This recipe for tiramisù is a riff on the original recipe from Treviso. I recently participated in the Tiramisu World Cup with chefs from around the world. Each participant demonstrated their own version of tiramisu. The recipes ranged from the authentic recipe for tiramisu, to more exotic versions.
I’ve read a lot of recipes for tiramisu, but they have additional ingredients like egg whites and whipped cream. You’ll find the the original recipe for tiramisu here. (As an Amazon Affiliate, I receive commission on qualifying purchases)
Where did tiramisù originate?
Tiramisù was created in Treviso, which is in the Veneto region of Italy. Surprisingly it’s not a particularly old Italian dish. It was first put on the menu of “Alle Beccherie”, a restaurant in Treviso, by Lolly Linguanotto, the chef and owner in late 1969. A dozen or so years later it was further publicized by Giuseppe Maffioli in his book about the cuisine of Treviso. If you’d like to read more about the history of tiramisù, visit the Accademia del Tiramisù website. The website is in Italian, but there’s an option to translate at the top. It’s also where the original recipe for tiramisù can be found.
What ingredients are in authentic tiramisù?
Tiramisù requires no baking, and contains only a few ingredients. The original recipe’s ingredients are:
Ladyfingers or savoiardi
That’s it! No egg whites, no whipping cream and no liqueur.
How is this tiramisù recipe different from the original?
I wanted this recipe to stay as close to the original recipe as possible, but I had a concern with folding the raw eggs and sugar mixture into the mascarpone. Unless I’m very sure of where I get my eggs, I worry a bit about salmonella. So for American cooks who might also have similar concerns, I added one extra step and tempered my yolks over a bain-marie, or water bath. If you have a double boiler, you can use that, but for this preparation, I wanted to really be able to whip the yolks, so I put a bowl inside of a saucepan.
I also wanted to give it a slight twist. My inspiration for this recipe comes from another region of Italy, the Langhe, in Piemonte. I traveled to Piemonte two year ago, and one of the highlights was a visit to a winery which had a hazelnut grove.
Underneath the hazelnut trees were truffles, so this trip was a triple win; wine, hazelnuts and truffles! You can read about my visit to the Langhe here. I decided to add a layer of candied hazelnuts to my trifle and soak the biscuits in espresso and Frangelico, (a hazelnut liqueur)
How do you make this tiramisù?
For this recipe, there are two extra steps. First you’ll need some candied hazelnuts (recipe follows), then you’ll need to temper the egg yolks. Those extra steps will add an additional 20 minutes to the process. (It’s still a super fast dessert though!)
First candy the hazelnuts. (see recipe below). Separate a few for decoration. In a food processor, pulse the remaining hazelnuts until they are chopped.
Then temper the yolks by whisking the sugar and yolks together, and then over a water bath, gently cook the yolks while the water is a bare simmer.
You don’t want to cook them, just get them to a safe temperature. It will be thick and creamy. Once you’ve tempered the egg yolks you can fold them into the whipped mascarpone.
Whip the mascarpone, just to loosen it and give it some volume, about 1 minute.
Then fold the tempered egg yolks into the mascarpone, and whip the two briefly to combine.
Then it’s time to assemble!
Mix the cold espresso and hazelnut liqueur together in a shallow dish.
Dip the ladyfingers briefly in the espresso and hazelnut liqueur. You don’t want to soak them! I’ve seen recipes that actually say to pour the leftover espresso over the lady fingers! Francesco Redi from the Tiramisu Club in Treviso says you should count to three for the “dip” but do NOT to soak them!
Next, put a layer of ladyfingers in an 8″ x 8″ baking dish. (It can also be a little bit larger or smaller) This bowl is slightly smaller than an 8″ x 8″ square baking dish, but it is prettier. You can break them in two to fit the dish.
Spread half of the mascarpone and egg yolk mixture over the lady fingers.
Sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of the candied hazelnuts.
Repeat the process with the ladyfingers and mascarpone.
Refrigerate for a least 4 hours, but it definitely does taste better a day (or two) later when the biscuits have had a chance to soften and all the flavors meld.
While it’s tempting to want to add a layer of cocoa powder right away, the cocoa powder is traditionally added just before serving. The same applies to the candied hazelnuts which should be added to each serving or to the whole tiramisù if you are presenting the dessert as part of a buffet.
How long does tiramisù last?
This is another good reason to temper the egg yolks. When using raw yolks, the tiramisù will only last a day. This recipe will stay fresh for at least three days.
Tiramisu (with Hazelnut liqueur)
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl for 2 minutes or until well mixed.
- Make a bain-marie, or water bath with a saucepan filled halfway up water. Place the bowl so it rests on the saucepan, but not on the water. Bring the water to a boil and reduce heat to a slow boil. Whisk the egg and sugar mixture constantly for about 8 minutes or until the eggs reach a temperature of 160° F.
- Remove eggs from heat and allow to cool about 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile using a hand mixer, whip the mascarpone for about 2 minutes. Add egg mixture and whip another minute, or until combined.
- Combine espresso and hazelnut liqueur together in a shallow dish.
- Dip each ladyfinger briefly (count to 3) in espresso mixture and place them in a layer on the bottom of an 8" x 8" baking dish. Break biscuits to fit.
- Spread half of the mascarpone cream over the top of the biscuits
- Sprinkle crushed, candied hazelnuts over the top of the cream.
- Repeat with a second layer of ladyfingers, laying them in the opposite direction. Break the biscuits in half in order to fit them in the baking dish.
- Top with remaining mascarpone cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours. (Over-night is better)
- Just before serving dust with unsweetened cocoa powder and decorate with remaining candied hazelnuts if desired.
Here’s the quick recipe for candied hazelnuts. After pouring them out on a cookie sheet, quickly separate several hazelnuts with 2 forks. As you pull them apart, there will be little sugar strings. You’ll need about 9 for a 8″ by 8″ pan.
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts blanched and toasted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon water
- Combine water and sugar in a small pan over medium high heat, swirling until sugar dissolves. Continue swirling until sugar begins to turn a medium golden color.
- Add hazelnuts and stir with a spoon until they are completely coated.
- Pour nuts onto a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper.
- Working quickly with two forks, separate enough nuts to decorate the top of the tiramisu.
- When remaining nuts are cool, pulse them in a food processor a few times to break up large pieces. They should look like this.
If you love hazelnuts, you’ll love this Three Nut Tart!