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My first attempt at tiramisu...please help!!

I am making my first tiramisu for a special occasion and I would want it to taste like I have done it for years. :) If you guys can post some great recepies or give me some great tips on what to definitely do and don't do, what interesting ingredient to try, or on presentation, it will be much appreciated. Thanks hounds!!

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  1. I use different recipes but this one is pretty close to what I've done:


    The biggest tip I'd have is to use real lady fingers, not the soft ones you find in grocery stores. They fall apart if you try to dip them. I don't layer the way in a large pan like that, though. I usually use a cheesecake pan, line the edge w/ tiramisu (like a fence) and then layer inside. Refrigerate and remove the sides.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser

      I just tried using the cheesecake pan; it does make for a nice presentation. I thought I had all of the ingredients to make this today, but had no marsala or rum, it being New Years Day I couldn't find a liquor store open. I substituted Cognac...it doesn't taste half bad.

    2. I've made this recipe a couple of times and people really liked it. I think I doubled the mascarpone mixture and then topped the whole thing with whipped cream... make sure that you make this AT LEAST the night before so the flavors have time to marry.


      1. My tip, other than to use the hard lady fingers from package instead of freshly baked, is to be sure to refrigerate it for awhile to let the whipped cream set. If you don't, it'll be too oozy. Also, letting it sit awhile will let the coffee make the lady fingers more moist. Oh, and you good espresso-like coffee. Don't use Starbucks, which is weak and won't give much flavor to your tiramisu.

        1. We live on the edge here in other countries and eat uncooked egg whites. Here's the "Sofia Loren" recipe from heavenlytiramisu.com. I personally prefer amaretto over the orange liqueur but otherwise the proportions are good in this.

          EGGS, 3 separated
          SUGAR, 5 tablespoons
          MASCARPONE CHEESE, 6 ounces
          LADYFINGERS, 1 large package (approximately 36)
          ORANGE LIQUEUR, 1 cup
          ESPRESSO COFFEE, 1 cup
          BITTER CHOCOLATE, 2 ounces, grated
          UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDER, 1/2 cup, or 2 ounces grated bittersweet chocolate

          Combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium-sized bowl and beat well.
          In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.
          In a third, larger bowl, combine the egg yolk mixture with the mascarpone, then fold in the egg whites to produce a creamy mixture.
          Arrange a tight layer of ladyfingers in a 9-by-12-inch serving dish.
          Using a spoon, drizzle about half the liqueur and half the espresso over the ladyfingers.
          Cover the ladyfingers with the mascarpone mixture and the grated chocolate, and dust it with a little more than half the cocoa.
          Cover the filling with a second layer of ladyfingers and drizzle with the remaining liqueur and espresso.
          Place the dish in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours (the Tiramisu can be made 24 hours in advance).
          Top with the remaining cocoa before serving.

          3 Replies
          1. re: kathinmadrid

            My own recipe is virtually identical. Sometimes I substitute rum for the orange liqueur and boost the coffee with a little Kahlua. When I can't get good italian ladyfingers, I use langues de chats from my local vietnamese bakery; they work pretty good, too. When all else fails, thinly sliced sponge cake works, too.

            1. re: kathinmadrid

              Ok, my recipe is very close but mine is a little less traditional but soooooooooooo good!! I use Marsala wine instead of espresso or orange liquor. The lady fingers are very quickly dunked/dipped in the marsala during assembling.
              In the end, I always fully cover the Tiramisu with a lot of grated chocolate in stead of the cocoa powder.
              is always a raving succes!

              1. re: kathinmadrid

                I'm with you, the amaretto does make it taste wonderfully decadent. I have a favorite restaurant, and they do it that way, it's pure heaven.

              2. I am told that I make a really good tiramisu. A good tiramisu is a simple dish so you need the best ingredients you can buy. I agree that you must use the dry packaged Lady Fingers from Italy if you can find them. I use freshly grated (microplane) bittersweet chocolate. As others have posted, it should stay in the fridge a minimum of 12 hours.

                1. Raspberry Tiramisu
                  1 cup seedless raspberry jam
                  6 tablespoons orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier) or orange juice
                  1 pound mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
                  1 cup whipping cream
                  1/4 cup sugar
                  1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
                  28 hard ladyfingers
                  3 baskets raspberries (about 3 3/4 cups total)
                  ½ cup slivered almonds

                  Stir the jam and 4 tablespoons of the orange liqueur in a small bowl to blend. Combine the mascarpone and remaining 2 tablespoons of orange liqueur in a large bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Using a large rubber spatula, stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to lighten. Fold the remaining whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.

                  Line the bottom of a13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish or other decorative serving dish with half of the ladyfingers. Spread half of the jam mixture over the ladyfingers. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the jam mixture, then cover with half of the fresh raspberries. Repeat layering with the remaining ladyfingers, jam mixture, mascarpone mixture and raspberries. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Sprinkle almonds right before serving.

                  1. quality of ingredients will determine the result: choose Italian mascarpone (cream.) , NOT Canadian/American (cream, gum a + gum b + gum c, etc) - ladyfingers (flour,sugar,eggs, vanilla, nil else required) - good coffee, made strong - that & make 24h in advance.

                    I make mine w Italian ladyfingers, enough to make 2 layers in 9x13 glass pan, briefly dipped in double-strength cold coffee laced w Kahlua & brandy. ?500g package Galbanin Italian mascarpone lightened with 1c cream whipped with a bit of sugar & vanilla. . Dust each layers w sifted cocoa. Cover tightly & refrig 12-24h before serving with caffe correcto.

                    1. I have lots of problems getting hard ladyfingers so I've learned to toast them first before dipping and layering.

                      And a good dark rum works instead of other liqueurs.

                      1. All the liqueurs mentioned are good substitutes. I think marsala wine be the original tiramisu ingredient but rum, whiskey, cognac, amaretto and hazelnut liqueur are all good. I have a friend in Italy who substitutes with grappa which is not a favorite of mine but it can be used.

                        1. I made the Williams Sonoma version for our Italian-themed book club and it brought down the house:
                          The only subs I made were to use pound cake sliced 1/2 in thick instead of ladyfingers (hard to find in Nashville) and used a combination of a double-shot of espresso and then 24 oz of very strong brewed coffee. I am not a coffee drinker so I went to the local coffee shop and got their advice on what brew would be best. The first time I made this, it was literally perfect, I was able to slice beautiful squares with the layers clearly visible. The second time I think I was a little cocky and probably over-soaked the pound cake with the coffee, so it got soggy and had to be served with spoons...

                          1. Hi!

                            This is the recipe I used... it was my first time making tiramisu, but the place I worked at has a policy where if it's your birthday, you have to bake a cake!!! And then you get a present :) hehe.
                            Anyway, I wanted to do something different for my b-day and decided to make tiramisu.
                            Here is the recipe I decided to use after lots of searching on the internet. It turned out great, even though I never made one before. Everybody liked it and since then I've made it for 2 other occasions with friends and people really liked it.


                            Oh yeah, I also wanted to mention that DO NOT substitute the mascarpone cheese with anything else. My second time, I tried to use cream cheese and sour cream mixed to substitute since I happened to have them in my fridge. I think unless you know what you're doing, it won't turn out good!! Mine ended up runny and never really set. I had to make another one!

                            1. Thanks for all the great tips!! I will be making it next week...

                              1. Here is a great recipe I learned while cooking in Northern Italy, I must say that this recipe will make ordinarily reasonable people do crazy things! It is that good! Look out!

                                For 30 people (1 tray)
                                1kg Mascarpone
                                12 eggs
                                10 tbsp sugar
                                1 liter coffee with small amt of amaretto liquor (Must be cold!)
                                Lady finger cookies (pref. Savoiardi brand) 80 of em’
                                Cocoa powder
                                1. Separate eggs and mix all sugar with yolks until mix turns white.
                                2. Mix egg/sugar with Mascarpone
                                3. Mix whites ‘till stiff
                                4. Fold both egg/sugar and stiff whites together w/ spatula by hand gently!
                                5. Quickly dip cookies into cold coffee
                                6. Layer cookies into tray
                                7. Cover cookies with slightly less than ½ mix
                                8. Add another layer of dipped cookies
                                9. Cover with remaining mix
                                10. Refrigerate at least 2 hours
                                11. Before serving, dust with cocoa powder.
                                12. Enjoy!!

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: jbyoga

                                  Sounds really rich! How big a tray do you use? Measurements please.

                                  1. re: Sarah

                                    Good question....as I remember a large pyrex baking tray would work....as far as the measurements go they are written in the recipe (metric though..)

                                    1. re: jbyoga

                                      One kilo is two pounds. A liter is a bit less than a quart - but that quantity isn't as critical as the Mascarpone. It sounds like a great recipe.

                                      1. re: Amanita

                                        1 liter-=.26 of a gallon, so its a few tablespoons more than a quart.

                                        1 lb is .45 of a kilo, so 1 kilo is just over 2 lbs.

                                      2. re: jbyoga

                                        Thanks, but I meant measurements of the tray!

                                        1. re: jbyoga

                                          Nothing wrong with pyrex--but any beautiful platter with sides that curve up a bit, is fine as well, and looks great on the table.

                                        2. re: Sarah

                                          It's supposed to be rich...any other way and it would not be a true tiramisu!

                                      3. In my experience it is good to make the tiramishu a day ahead, keeping it in the fridge. It give it time to get firm, otherwise might get too runny.

                                        1. I made my first tiramisu recently, I did a lot of research and came up with my own version which came out good. Here is the link.

                                          1. I make tiramisu a lot. I used to make a version that started with a zabaglione (combine and cook the egg yolks, liquor and sugar together (1 tablespoon of each) over a bagna maria. You have to be sure to continue to whisk the eggs if you do this though, once the egg mixture is hot to the touch, (about 160 degrees), over a bowl of ice water, until the outside of the bowl that has the eggs in it, is cool. Then add mascarpone and a little whipped cream, dunking the ladies fingers in espresso that has sugar added, before it gets cool enough for dipping. Unsweetened cocoa goes over the top.
                                            However, I have switched to the technique of living dangerously, and now use raw organic eggs. I use 8 eggs for 500g of mascarpone, separating the eggs, and being sure not to overwhip the whites. Add 1/2 cup of sugar to the egg yolks and beat until stiff, before folding in the mascarpone. Whip the egg whites just until you have soft peaks. Fold into the yolk mix. Make a pot of espresso (one liquid American cup total) and add about 3 teaspoons of sugar or to taste while still hot. Cool. Add a 1/4 to 1/3 cup of Vin Santo or Marsala. Try to find Pavesini (single layer ladies fingers). Dip them in super quick or they disintegrate. I like to use any beatuiful dish with a good lip on it that is about 8x11. Start with the dipped Pavesini, then spoon in some of the creamy stuff, more cookies, and the rest of the creamy. Sift european style (droste is good) unsweetened cocoa over the top. Refrigerate. An hour in the fridge is fine, but it's always best to wait on adding the cocoa or chocolate until you are ready to serve.

                                            1. PS make a half size version for yourself before the big event, as a test. fayefood.com

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: fayehess

                                                I love to make tiramisu and find it very easy. The first time I made it, several guests including my brother-in-law and sister-in-law had two servings. I also sent them home with some of the leftovers. Turns out they went home and nibbled on more of the dessert late that night. The next morning, my BIL called me ask if my husband and I had a hard time sleeping, which we did. Took me a couple of days to figure out that it was the caffeine effect. So now I use decaf espresso!