If you’re like us and you like a good dessert every now and then, you won’t be disappointed with true Italian tiramisu. This sweet and creamy coffee-flavored dessert is easy to make and goes great with sweet white wine! Learn more about tiramisu or scroll to the bottom to view our family’s version of the best authentic Italian tiramisu recipe!
Is Tiramisu Italian?
Yes, most definitely. Tiramisu is an Italian favorite that dates back to generations before Italy even had electricity! During this antiquated time, many grandmothers prepared tiramisu as a breakfast. In the modern day such a breakfast might be considered poor, but back then was very rich! Made with just a few ingredients, true Italian tiramisu recipes remain unchanged and are just as delicious as we remember our grandmothers’ recipes.
To make Italian tiramisu, take a fresh egg and break it into a glass, beat in sugar, add a little coffee (or alternatively hot milk for your youngsters), and for a finishing touch, add marsala or a bit of anise. These simple ingredients are easy to find at local grocery stores or markets and are the base of the ‘mascarpone cream’ where tiramisu was born!
While traditional tiramisu is the most popular and well-loved Italian dessert, its excellent taste and composition has inspired other variations: strawberry and lemon tiramisu, Nutella tiramisu, and even eggless tiramisu! If you find tiramisu cake or soft tart, you have found one of the more refined reimaginings of tiramisu.
The Veneto, Piedmont, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Tuscany regions of Italy dispute the origins of tiramisu – all claim invention of the delicious dessert! Although no one knows exactly where or who invented tiramisu, all agree it is a foundational classic of Italian cuisine, one that is prepared in kitchens all over Italy, and now all over the world.
What does Tiramisu Mean in Italian?
As Venetians ourselves, we root for the Veneto origin of tiramisu. The word “Tiramisù” means “lift me up, strengthen my body”. It comes from the Treviso (one of the provinces of Veneto) word “Tireme su”, Italianized in “Tiramisù” near the end of the last century.
To get a better understanding of authentic Italian tiramisu, we asked local grandmothers and even great-grandmothers (in general women over 80 years old) what they thought about tiramisu. They told us they made this dessert well before the 1950s for family and friends. Before electricity and refrigerators were commonplace, tiramisu was consumed solely in the province of Treviso and its surrounding areas.
Made with coffee and sugar, true Italian tiramisu gave loved ones energy! Nowadays, tiramisu is enjoyed primarily as dessert, and a delectable treat at that!
View our family’s Italian tiramisu recipe below.
- ¾ Cup of Sugar (170 g)
- 5 eggs at room temperature (separated by egg yolks and whites) (75 g)
- 26 Individual Savoiardi Ladyfingers/Biscuits (can be found on Amazon, at Walmart or other grocery stores)
- 2 Cups + 1 Tbsp Mascarpone cheese (500 g)
- 1 ¼ Cups Coffee, sweetened to your tasting (300 g)
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
HOW TO MAKE TIRAMISU
Note: In order to give your coffee time to cool during the next steps, go ahead and brew a pot of coffee and pour into a dish to let cool at room temperature.
- The first step to authentic Italian tiramisu is to start with the 5 or so very fresh eggs. Carefully separate the egg whites from the egg yolks and place in two separate bowls. To whip the egg whites well, there must not be any trace of yolk.
- Next, whip the egg yolks with an electric whisk, pouring in half of the sugar and mixing together.
- As soon as the mixture becomes light and fluffy, you can slowly incorporate the mascarpone cheese a little at a time with the whips still running. Once all of the mascarpone cheese has been fully incorporated, you should have a thick, compact cream; place it aside.
- Wash the whisks very well and in a separate bowl, beat the egg whites always in the same direction, pouring the remaining sugar a little at a time. Make sure to mix firmly and very important to not change direction while mixing.
- Once mixed well, using a medium spoon, take a spoonful of the egg white mixture and place it into the first bowl (egg yolks, sugar, and mascarpone cheese). Mix vigorously with a spatula so the mixture dissolves.
- Continue adding spoonfuls of the egg white mixture, a little at a time, mixing gently with the spatula from the bottom to the top.
- Once you’ve added and mixed the remaining egg white mixture, distribute a generous spoonful of cream to the bottom of a 9×13 inch (or 30x20cm) glass or ceramic baking dish. Distribute well.
- Next, if you haven’t already, sweeten your coffee as you prefer, and let cool at room temperature or place in the fridge to cool. Once the coffee is cold, dip the Savoiardi Ladyfingers for a few seconds so both sides of the cookie/pastry are soaked in the coffee.
- Once finished soaking in coffee, go ahead and place each ladyfinger on the cream, all in one direction, making the next layer for your tiramisu. Keep the ladyfinger layer as level as possible, and then add another layer of the mascarpone cream. Distribute evenly so you have a smooth surface.
- Continue to add a layer of the ladyfingers soaked in coffee followed by a layer of cream.
- Level the top cream surface and sprinkle with unsweetened cocoa powder and place in the refrigerator to harden.
- In just a couple of hours, the best authentic tiramisu will be ready to be enjoyed!
How to Store Tiramisu
While our family loves this classic tiramisu recipe and it’s usually eaten in one sitting, we understand you may have leftovers. To store tiramisu, make sure it is well covered and kept in the refrigerator. It will last 2 days at most. You can also place in the freezer and eat within two weeks of freezing.
What Goes Well with Tiramisu?
As a creamy, sweet dessert tiramisu is best paired with a sweet white wine. You can make the tiramisu sweeter by adding more sugar to the coffee that the ladyfingers are soaked in. However, if you like really sweet wine, try only using minimal sugar in the coffee for the recipe. This will help give a better balance. Our favorite wine pairing for tiramisu is definitely Moscato!
Why Moscato is the Perfect Wine for Tiramisu
Naturally sweet with no added sugars, our Candoni Moscato is the perfect Italian wine for tiramisu. This wine gets its sweetness from 100% Moscato Bianco grapes from Pavia, an ideal location for cultivating premium Moscato. Our Moscato semi-sparkling white wine offers a harmonious combination of crispness and fruitiness and pairs well with other desserts and pastries. While your opinion may differ when it comes to the best sweet Italian wine, our family prefers Moscato for many reasons.
Don’t take our word for it though, trust the judges from the San Antonio Wine Competition who tasted 1500 different entries last year and awarded Candoni Moscato with a Silver Medal. While you’re out buying the ingredients for our family’s true Italian tiramisu, look for our Moscato at a store near you. Your taste buds will thank you!
Barbara and Caterina
Frequently Asked Questions about Tiramisu
Is tiramisu Italian?
Tiramisu is an Italian dish that was originally made for breakfast, and is now a famous dessert across the world. No one knows exactly who created it, but Italians have been making tiramisu since before electricity was invented.
How to make Italian tiramisu?
To make Italian tiramisu, you create a mascarpone cream base with fresh eggs and sugar and layer it with Ladyfinger cookies dipped in coffee. Top with unsweetened cocoa powder, store in the fridge for a couple of hours, and enjoy!
What kind of wine goes with tiramisu?
The best wine to pair with tiramisu is a sweet white wine, preferably an Italian Moscato. The naturally sweet yet crisp wine complements the creamy and coffee flavored textures of the tiramisu.
Does tiramisu have alcohol?
Tiramisu can be prepared with alcohol if you’d like. However, we prefer classic ingredients for our Italian tiramisu and pair the dessert with a sweet, semi-sparkling Moscato.