Skip to main content

Classic Tiramisu

25 minutes, plus chilling
6-8 servings

A classic tiramisu can be sublime if done right. Tiramisu is a creamy dessert made with espresso-soaked ladyfingers and topped with whipped cream and rich mascarpone. You can either buy espresso from a coffee shop or make your own. You have two options when it comes to ladyfingers: make your own or purchase them. Keep in mind, however, that the softness of store-bought varieties may vary from soft and fluffy (like angel food cakes) to crunchy and hard (like biscotti). You can use either one of these varieties, but you should stick to a gentle brushing of espresso instead of a deep dip.


  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup/100g granulated sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup/227g mascarpone (8 ounces).
  • 1 3/4 cups good espresso or very strong coffee
  • 2 tablespoons cognac or rum
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa butter
  • Around 24 ladyfingers (from a 7-ounce/200g package
  • For shaving (optional), 1 to 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate


  • In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to whip egg yolks with 1/4 cup/50g sugar until they are pale yellow. Then, increase the volume by about three times. When the beaters or whisk attachment are lifted from the bowl, a slight ribbon should form. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Wipe out the bowl that was used to whip the yolks.
  • Whip cream in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup/50g sugar until you get soft-medium peaks. Continue whipping until you have a soft, spreadable mixture that is easy to spread. Fold the mascarpone mixture in the sweetened eggs yolks until it is well combined.
  • Mix espresso and rum together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Use a sifter to dust the bottom of a 2-quart baking pan (or an 8×8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan) with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.
  • Each ladyfinger should be dipped in the espresso mixture one at a.m. Continue this process with half of the ladyfingers until you have an even layer. You can break the ladyfingers in half if necessary (a little room is okay). Spread half of the mascarpone mixture on the ladyfingers. Continue with the remaining espresso-dipped ladyfingers, mascarpone mix and another layer.
  • Top layer with the remaining tablespoon of cocoa powder. If desired, top with finely grated or shaved chocolate.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it chill in the fridge for at least four hours. If you have the luxury of waiting 24 hours, even better.