Tiramisu is an Italian dessert, tirami su which means pick me up or take me back. The origin of tiramisu has been a dispute between the Italian regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto. It is a coffee-flavored dessert made from soaked gingerbread in coffee. A mixture of whipped eggs is coated on tiramisu along with mascarpone cheese, sugar and flavored with cocoa. The recipe of tiramisu has been adopted for making a variety of desserts and cakes. 

Among cannoli or sfogliatelle, tiramisu does not count among the OGs of the Italian desserts. There is a mysterious history of tiramisu and it did not get a proper introduction in American restaurants until the 1980s. Later on, it has been a part of American desserts. Also, several variations have been made by the professional cooks in making tiramisu with substitute ingredients. You can try classic or different recipes of tiramisu at home to serve as a dessert at family gatherings.

Mysterious History Of Tiramisu?

Mysterious History Of Tiramisu

Before the 1960s, the tiramisu recipe was not found in cookbooks. Till the 1970s, it was not mentioned in the dictionaries and encyclopedias. The first appearance of tiramisu was made in 1980 in Italian language and in 1982 in English. A cookbook devoted to Venetian cuisine mentioned tiramisu in 1983.

The invention of tiramisu comes from the obituaries of restaurateur Ado Campeol (1928-2021). It states that it was invented on December 24, 1969, in his restaurant Le Beccherie in Treviso by his wife Alba di Pillo (1929-2021) with help of pastry chef Roberto Linguanotto. Later on, tiramisu was added to the menu of the restaurant in 1972.

Tiramisu was claimed to have aphrodisiac effects. Also, it was claimed that tiramisu was prepared by a brothel mistress in the 19th century by a Treviso brothel madam. Accademia Del Tiramisu explains that tiramisu was used as a solution to any problem men had with their wives while returning to them.

Semi-frozen tiramisu dessert has been served since 1938 by the Vetturino restaurant in Pieris, Friuli-Venezia Giulia. It can be the origin of the name of this dessert but the recipe of tiramisu might have come from the Zuppa Inglese layered dessert. On the other hand, legends claim that tiramisu was introduced by the end of the 17th century in honor of the Grand Duke Cosimo III in Siena.

Traditional Friulian and Giulian Food

Traditional Friulian and Giulian Food

In 2013, Luca Zaia, Governor of Veneto applied for the certification of European Union Protected Status for the dessert based on the ingredients used in 1970. It was to remove the substitute ingredients such as strawberries from the tiramisu recipe.

Tiramisu was included by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food, and Forestry Policies in the list of traditional Giulian and Friulian agri-food products of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region on July 29, 2017.

Original Ingredients

Original Ingredients

The traditional tiramisu contains:

  • Ladyfingers (Savoiardi)
  • Egg Yolks 
  • Sugar
  • Coffee
  • Cocoa Powder 
  • Mascarpone Cheese

Tiramisu comes in several variations but the original shape of tiramisu was circular at the Beccherie.

Variations in Tiramisu Recipe

Variations in Tiramisu Recipe

  • The original shape of the tiramisu is round but the shape of the biscuits allows the square and rectangular mold. However, often round vessels are used to prepare the tiramisu that shows the different layers. Whipped cream, beaten eggs, or both are the additions in the new versions of tiramisu combined with mascarpone cream. These ingredients are used to make the dessert lighter, fluffier and thicker.
  • Another version of tiramisu is prepared by using heated eggs combined with cream to sterilize it. Also, substitute ingredients are used such as blackberry, chocolate, lemon, amaretto, strawberry, yogurt, pineapple, raspberry, banana, and coconut instead of coffee. However, these variations are not considered true tiramisu. In such variations, layering is the only characteristic of tiramisu. Hence, the variations make it insignificant tiramisu.
  • Some cooks use panettone, sweet sourdough bread, or cakes instead of ladyfingers. Also, it is debatable that cooks in different regions of Italy use different types of biscuits such as pavesini for the structural qualities. Different blends of Italian cheeses are also used with or without eggs.

Classic Tiramisu Recipe

Classic Tiramisu Recipe

To make a perfect tiramisu at home, 

Serves 6


1/2 cup espresso, strongly brewed (or regular coffee plus 1 Tbsp instant espresso)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
8 oz. mascarpone cheese at room temperature
2 Tbsp dark rum
20 ladyfingers
1/4 cup unsweetened or semi-sweet powdered cocoa


Line a 9? spring form pan with parchment paper, set aside.

Combine the coffee and rum in a bowl. Add half of the mascarpone cheese to the coffee/rum, mix well and set aside.

In another bowl combine cream and vanilla and whip until thick with stiff peaks.

Add half of the mascarpone cheese to the whipping cream and mix well.

Place one layer of ladyfingers across bottom of pan, cutting cookies as needed to completely cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon half of the coffee/cheese mixture over the cookies. Spoon half of the cream/cheese mixture over the cookies. Repeat the layers, starting with cookies.

Using a small fine strainer, sprinkle cocoa over the top. Cover and chill for at least 1 1/2 hours before serving.

Run sharp knife around edges before releasing pan sides. Cut wedges and serve.

Hot Chocolate Tiramisu

Hot Chocolate Tiramisu


  • Baking Soda – 3 Tbsp
  • Sugar – 3 Tbsp
  • Water – 2 Tbsp
  • Whole Milk – 2 Cups
  • Sugar – 1 Cup, Divided
  • Mascarpone Cheese – 2 Cups
  • Heavy Whipping Cream – 1 Cup
  • Ladyfinger Cookies – 45, Crispy, 13 Ounces
  • Chocolate Chips – 1/4 Cup, Miniature Semisweet
  • Cinnamon – 2 Tsp, Ground


  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the water, cocoa, and sugar to make a hot chocolate. Keep stirring the mixture while boiling it for 2 minutes. Now add milk to the mixture and stir until blended. Transfer the mixture into a shallow bowl and let it cool.
  2. Whisk egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a heatproof bowl of a stand mixer for tiramisu. Place it in a large bowl over boiling water on medium heat. Whisk the mixture constantly for 2 to 3 minutes or until the temperature reaches 160 degrees.
  3. Remove it from the heat and use the mixer attachment of a stand mixer to beat it on high speed for 5 minutes until it turns to pale yellow color and thickened. Now add mascarpone and beat on a medium speed to make a smooth mixture. Also, scrape the sides of the bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the cream until thickened. Add the remaining sugar and beat the mixture until stiff. Now mix it with the mascarpone mixture.
  5. In a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, spread one-third of the cream mixture. Meanwhile, quickly dip the cookies in cold cocoa and put them over the cream. Repeat this procedure to make layers. Now sprinkle the cinnamon and chocolate chips. Refrigerate it for 8 hours before serving.

Tiramisu – A Traditional Italian Dessert

Tiramisu, a modern and traditional Italian dessert got its official name in the 1980s. Now tiramisu is one of the famous Italian desserts in the United States. To make a classic tiramisu, you need basic ingredients such as eggs, sugar, heavy whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, ladyfingers, and powdered cocoa. With a simple procedure, you can make a classic tiramisu at home.

Over time, the classic tiramisu recipe has gone through variations. It has been one of the great Italian desserts that include strawberries. Later on, Luca Zaia, Governor of Veneto removed the use of strawberries from the recipe by applying for certification of European Union Protected Status. With substitute ingredients, you can make a hot chocolate tiramisu. Instead of using rum and coffee, you can use chocolate chips and cinnamon.