Barefoot Contessa’s Tiramisu

Barefoot Contessa's Tiramisu Recipe

If the food gods could create the most perfect dessert, it would combine my three favorite ingredients: espresso, chocolate and dark rum. Surprisingly, Tiramisu is very easy to make, especially since it sounds so fancy and costs $8.95 at an Italian restaurant. If you don’t have an espresso maker, you can just brew super-strong coffee or even use instant espresso granules in a pinch. You can make Tiramisu in a large pan, or as I prefer, in cute little individual dessert cups. These were made in ice cream bowls I found on sale at Marshalls.

The recipe is adapted from Barefoot Contessa, however I have made some minor changes to the recipe. The biggest change that I made was the size of the pan. Ina Garten’s recipe calls for a 9×12 pan. However, I made the recipe 3 times using that sized pan, and each time I ran out of the mascarpone creme and the Espresso Syrup for dipping. Its very frustrating when you’ve run out of an ingredient – especially for this dessert because once you’ve laid the soaked ladyfingers in the pan, you can’t really move them or they fall apart. I’ve been very successful using an 8.5 x 8.5 x 2.5 Pyrex square pan or my individual dessert cups pictured above which hold about 1.5 cup capacity.

I also found that the original recipe left me with runny mascarpone creme – I’ve modified the technique to include whisking the mascarpone to lighten and fluff just a bit. If you don’t soften the mascarpone cheese to room temp before mixing it in, your creme mixture will be lumpy. If you don’t cool your espresso before adding to the egg yolk/sugar, the creme mixture becomes too runny.

In case you do run out of the mascarpone creme before you finish assembly – you can just spread the creme as evenly as you can and then top with whipped creme to cover. I often use whipped creme to add more height to the dessert. Sometimes I sneak a little more dark rum into the whipped creme too!


Barefoot Contessa's Tiramisu

Servings: (serves 6-8) Prep Time: Cook Time:

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa - Family Style


6 extra large egg yolks, at room temperature (or 7 large egg yolks)
1/4 cup sugar
Mascarpone Creme
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup espresso or strong coffee - cooled to room temperature
16 oz mascarpone cheese - softened to room temperature
Espresso Syrup for dipping
1/3 cup dark rum
1 1/2 cups espresso or strong coffee - cooled to room temperature
30-40 Italian lady fingers
Dark chocolate bar, shaved with vegetable peeler
8.5 x 8.5 x 2.5 pan or 6 individual dessert cups (my dessert cups pictured above hold 1.5 cup capacity). If you have a slightly larger or smaller pan, thats ok too.


1. Spoon out the mascarpone into a bowl – with fork or whisk, whisk the mascarpone just a bit to soften and make it easier to mix in later. In your mixer with whisk attachment,whisk yolks and sugar on high for 5 minutes. It should be creamy and light yellow. Lower speed to medium. Add the cooled espresso, rum and marscapone.

2. In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients of the Espresso Syrup together. Set up your assembly line - from left to right:

Ladyfingers - Espresso Syrup - Pan/Indiv Cups - mascarpone Creme

Quickly dip the ladyfinger in the Espresso Syrup - a 2-second dip is all that you need. If you dip too long, too much of the syrup gets absorbed and the ladyfinger will get too soggy to lift out of the bowl. The ladyfinger should still be a little hard - don't worry, they will all soften up in the refrigerator. Line the dipped ladyfingers on the bottom of the pan/cups). Follow this with another layer of dipped ladyfingers. Finish with remaining mascarpone Cream. Sprinkle chocolate shavings on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

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Comments 15

  1. Pingback: Espresso con Panna « Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen

  2. basma

    as Giada chef said cuse lady finger is sweety yuo dont have to use sweetened epressos.
    and i prefer to whisk eggyolks on water bath .
    it is realy easy &deleciuos.

  3. basma


  4. Steve

    Looks wonderful! Living in the rural part of your state (Hardee County) I’ve often wondered what this dessert was that I heard so much about. My question is: can this be made without the alcohol? Or would that defeat the purpose?

  5. Erin

    I am an American living in London and stopped into an Italian bakery (Exeter Street Bakery, to pick up lady fingers for my tiramisu. While I was waiting to pay, 3 other customers as well as the woman working behind the counter randomly said to me “I see you are making tiramisu, you can just go to Starbucks and get a large ‘Mocha’, then let it get cold in the fridge and use that to dip the lady fingers.” Since so many people in the bakery just offered this advice to me without my asking, and they all seemed to be Italian, I did exactly that and it worked out perfectly. I just wanted to offer that suggestion since Starbucks is now everywhere, and you can buy gigantic size drinks that should have enough liquid to soak all of your lady fingers. You can add alcohol too it if you like, but it’s also great without.

  6. Blue Fish

    I used this recipe yesterday and it turned out wonderful. The only thing is the lady fingers weren’t soak enough … should I double the liquid?
    Overall, this is a good recipe since Tiramisu is my fav dessert of all =)

    Doubling the liquid would make the cake too soggy – try 1.25 times the liquid recipe? Just be careful not to use too much ~j

  7. Steve

    Jaden, I’ve never even made Tiramisu but my new girlfriend is a huge fan!As a novice I have been trawling the internet and found one Tiramisu Recipe
    using a combination of Tia Maria, Kahlua and Amaretto. My girlfriend isn’t a fan of any of these or dark rum!:s Could you suggest any other alcohol that can be used in the recipe?

  8. Natasha

    I make my Tiramisu with the same recipe by the Barefoot Contessa and it’s a hit every time! I had the same problem with the pan size but luckily my pan was deep enough that I decided to create a 3 layer tiramisu rather than the 2 layers as directed to do so in the recipe. My 1st batch had an excess of Rum but ohhh how delicious it was! 😉

  9. Kelly

    I’ve been tempted to make Tiramisu several times however I’ve frightened off by the raw egg yolks. What are the chances of catching salmonella from that?

  10. ~V~

    I have been afraid to use the raw egg yolk in the past as well, but for some reason the sugar (with in the sugar/egg mixture) “cooks” the egg yolk.

  11. Anurafha

    What are the proportions to make super strong coffee as required for this recipe if one doesn’t have a machine? Can I do that with instant coffee?

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