There is a reason Tiramisu garners unfailing loyalty—imagine silky clouds of cocoa-dusted mascarpone meticulously piped across hidden coffee-soaked ladyfinger biscuits that also as a touch of coffee liqueur, rum or cognac for a little kick.
There are many tales charting Tiramisu’s origins, but the most intriguing one is that it was made inside brothels in the northern town of Treviso, in the Veneto region. In an attempt to use up leftover sponge cakes, a cook’s chance experiment resulted in him pouring a mixture of egg yolks, sugar, coffee, sweet wine and chocolate powder, over the cakes nobody wanted. The prostitutes at the inn as well as an aristocrat client loved this new recipe. To honour the memorable night that followed in, courtesy of the potent dessert, the nobleman named the creation Tiramisu, which in Italian means “pick me up”.
Another theory suggests that this creamy dessert was invented in the 1940s by a young cook called Mario Cosolo from the town of San Canzian d’Isonzo. He served his ‘Coppa Vetturino’ or Vetturino’s Cup dessert inside an oval long-stem wine glass, as a semi-frozen dessert. One evening, an ecstatic client praised him for the dessert, saying it “literally lifted me up” (in this case, sexually aroused him). And that’s how the name was born: ‘tirime su’ in local Friuli dialect.
Despite its disputed origin, Italy’s most ritualistically constructed dessert still maintains its popularity even in an era when deconstruction is taking over.
Here are 6 different Tiramisu dessert recipes to keep the sugar rush flowing:
Nigella Lawson’s Irish Cream Tiramisu Recipe
A perfect grown-up treat, Nigella Lawson’s Tiramisu variation is a boozy affair. “I've long been tinkering about with a bottle of Bailey's, seeing how it could best be called upon in the kitchen, and I think, with this, I've found it. An Italian friend of mine, who makes a killer tiramisu herself, was an instant convert,” she writes in her cookbook Nigella Express. The only part we don’t like about this recipe is that it asks to be kept refrigerated overnight! So, patience plays key here.
Sugar-free Strawberry Tiramisu Recipe by Sandra Woodruff
For a fresh and fruity take on the classic Tiramisu dessert, this variation is eggless and cheese-less. Apart from adding an aphrodisiac vibe of the dessert, the strawberries help add a pop of colour making the dessert oh-so appetising and appealing. Here’s the Strawberry Tiramisu recipe from Sandra Woodruff’s Diabetic Dream Desserts
For the Pudding mixture:
2 cups non-fat or low-fat milk
1 package sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, brought to room temperature
For the berry mixture:
2 1/4 cup frozen strawberries, coarsely chopped and thawed
Sugar substitute equal to 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp coffee liqueur
1 cup plus 2 tbsp nonfat or light whipped topping
3/4 tsp cocoa powder
1. In a medium bowl, add in the milk and pudding mix. Using an electric mixer, beat at medium speed for about 2 minutes. Beat in the cream cheese and set aside.
2. Combine the strawberry and their juices and the sugar substitute in a small bowl and set aside.
3. To assemble the tiramisu, place 1 1/2 tablespoons of the strawberry mixture at the bottom of a wine glass. Crumble 3/4 of the ladyfinger over the berry into the glass. Drizzle 1 ½ teaspoon of the liqueur over the ladyfinger layer and then cover with 3 tablespoons of the pudding mixture. Repeat the berry, ladyfinger, liqueur and pudding layer.
4. Spread 3 tablespoons of the whipped topping over the top of the dessert and sift some of the cocoa on top. Cover and chill for at least 1 1/2 hours before serving.
Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Quick and Eggless Tiramisu Recipe
Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Tiramisu is made using Mascarpone cheese, dark chocolate, Marsala wine, sponge fingers, heavy cream, cold coffee and sugar. And it takes only a total of 15 minutes to prepare. Both, the mascarpone cheese as well as sponge biscuits or ladyfinger biscuits can easily be sourced online through e-commerce websites such as Amazon or Nature’s Basket. If you’d want to give this no-bake, eggless Tiramisu recipe a try, don’t forget to check Gordon Ramsay’s blog.
Shivesh Bhatia’s Eggless, No-Alcohol Tiramisu Recipe in a Cup
If you’re looking for a creamy, airy, light and melt-in-the-mouth Tiramisu recipe for one, trust Delhi-based home baker Shivesh Bhatia’s Tiramisu recipe. “The kick of coffee, the texture of the ladyfinger biscuits and the creaminess of the mascarpone cheese work beautifully together,” writes the blogger-Instagrammer on his blog. He suggests you at least give your tiramisu a good 4-5 hours of rest in the refrigerator before digging into it.
Mimosa Tiramisu Recipe by Hannah Kaminsky
“Instead of just drinking mimosa with your brunch, now you can eat one too. With this play on the tiramisu, orange takes the place of espresso and champagne is used instead of coffee liqueur,” writes Hannah Kaminsky in her book, Vegan Desserts: Sumptuous Sweets for Every Season. Here’s the recipe for a vegan Tiramisu, one that also involves a little bubbly!
2 batches ladyfinger biscuits
For the syrup:
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 granulated sugar
1/4 cup Champagne
For the ricotta:
1/2 cup Macadamia nuts, unsalted
1 12-ounce package extra-firm Silken Tofu
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp Orange juice
1/4 tsp Vanilla
a pinch of salt
Orange zest, for garnish
1. To prepare the syrup, simply combine the orange juice, water and sugar in a small saucepan, and place over medium heat.
2. Whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved. Take off the heat and add the champagne. Set aside
3. For the macadamia ricotta, start by tossing the nuts into your food processor or blender, and blend for about 5-10 minutes or until you get a smooth paste. Drain any excess water from the tofu, before adding it into the blender and pureeing it again.
4. Scrape down the sides to make sure you’re not missing any lumps and then add the sugar, orange juice, vanilla and salt.
5. Pulse to combine so that the mixture is smooth and homogeneous.
6. When ready to assemble the Tiramisu, dip the ladyfingers into the mimosa syrup for not more than 2 seconds each.
7. Arrange the soaked cookies at the bottom of an 8-inch square pan, cutting them to fit if necessary.
8. Pour half of the Macadamia ricotta over the biscuits, smooth into an even layer and then add another layer of the mimosa-soaked biscuits.
9. Smooth another layer of the ricotta and refrigerate the pan for at least 4 hours or overnight so that the flavours can meld.
10. Top with orange zest or white chocolate curls before serving. You can also prepare this as mini trifles in smaller, individual dishes.
Matcha Tiramisu Recipe by Rie
Creamy, rich, and bursting with bold matcha flavours, this modern take on the classic Tiramisu has no ladyfinger biscuits and instead encourages you to bake your own cake from the scratch. Matcha is a great swap for coffee and cocoa in a tiramisu. It has such a lovely colour as well, writes Rie in her book, Happy Home Baker. Here’s her Matcha Tiramisu recipe:
80 g sweetened red bean paste
Matcha, for dusting
For the Matcha Genoise Sponge:
6 g matcha, sifted
62 g cake flour
12 g unsalted butter
3 ½ tsp milk
65 g caster sugar
15 g glucose
For the matcha syrup:
30 g caster sugar
2 g match
60 ml hot water
180 g whipping cream
40 g condensed milk
180 g mascarpone cheese
To prepare matcha syrup: place sugar in a bowl and sift in matcha. Add hot water and whisk until all is well-combined. Set aside.
To prepare matcha genoise sponge:
1. Sift matcha and flour together twice.
2. Over a bain-marie, whisk all the wet cake ingredients while adding in the sugar, little by little. When the batter doubles up in volume, add in the sifted flour and matcha. Mix using a spatula. Butter a 15-cm square cake tin before pouring the mixture into it and then bake for 20-25 minutes.
3. Invert into a wine rack and leave in the cake tin for a few minutes. Unmould, flip the cake over and cover in a tea towel. Allow to cool completely. Slice cooled cake into halves horizontally and set aside.
To prepare mascarpone mousse:
1. Using an electric mixer, whisk together the whipping cream and condensed milk on high speed until soft peak forms. Refrigerate until needed.
2. In another bowl, whisk mascarpone cheese lightly. Add ½ cup of whipping cream mixture and whisk to combine. Add this mixture to the remaining whipping cream mixture and fold in using a spatula.
3. To assemble, tightly wrap the bottom of the cake tin with cling wrap and then place on a cake stand.
4. Place 1 layer of the cake inside the cake ring and brush with matcha syrup. Spread ¼ of mascarpone mousse and spread evenly on top, followed by red bean paste. Cover evenly with another ¼ mascarpone mousse.
5. Place the next layer of cake on top and follow the same process. Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours.
6. When ready to serve, remove the cake from the tin ring, cut into slices and dust with some matcha powder on top.