Tiramisu Recipe ~ Heaven on a Dessert Plate ~ Daring Baker’s Challenge

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

When my friend Aparna told me she and Deeba were co hosting the DB challenge this month, I thought it would be a good time to shirk off the lethargy and get daring again. I went over to the forum to check out the challenge and almost had a heart attack that they’d chosen Tiramisu. I mean, yeah they are fabulous bakers and very daring and each of their creations seem better than the other…. but what the heck were they thinking when they decided on tiramisu? For one, mascarpone cheese is something i’d have to give my left arm to buy in Hyderabad, that too for a 100 gm tub and I wasn’t willing to think that the homemade route was good enough. And then there were almost 4 components that had to be made from scratch…. I am telling you, these two were baying for my blood….Tiramisu is something you order for dessert at a fine dining restaurant, not make from scratch….

I kept going back to the forum and took comfort in the fact that many of the DBers had issues and I kept telling myself it was too complicated to handle….A week before reveal date, I finally made the mascarpone because I was having a rough day and nothing like pottering in the kitchen to calm me down…I stuck it in the freezer cos I was still not convinced that I would do the whole thing.

2 days before reveal date, I said to myself…. ah!! Not enough time…. lets just forget about the whole thing…. and so many eggs!! No ways… by the end of the day however, I found myself coaxing my double boiler not to scramble the eggs and was frantically whisking away at the pastry cream and the zabaglione…..see I cant even pronounce it properly!

Its a good thing these components can be made ahead, cos if they asked to be made all together, there was no way in hell I would have done it. To be fair to the tiramisu recipe, each of the components, the zabaglione, the pastry cream and the mascarpone, took about 15 minutes individually to make. When I was done, I felt quite ridiculous I was making a mountain of a mole hill. My bane is the part which calls for whipping anything into stiff peaks…. both the whipped cream and the egg whites, had me at hello. With a bad shoulder, this isn’t the best activity to indulge in… But I did so, cos all I could think of was sinking into some of this heavenly dessert by this time!!

I didn’t get to style my tiramisu as well as the other DBers did and some of their creations are worthy of being put into a tiramisu special recipe book. But taste wise, this was one of the best I’ve had. I must admit that the zabaglione put me off when I was making it with the eggy odour and I kept sniffing at it till I blended it into the tiramisu, miraculously the odour disappeared, and all that remained was creamy goodness!!

The labour that goes into making this is well worth it. And this makes for a very fancy party dessert. I used port wine, filter coffee decoction and halved the entire recipe. I set it in individual wine (shot 60 ml) glasses and one serving in a juice glass. i got 6 small servings and one abotu 100 mls… i dusted the tops with cocoa powder and shaved white chocolate.

Will I make it again? Yes…. for sure!!

Thanks Aparna and Deeba for getting me out of my slumber fest and for graciously hosting this challenge…. Well done and more power to you!!


Recipe source: Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007)

This recipe makes 6 servings


For the zabaglione:

2 large egg yolks

3 tablespoons sugar/50gms

1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)

1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:

1/4 cup/55gms sugar

1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:

1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)

1/4 cup/55gms sugar

1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:

2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed (I used diluted filter coffee)

1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)

1/2 cup/110gms sugar

1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese

36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)

2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder


For the zabaglione:

Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.

In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.

Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.

Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream:

Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.

Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.

Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)

Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:

Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:

Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do) or one of your choice.

Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.

Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.

Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.

Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.

To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

Source: Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
This recipe makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese
474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
Vera’s notes: The first time I made mascarpone I had all doubts if it’d been cooked enough, because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.
Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2″ to 3″ long) ladyfingers.
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner’s sugar,


Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5″ long and 3/4″ wide strips leaving about 1″ space in between the strips.
Sprinkle half the confectioner’s sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Sunshinemom says:

    After all that hallaballoo you come up with a dreamy version! Your tiramisu is quite a looker despite not having jazzed up too much:)

  2. ambica says:

    wonderful pics babes 🙂

    1. arundati says:

      thank you babe!! awesome coming from you… 🙂

  3. Aparna says:

    See why we chose Tiramisu. It got you moving, didn’t it? LOL
    Seriously, your Tiramisu looks lovely, good enough to be in that book you were talking about.
    You should have known we (at least I) wouldn’t choose somethig which required hours in the kitchen. 🙂

    And thanks for all those nice things you said about me (us). 😉

  4. Parita says:

    Gorgeous pictures and very nice presentation !!

  5. Swapna says:


    You are my hero…Bravo !girl,…….. !!!!!

    That looks decadent…. how did you manage to get all the ingredients?

    1. arundati says:

      Darling girl… you didn’t read the entire post did you? just drooled over the pictures and ran away?? its home made…. from scratch…. even the mascarpone cheese babe….and the next time someone tells you its impossible to make tiramisu from scratch, swot them with a wooden spoon will you? try it… its very rewarding!!

  6. Rupa says:

    hey Anu, looks wonderful….Am so proud of you….Seriously…Tiramisu is something we order and you made it at home…you truly rock lady 🙂

    1. arundati says:

      thanks sweety…. yeah i too only order it…. its not too difficult to make if you plan ahead….something i am very slowly trying to practice!!

  7. deeba says:

    I’m doing the Tiramisu dance. Yay you… love it! Well done A. Grabbing the power and wll hopefully entice you into such divinities in future! Love the servings!!

    1. arundati says:

      🙂 thanks for being such a gracious hostess…. who even has a special tiramisu dance for the completion of this challenge!! 🙂 xoxo

  8. Happy Cook says:

    Seeing these ttiramisu i want to have them again. It indeed was a delicous recipe andI one for sure gonna make the recipe again and again.

    1. arundati says:

      it was awesome wasnt it?? yummmy

  9. Swati says:

    oh god… it looks divine. and intimidating!!! i dont think i can ever attempt a tiramisu! ur a wondergirl arundati 🙂 and i jus wish i could have had a bite of the inviting tiramisu. love the wine glass touch 🙂

    1. arundati says:

      thanks swati…. infact i was so intimidated, i waited till the end of the month to finish the challenge…. and trust me, breaking up the elements and working ahead meant that it was quite a breeze…. try it, am sure you will love it!!

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