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5 from 4 votes

Italian Tiramisu with Amaretto and Orange

Italian tiramisu is an ever-popular dessert that's been knocking around for decades. A splash of Amaretto and orange play nicely with the strong coffee flavour in this version. It's a no-bake and no-cook recipe that can be assembled in less than 30 minutes.
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Calories: 403kcal


  • A 6x8-inch serving bowl (preferably straightsided). A 6x6 inch baking tin (loose-bottomed with deep sides) can alternatively be used - see notes for further details


  • 3 Small eggs free-range (or 2 large)
  • 2 tablespoon Caster sugar
  • 250 g Mascarpone cheese full-fat
  • 125 ml Espresso coffee see notes
  • 1 Orange zest and 4 teaspoon juice
  • 3 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur good quality
  • 16-20 Ladyfingers A 200g packet will be plenty
  • tablespoon Cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon Chocolate grated


  • Lay out enough ladyfingers in the bottom of the serving dish to cover the base entirely, chopping any up as necessary. Set aside the same amount of ladyfingers (chopped as required) for the second layer. Remove from the dish and set aside
  • Whip the egg whites until fluffy
  • Use the same beaters to whip the egg yolks and sugar until very thick, creamy and pale - around 3-4 minutes. They are whipped sufficiently when a trail remains for a few seconds after the mixture falls off the whisk (this is the ribbon stage)
  • Stir the orange zest through
  • Stir the mascrapone to loosen it, then add to the egg yolk mixture and beat in until just combined (either by hand or using electric beater on a low speed). Take care not to overbeat as the mascarpone could curdle. If using electric beaters, try beating in 15 second bursts to ensure is is beaten just sufficiently
  • Gently fold the whipped egg white in using a large metal spoon
  • Mix the coffee, amaretto and orange juice together in a shallow bowl then dip a ladyfinger into the coffee then flip over to coat the other side (dip for around 4 seconds in total)
  • Place the ladyfinger in the base of your serving bowl. Continue with more ladyfingers until the base is covered
  • Top with half of the mascarpone mixture
  • Add another layer of ladyfingers, dipping them in the coffee mixture as before
  • Spoon the remaining mascarpone mix over the top, smooth it out, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours but preferably overnight
  • When ready to serve dredge in sifted cocoa powder and (optional) grated chocolate



  • The exact number of ladyfingers needed will depend on the size of the bowl used to assemble the dessert in
  • It's a good idea to lay out the ladyfingers in the base of the bowl before assembling the tiramisù. If some need cutting down to fit do it before assembly begins (a serrated knife is handy for cutting them)
  • Don't forget to prepare enough ladyfingers to make 2 full layers
  • The coffee needs to be brewed strong to carry a good flavour through the dessert. Use either:
    • 45g espresso powder
    • Or 4 heaped teaspoon of instant coffee granules
  • This dessert does need to sit in the fridge to firm up for a minimum of 6 hours, but ideally, leaving it overnight is best. Whatever you do, don't skimp on the time as the flavour and texture really do improve as it sits in the fridge to firm up
  • Use a knife to cut squares and use a fish slice to remove neat portions from the serving dish
  • For a more relaxed dinner, treat it as you would a trifle and simply scoop servings out using a large spoon - after all, it is sometimes known as Tuscan trifle
  • If you are unsure about your ability to present neat portions using the above method, assemble the dessert in a loose bottom baking tin lined around the edges with acetate. When ready to serve, remove the sides of the pan and the acetate then cut into portions and transfer to plates carefully using a cake server or fish slice
  • The recipe given is enough to fill a 6x8-inch oblong serving dish (around 2 inches deep). Use 2 layers of ladyfingers
  • Alternatively use a 6x6-inch baking tin (loose-bottomed and with deep sides) and use 3 layers of ladyfingers (spread ⅓ of the mascarpone mixture on top of each layer of ladyfingers)
  • This tiramisu can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days (assuming the mascarpone is fresh when made). Always cover tightly to avoid fridge odours affecting it
  • Leftovers can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Simply transfer to a suitable container, label and freeze. Defrost at room temperature for several hours or in the fridge overnight. It may be necessary to add a little more cocoa powder once defrosted to spruce up the presentation again
Why has my mascarpone cheese split/ curdled?
Sadly, mascarpone cheese is highly prone to splitting. You'll know if it does as the contents of your bowl will look grainy, perhaps even reminiscent of cottage cheese.
Mascarpone can curdle if it is whipped with other ingredients of a higher temperature, so make sure both the cheese and eggs are well chilled before you start.
Older cheese is also more prone to splitting than fresh and similarly, low fat varieties are too. Always use quality, full-fat and fresh mascarpone for this recipe.
Even then there is still a risk of splitting - this ingredient is a notoriously tricky beast. The best way to reduce the risk of curdling is to beat the mascarpone either by hand or using electric beaters on a low-speed setting. Beat in 15-second bursts until just smooth. At this point stop beating.
The eggs aren't cooked - is it safe to eat?
In this, and many other authentic Italian tiramisu recipes the eggs are raw so it is vital to use eggs that are deemed safe to eat uncooked.
In the UK look for eggs with the British Lion mark - these eggs come from hens that have been vaccinated against salmonella. Elsewhere, opt for pasteurised eggs.
If still unsure about using raw eggs you might be better off using a less authentic tiramisu recipe without eggs in it. This is perhaps advisable if serving vulnerable diners such as pregnant women, very young children or very elderly people.
Disclaimer: raw eggs are consumed at your own risk - the author of this recipe cannot be held accountable.


Calories: 403kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 212mg | Sodium: 80mg | Potassium: 139mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 946IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 2mg