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Italian tiramisù.

The Best Italian Tiramisù

This recipe for the best Italian tiramisù appears as part of the Fine Dining Lovers series, The Secrets of Italian Food, with London-based Italian chef, Danilo Cortellini.

The tiramisu is probably the best-known Italian dessert, using a simple combination of eggs, cream, egg whites, sugar, and of course lady fingers dipped in coffee and/or liquor. Said to have originated in Treviso in the Italian north around 1800, it is said to have been invented as an aphrodisiac to entice paying customers into a 'house of pleasure' in the city.

Discover how to make the best version of this beloved dessert here.


07 November, 2022
Average: 3.9 (28 votes)


serves for


total time

0 HR 20 MIN


For the savoiardi biscuits (makes around 30)
Flour 00
Fine salt
A pinch
Lemon zest
Icing sugar
To dust
For the mascarpone mousse
Egg yolks
6 (large)
Passito wine
Caster sugar
Mascarpone cheese
Whipped cream
To build the tiramisù
Bitter cocoa powder
To dust (or grated dark chocolate)

Watch the video

Step 01

Separating the eggs and whipping the whites with sugar.

For the savoiardi (prepare in advance)

Separate the eggs, whip the whites with sugar and a little pinch of salt until very firm. 

Step 02

Incorporating yolks into the whipped whites. 

Beat the yolks and incorporate very gently into the whipped whites. 

Step 03

Folding the sifted flour in with a spatula.

Fold the sifted flour in gradually with a spatula until smooth but still airy and add the lemon zest.

Step 04

Filling the pastry bag.

Place the mixture into a pastry bag. 

Step 05

Piping the mixture.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and pipe the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking tray to create 8cm-long logs. 

Step 06

Dusting the savoiardi with sugar.

Dust the savoiardi with sugar first, followed by icing sugar, and bake for 6-7 minutes until golden. When ready, open the oven door and let them cool there to dry them well.

Step 07

Beating the yolks with sugar and passito wine.

For the mascarpone mousse

Beat the yolks with the sugar and the passito wine in a heatproof bowl. 

Step 08

Cooking the mixture in a bain-marie.

Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water to create a bain-marie. Cook and whisk until it becomes a pale and fluffy sabayon – about 4 minutes on very low heat. Make sure the water never reaches boiling. 

Keep cooking the sabayon for a few more minutes until it reaches a custard consistency or 80°C.

Remove from the heat and cool down in a separate bowl but do not refrigerate.

Step 09

Combing the mascarpone and sabayon.

Beat the mascarpone with a whisk to make it creamy, and gradually incorporate the sabayon. 

Step 10

Folding in the whipped cream.

Now fold the whipped cream in gently.

Set the mascarpone mousse in the fridge to firm up for a couple of hours.

Do not discard the egg whites. Instead, keep them in the fridge for a few days. They can be used for many other recipes.

Step 11

Adding coffee.

To build the tiramisù

Dip the savoiardi into the coffee with a splash of amaretto, and let them soak for 2 seconds. Don’t overdo it or the biscuits will be too soggy. 

Step 12

Building the tiramisù.

Cover the base of the tray with the mascarpone mousse and place the savoiardi on top.

Step 13

Layering the tiramisù.

Repeat the operation to create more layers. 

Step 14

Finishing the tiramisù.

When you have reached the top of the tray, finish off with a dust of bitter cocoa powder or grated dark chocolate just before serving.



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Chef Danilo Cortellini

Danilo Cortellini

Cortellini is the head chef at the Italian Embassy in London, and founder of Tiramisoo Events, a London-based catering and events company w