Can't get enough tiramisu? Check out 10 great ways to customize this luscious dessert, plus tips on techniques and substitutions home cooks love.
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Italian tiramisu might look complicated, but it's actually pretty easy to make at home. In fact, it's so easy that home cooks can't help tinkering with it to come up with their own creative takes on this decadent dessert. To show you how easy it is to make tiramisu at home, I'll share a classic tiramisu recipe and several variations, with plenty of prep tips along the way.

What is Tiramisu?

At its most basic, Italian tiramisu is a luscious dessert made with ladyfinger cookies dipped in coffee and layered with rich mascarpone cheese whipped with egg yolks. Sometimes Marsala wine or a liqueur is added to the coffee to booze it up, and sometimes the tiramisu is topped with grated chocolate or cocoa powder.

Fun Food Fact

According to The New Food Lover's Companion, "tiramisu" translates as "carry me up" or "pick me up," with the implication that you're being carried up to heaven. Which, of course, tends to happen when you eat a heavenly dessert like tiramisu.

10 Creative Ways to Enjoy Tiramisu

Let's start with a very simple twist: This is a traditional preparation of the classic dessert, but with the addition of coffee liqueur brushed onto the ladyfinger cookies for another layer of flavor.

Tip: NANNOUSE found it helpful to build the tiramisu in a cheesecake pan and chill it in the fridge overnight to make it easy to pop out the next morning.

Watch the video to get step-by-step instructions to cook the egg yolks and construct a classic tiramisu.

This is one of our most popular tiramisu recipes, and calls for using rum instead of Marsala wine. LisaC says that after refrigerating hers overnight, it was "better than any tiramisu I've ever tasted."

Tip: Lining your pan with plastic wrap will make for easier removal from pan to platter for a prettier presentation.

Tiramisu
Photo by Connie Ding

This classic tiramisu recipe is made into individual servings or parfaits that are perfect for an elegant dinner party or a holiday dessert buffet. Milos Nikolic thought this recipe was "restaurant-grade tiramisu."

Tip: Try using black coffee instead of espresso to make it a little less bitter.

If you're looking to eliminate some of the prep work, look no further. This tiramisu layer cake uses cake mix instead of ladyfingers. Aria warns other cooks to not over-whip the frosting or you "risk hitting an icky butter zone." Here's how to make whipped cream.

Tip: Use a mixer to whip your ingredients, unless you want a quick way to burn up some holiday dessert calories.

Tiramisu Layer Cake
Photo by Camea

Tiramisu-flavored cheesecake is a modern twist on the classic trifle. SAS4U makes a low-fat version by swapping out the mascarpone with ricotta cheese that has been whipped in a blender until smooth.

Tip: If you're not making your own ladyfingers, look for store-bought versions without artificial flavors, which can leave behind an unpleasant taste.

If you want all of the flavors with less of the work, try a tiramisu-inspired chocolate mousse. Home cook mel says this is "a really divine confection!"

Tip: A little bit of alcohol goes a long way. You want to flavor your mousse with just a splash, not drown it in booze.

Tiramisu Chocolate Mousse
Photo by Dawn Underwood

Marsala wine is a traditional alcohol used in tiramisu. This recipe can be made in individual serving portions, although you can also streamline the prep and make it in a large pan. Buckwheat Queen, who is "addicted to tiramisus," says this recipe does not disappoint!

Tip: Make sure to let it chill for at least 6 hours and up to 2 days to firm up the filling, soften the ladyfingers, meld the flavors, and moisten the cocoa.

Tiramisu al Marsala
Photo by Buckwheat Queen

If you're looking to really impress your guests, then make your own ladyfingers, as is called for in this recipe. NHBaker will "never use stale, packaged ladyfingers again," and says that the homemade versions were actually easy to make.

Tip: Brush, don't dunk, the ladyfingers with the syrup. This will infuse them with flavor but keep them from getting soggy.

Emily's Famous Tiramisu
Photo by footballgrl16

Loosely inspired by tiramisu, this dessert uses cream cheese and whipping cream instead of mascarpone whipped with egg yolks. The fresh fruit adds gorgeous color and flavor.

Tip: To keep the fruit juices from running and staining the top of the tiramisu, wait until just before serving to decorate with the final layer of fruit.

Strawberry Tiramisu Without Eggs
Photo by Alemarsi

Store-bought or homemade pound cake provides the structure for this twist on tiramisu, and cream cheese whipped with heavy cream and chocolate syrup creates the fluffy filling. Chopped toffee gets sprinkled over the top to give each bite a little crunch.

Tip: Home cook elizabethellis substituted Bailey's Irish Cream for the chocolate syrup, and you can, too.

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