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Best Tiramisu

Master this creamy, make-ahead Italian dessert.
Master this creamy, make-ahead Italian dessert.TODAY
Prep Time:
30 mins

Chef notes

Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts and it's actually a lot easier to prepare than you think. It's great because you can make it the night before a party. The layered creamy textures and gentle flavors of vanilla and mascarpone balances perfectly with bold espresso and rich cocoa. It doesn't take too long to assemble, but for optimal results, it must sit for at least six hours. 

Swap option: Use brandy instead of Marsala.


  • 2 cups espresso or strong coffee, freshly brewed
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 6 large egg yolks (reserve whites)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine
  • 1 (16-ounce) container mascarpone, room temperature
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 30 ladyfingers or more (see technique tip)
  • Cocoa powder, for garnish



In a 4-cup liquid measuring cup, stir in the espresso, ¼ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon of vanilla until the sugar is dissolved. Allow mixture to cool.


In a medium-sized saucepan, bring an inch of water to a gentle simmer.


In a stand mixer bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, salt, marsala, ½ teaspoon vanilla and ¼ cup of sugar until well combined.


Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk until the mixture is slightly warm to the touch and the sugar is completely dissolved. Do not overheat or the eggs will curdle.


Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture until thickened and cooled, about 5 minutes.


Add the mascarpone and whip until combined. The mixture should be smooth. Do not over-whip or it may break.


Meanwhile, in a large, clean bowl, combine the egg whites and remaining ¼ cup of sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.


Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture.


To assemble, quickly dunk the ladyfingers into the coffee mixture.


Trimming as necessary, lay the ladyfingers side by side in a 7-by-11-inch casserole dish, until the bottom of the dish is covered. 


Spoon half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers and smooth with an offset spatula. Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers and cream.


Wrap the casserole dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.


Before serving, lightly dust the top of the tiramisu with a fine layer of cocoa powder.