Tiramisu is a well-known dessert based on mascarpone and coffee, and I love it :) What are tips to have a compact mousse instead of a soft/liquid cream?

Do you have any special derivative from tiramisu that you experimented? I tried a tiramisu with a forest fruit mix instead of coffee/cacao and that was delicious.

Any other variant?
Different alcohol?
Maybe even different biscuits?

4 Answers 4


In the US, traditional Tiramisu needs to be made at home because it uses raw eggs and it would be too risky for a restaurant or bakery to sell.

For years I have been making the Williams Sonoma recipe.  To get the tiramisu to come out firm I had to:

  • Soak the lady fingers just so.  Pour a thin layer of coffee onto a plate.  Practice rolling the lady fingers by rolling one in the coffee as fast as you can, another for little slower, and one two seconds on each side.  Let them sit for half an hour and cut them in half.  The coffee should have made it half way to the core of the biscuit and should not be mushy.  

  • When recipes call for eggs, they mean large eggs, not extra large or jumbo.  Larger eggs have more water.

  • The mascarpone should be at room temperature. Before you mix it in with the other ingredients, whip it in a separate bowl with a whisk. 

  • Add some cream of tartar to the eggs whites.  Make sure you whip them to stiff peaks.   

  • If it still comes runny after those adjustments, lower the amount of cream and coffee you add to the dish. 

Ever since I learned to bake a Genoise (French sponge) cake, I use it instead of the lady fingers.  It took me several attempts to master the Genoise, but it makes a prettier tiramisu.

For flavor variants, the next most popular combination must be limoncello (a popular Italian liqueur) with lemon zest.  I have also used left over poached spiced pears in a tiramisu.  

  • thanks for the tips to make it firm :) Gonna apply these right now. I'll give a try with a genoise the next time
    – Stephane
    Jul 18, 2010 at 13:39
  • You don't need to "soak" the lady-finger. A quick dip is all that's needed.
    – user2215
    Feb 7, 2011 at 22:33

You can put some amaretto in it as well :) (before you add the whipped egg white) Just a small glass will do.

You can also dip the biscuits in sweet marsala wine or dark rum.


Usually the cream is very soft just after preparation. Keeping in the fridge for at least 3 hours helps to make it a more like a "mousse".


I have made it with a coconut rum and found it to be delightful. Really it was impressive that I didn't eat all the custard before it made it in the the tiramisu. I think that that time I was following the Richard Sax recipe in Classic Home Desserts

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