Nonna's Tiramisu

"This is my grandmother's tiramisu. I have been eating this for as long as I can remember and I have yet to try a tiramisu that I like better. I made this over the weekend and I didn't have kahlua on hand so I used creme de cacao instead and I think I may even prefer it that way now. In the past I have omitted the liqueur and it has still been very good. I have also used part-skim ricotta instead of mascarpone if I'm looking to lower calories and cost. Cook time is chill time for first the coffee and then for the cake itself. Feel free to make this even as early as two days before serving- it will only be better for it."
photo by Canadian_in_the_Bay photo by Canadian_in_the_Bay
photo by Canadian_in_the_Bay
Ready In:
7hrs 45mins




  • Brew 2-3 cups of espresso or very strong coffee (I use my Bialetti stove top moka pot). Allow coffee to cool completely and stir in liqueur.
  • Pull a 13x9 pan, a large bowl, and a small bowl out of your cupboard.
  • Separate eggs, placing egg whites in the smaller bowl and egg yolks in the larger bowl.
  • Beat egg white with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat (or underbeat for that matter) the egg whites as this will ruin the consistency of the cream.
  • Leaving the egg whites separate for the time being, add sugar to the egg yolks and beat until well blended. Then, add the mascarpone or ricotta and beat until creamy and well blended.
  • Fold egg whites into the cheese mixture.
  • Pour coffee mix into a bowl/container with a flat bottom large enough to accomodate one lady finger. I start with a pool of coffee about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch deep.
  • One by one, roll the lady fingers in the coffee. If you oversoak them the cake will be soggy and under soaking could lead to it being crunchy. If in doubt, do a test cookie. Soak the cookie, then cut it in half. If it has been soaked the correct amount, the outside will be brown and soft but the very center (where you have cut it) will still be white and firm.
  • As you roll each lady finger in the coffee, line them up in the 13x9 inch pan. When the cookies don't fit comfortably, cut them (after soaking) to make them fit.
  • When you have one layer of "cake", spread half of the cheese mixture evenly over it and place a second layer of soaked cookies over the cheese mixture. Top with remaining cheese mix.
  • My grandmother garnishes her tiramisu by sprinkling cocoa powder over it but I use grated 60% dark chocolate and sometimes I throw some grated white chocolate on top of that.
  • Place tiramisu in fridge and wait at least 6 hours before serving.
  • Note: This recipe freezes well so you can save leftovers for later if need be.

Questions & Replies

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  1. This recipe is spectacular!
  2. This was an amazing recipe! It was my first tiramisu, and it came out nearly perfect. One thing with this recipe was that it didn't mention sprinkling any cocoa powder n the layers before the top, which many other recipes call for. It could be the preference of the poster, but i was looking for the most traditional version. However, I can't say thanks enough for posting!
  3. OK ~ this was AWESOME!! I've made it twice already and realized that if you just dip the first layer and lay it out that it won't be soggy when you serve it ~ it tastes just like home! Thanks to Nonna for a great recipe!
  4. The consistency of the creamy part was too thick in my opinion. Maybe I just did something wrong.
  5. This is a great recipe. I've always been a little scared to make Tiramisu, but your directions were great! I served it at a dinner party and my guests were actually scraping the sides of the pan, there wasn't a piece left over! Yum!!



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