Desserts don’t get much better than this amaretto tiramisu! It’s light, creamy, slightly sweet & is full of freshly brewed coffee & nutty liqueur.

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amaretto tiramisu

Tiramisu is one of my favourite desserts to make (& eat!) and adding in a generous amount of nutty amaretto, makes it even better! It’s light, creamy & full of coffee & booze. What’s not to love!

We’re making this dessert the traditional way (mostly!), using mascarpone cheese, eggs, freshly brewed coffee & authentic savoiardi lady fingers. Plus there’s a couple of tips, tricks & techniques in the recipe that takes this tiramisu to another level!

Tiramisu Layers

Our tiramisu contains two layers of coffee soaked savoiardi biscuits & mascarpone cream and a dusting of cocoa powder, on top.

Coffee Soaked Savoiardi

The bottom & middle layers of our tiramisu are made up of coffee soaked savoiardi lady fingers.

To make these layers, we dip the sponge fingers in a mix of black coffee, sugar & amaretto for 1 second on each side before placing in our tin. The savoiardi will soften as the tiramisu sets so it’s important not to soak them in the coffee for too long as they will go soggy.

Mascarpone Cream

A mascarpone cream makes up the other two layers.

This is made by making a zabaglione (Italian custard) with egg yolks, sugar & marsala wine then mixing in mascarpone cheese, followed by egg whites that have been whisked with sugar, to firm peaks.

Traditionally, raw eggs would have been used but I find that using a zabaglione & a meringue makes a tiramisu that is lighter, creamier & more stable. The mascarpone layer does need a minimum of 8 hours in the fridge, to set but to be on the safe side, I’d recommend an overnight chill in the fridge.

Cocoa Powder

To finish our tiramisu, we lightly dust the top with cocoa powder. I like to use a Dutch processed cocoa but natural cocoa will work as well!

tiramisu layers

Ingredients Used

  • Savoiardi Lady Fingers
    Savoiardi are fingers of sponge that are made with eggs & are coated in sugar. These are what are traditionally used in tiramisu & can be picked up in most supermarkets or online.
  • Coffee
    To soak out savoiardi biscuits, we need to use strong, black coffee. You can make this using several different brewing methods but more on that below…
  • Amaretto
    A double shot of amaretto is added into our coffee. This adds a subtle almond flavour that works really well with the creaminess of the mascarpone & the slight bitterness from the coffee.
  • Marsala Wine
    A sweet Italian wine. This is used to make the zabaglione (Italian egg yolk custard) that we use in our mascarpone cream.
  • Mascarpone
    Mascarpone is a creamy Italian cheese & is what is used to make traditional/authentic tiramisu. This contains a high level of fat, which is what makes tiramisu so creamy!
  • Eggs
    We’re using both egg yolks & whites for this recipe. 120g of each is needed, which roughlyt equates to 7 large eggs.
  • Sugar
    Tiramisu shouldn’t be overly sweet so we don’t need to use a lot of sugar. Make sure to use caster.
  • Salt
    Adding a pinch of table salt to both the egg yolks & whites before whisking, helps stabilise them.
  • Cocoa Powder
    For the best flavour, I like to dust the top of my tiramisu with a Dutch processed cocoa powder. You could also use a natural cocoa powder.

How To Make Amaretto Tiramisu – Step By Step

The full, printable recipe card is at the bottom of this post!

Step 1 – Brew The Coffee

The first step is to brew 350ml of strong, black coffee, using your preferred brewing method. This is then poured into a shallow dish & caster sugar & a double shot of amaretto are mixed in. The coffee is then left to cool whilst we make the mascarpone cream.

Step 2 – Zabaglione

To make the zabaglione, place egg yolks, caster sugar & a pinch of table salt into a large, heatproof bowl. Mix with a handheld electric mixer until the sugar has dissolved & the mix is light & fluffy. This will take around 3-4 minutes.
Next, gradually whisk the marsala into the egg mix then place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Continue whisking with the electric mixer (on a medium-low speed) until the egg mix has thickened & increased in volume. This will take roughly 10-15 minutes.
When the zabaglione is ready, you’ll be able to draw a figure of eight on top, with your whisks.

Step 3 – Mix In Mascarpone

Remove the mixing bowl from the heat/pan of water & continue whisking for 2-3 minutes whilst the zabaglione cools down.
Next, place the mascarpone into a separate mixing bowl & whisk with the electric mixer until smooth (don’t worry about cleaning the zabaglione off the whisks!). Be careful not to overmix the mascarpone, it only needs 30 seconds or so of mixing!
Spoon a third of the cooled zabaglione into the mascarpone & gently whisk together until just combined, using a regular whisk (not electric!).
Gently whisk in the remaining zabaglione, in two batches.

Step 4 – Whisk Egg Whites & Sugar

Add egg whites & a pinch of salt into the bowl of a stand mixer (make sure that the bowl is clean & dry!) then whisk to soft peaks, on a medium speed.
With the mixer still running, gradually add in the sugar then once it’s all incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium-high & whisk to stiff peaks. This will take roughly 3-4 minutes.

whisked egg whites

Step 5 – Fold Egg Whites Into Mascarpone

Next, gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone, a third at a time, making sure that the egg whites are just combined before adding in more.
Make sure to carefully fold in the egg whites until just combined. We don’t want to knock any air out of the mascarpone as this will make it runny.

Step 6 – First Layer Of Coffee Soaked Savoiardi

Dip the savoiardi into the coffee, one at a time, leaving them to soak for 1 second on each side. Place each biscuit sugar side down in the baking tin, to make a single layer that is 2 savoiardi wide & 11 savoiardi long.

savoiardi layer
The first layer of savoiardi

Step 7 – Spread Over Half The Mascarpone

Spoon half of the mascarpone over the savoiardi & spread into an even layer with a palette knife.

Step 8 – Another Layer Of Savoiardi

Gently place a second layer of coffee soaked savoiardi on top of the mascarpone, making sure that are sitting flat.

Step 9 – Spread Over Remaining Mascarpone

Top with the remaining mascarpone then use a palette knife to spread into an even layer that is level with the top of the tin.

Step 10 – Dust With Cocoa Powder

Dust the top of the tiramisu with the cocoa powder then wipe the rim of the baking tray clean.

Step 11 – Refrigerate Overnight

Refrigerate the amaretto tiramisu overnight before serving (or for at least 8 hours).

Once set, the tiramisu should be loosely covered with clingfilm & served within 2-3 days.

What Type Of Coffee Is Best For Tiramisu?

To soak the savoiardi biscuits, we need to use coffee that is nice & strong.

The way you make this is down to personal preference & the tools you have available. You could use an espresso/nespresso machine, instant coffee, pour over coffee or even cold brew. My preferred brewing method is to use a moka pot & is what I used to make this tiramisu. But as long as the coffee is strong & not overly bitter, it will work well!

How To Brew Coffee In A Moka Pot

In my opinion, the best way to brew coffee for tiramisu, is by using a moka pot. Here’s how to use one;

  • Boil a kettle of water then leave to cool slightly.
  • Fill the moka pot’s bottom chamber up to the line, with the hot water.
  • Place the filter basket into the bottom chamber.
  • Fill the filter basket with ground coffee & level off with your finger (don’t tamp!).
    If you’re grinding your own coffee beans, they should be a medium-fine grind.
  • Brush any loose coffee off the edges of the basket.
  • Screw the top section of the moka pot onto the bottom (use a dry tea towel to hold the bottom section, so you don’t get burnt!).
  • Place the pot on the stove, over a medium-low heat.
  • Heat until the top chamber is full of coffee. The coffee should flow like warm honey, if it’s coming out too fast, turn the heat down. The coffee will start to splutter when it has finished brewing.
  • Remove the moka pot from the heat. The coffee is now ready to use.
moka pot coffee

Using A Zabaglione & Whipped Egg Whites

Traditionally when making tiramisu, raw eggs would be used. Some recipes call for just egg yolks & some use both the yolks & whites.

To make our amaretto tiramisu, we are using equal amounts of yolks & whites, by weight. A small pinch of salt is also added to both, before whisking, which helps stabilise them.

For this recipe, we are making a zabaglione with the yolks. This is an Italian custard that contains equal quantities of yolks, sugar & marsala wine and is made by whisking all 3 ingredients over a pan of gently simmering water, until thick, light & fluffy. This is then cooled & whisked into the mascarpone.

The egg whites, on the other hand, are prepared like a meringue. First, we whisk them in a stand mixer, to soft peaks then add in sugar & whisk to stiff peaks. This meringue is then gently folded into the mascarpone until just combined.

Although you can make tiramisu with raw, separated eggs, taking the extra time to make a zabaglione with the yolks & a meringue with the whites makes a tiramisu that is lighter, creamier & more stable. It’s not an entirely traditional way of making tiramisu but it does the job really well!

How To Portion Tiramisu

The easiest & cleanest way to portion and serve this tiramisu is by using a metal spatula/burger flipper (the one that I use is linked below).

To portion, dip the spatula in hot water then dry with a tea towel (do this between every cut). Next, cut the tiramisu into 4 rows widthways then each row into 3 squares. Scoop each portion out onto plates, using the spatula & serve. This will give you 12 generous portions of tiramisu

tiramisu portions

Amaretto Tiramisu Tips & Tricks

  • Make sure that your mascarpone is at room temperature before using. This makes mixing it easier!
  • Don’t overmix the mascarpone cream when adding in the zabaglione & the egg whites. This can make it runny.
  • Use a good quality amaretto. I used Disaronno for this recipe.
  • Give the tiramisu at least 8 hours to set in the fridge. Overnight is best though.
  • Use a metal spatula to portion & remove the tiramisu from the tin. Cleaning in hot water & drying in between cuts makes the cleanest portions.
  • Use a good quality savoiardi biscuits & coffee. It will make all the difference to your tiramisu!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will the amaretto tiramisu keep for?

This tiramisu needs to be stored in the fridge & should be eaten within 2-3 days.

Can I make this tiramisu without alcohol?

Feel free to leave the amaretto out of the coffee & substitute the marsala in the zabaglione for an non alcoholic, sweet wine.

Does this tiramisu contain raw eggs?

Although the egg yolks are gently cooked, the whites are still raw. If you are concerned with eating raw eggs, it’s best to use pasteurised ones.

What tin should I use to make this tiramisu?

To make this recipe, you’ll need a 9″ x 13″ x 2.5″ baking tin. I use one from Nordic Ware, which I have linked below.

What Amaretto should I use & could I use a different alcohol?

I used Disaronno in my coffee but you could use any Amaretto, a dark rum, brandy or marsala wine. You will need to use marsala wine for the zabaglione.

Equipment Used

Please note that these are affiliate links & I may make a small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you. For more information, click here.

More Dessert Recipes To Try!

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Amaretto Tiramisu

Desserts don't get much better than this amaretto tiramisu! It's light, creamy, slightly sweet & is full of freshly brewed coffee & nutty liqueur.
Prep Time30 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 12 People
Author: Ben Racey

Equipment

  • Moka Pot
  • Stand Mixer
  • Electric Hand Mixer
  • 2 Large, Heatproof Mixing Bowls
  • Palette Knife
  • 9" x 13" Baking Tin See Notes
  • Metal Spatula To Portion

Ingredients

Amaretto Coffee

  • 350 ml Strong Black Coffee See Notes
  • 40 g Caster Sugar
  • 50 ml Amaretto See Notes

Mascarpone Zabaglione

  • 120 g Egg Yolks
  • 120 g Caster Sugar
  • A Pinch Of Table Salt
  • 120 g Marsala Wine
  • 1 kg Mascarpone At Room Temperature

Egg Whites

  • 120 g Egg Whites
  • 100 g Caster Sugar
  • A Pinch Of Table Salt

To Assemble

  • 400 g  Savoiardi Lady Fingers
  • 1 tbsp Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder

Instructions

Amaretto Coffee

  • Brew the coffee then pour into a shallow dish. Stir in the sugar & amaretto then set aside.

Mascarpone Zabaglione

  • Fill a large saucepan a third of the way full with water & bring to a gentle simmer over a low heat.
    Your mixing bowl should be able to sit in the saucepan without touching the water.
  • In the meantime, place the egg yolks, caster sugar & salt into a large, heatproof mixing bowl then mix with a handheld electric mixer until the sugar has dissolved & the mix is light & fluffy. This will take around 3-4 minutes.
  • Next, gradually whisk the marsala into the egg mix then place the bowl over the pan of simmering water.
  • Continue whisking with the electric mixer (on a medium-low speed) until the egg mix has thickened & increased in volume. This will take roughly 10-15 minutes.
    When the zabaglione is ready, you'll be able to draw a figure of eight on top, with your whisks.
    If the pan of water starts boiling, remove it from the heat momentarily whilst still whisking the egg.
  • Remove the mixing bowl from the heat/pan of water & continue whisking for 2-3 minutes whilst the zabaglione cools down.
  • Next, place the mascarpone into a separate mixing bowl & whisk with the electric mixer until smooth (don't worry about cleaning the zabaglione off the whisks!). Be careful not to overmix the mascarpone, it only needs 30 seconds or so of mixing!
  • Spoon a third of the cooled zabaglione into the mascarpone & gently whisk together until just combined, using a regular whisk (not electric!).
  • Gently whisk in the remaining zabaglione, in two batches.

Egg Whites

  • Add the egg whites & salt into the bowl of a stand mixer then whisk to soft peaks on a medium speed. This will take 1-2 minutes.
    Make sure that your mixing bowl is clean & dry!
  • With the mixer still running, gradually add in the sugar then once it's all incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium-high & whisk to stiff peaks. This will take roughly 3-4 minutes.
  • Next, gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone (using a spatula), a third at a time, making sure that the egg whites are just combined before adding in more.
    Make sure to carefully fold in the egg whites until just combined. We don't want to knock any air out of the mascarpone as this will make it runny.

Assembly

  • Dip the savoiardi into the coffee, one at a time, leaving them to soak for 1 second on each side.
    Place each biscuit sugar side down in the baking tin, to make a single layer that is 2 savoiardi wide & 11 savoiardi long.
  • Spoon half of the mascarpone over the savoiardi & spread into an even layer with a palette knife.
  • Gently place a second layer of coffee soaked savoiardi on top of the mascarpone, making sure that are sitting flat.
  • Top with the remaining mascarpone then use a palette knife to spread into an even layer that is level with the top of the tin.
  • Dust the top of the tiramisu with the cocoa powder then wipe the rim of the baking tray clean.
  • Refrigerate overnight before serving (or at least 8 hours).
    Once set, the tiramisu should be loosely covered with clingfilm & served within 2-3 days.

To Serve

  • To serve, use a metal spatula to cut & scoop the tiramisu into portions. Washing the spatula in hot water & wiping dry between cuts makes the cleanest portions.

Notes

I find that for the best results, the coffee should be brewed in a moka pot. I’ve explained how to do this in the post above. If you don’t have a moka pot you could use an espresso/nespresso machine, instant coffee or cold brew.
Feel free to use your favourite amaretto for the coffee. I used Disaranno for this recipe.
Although the egg yolks are gently cooked in a bain marie, the whites are still raw. If you are concerned with eating raw eggs, it’s best to use pasteurised ones.
It’s best to use a handheld electric mixer for the zabaglione & a stand mixer for the egg whites. This means that you won’t have to wash the whisks in between whisking the yolks & whites. 
Once made, the tiramisu should be stored in the fridge & served within 3 days.
They’re might be a small amount of mascarpone cream left & a couple of savoiardi biscuits. The perks of making this recipe is that you get to eat these!

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