I was glad that Chelle posted about the Cook’s Illustrated Tiramisu recipe a few weeks ago and raved about it, so I […]

  40. […] I wanted the cake part from this recipe at Smitten Kitchen, and the marscapone mix from this recipe at Sugar & Spice. I was hoping the marscapone mix would set up enough to be like a frosting, but […]

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