The Daring Bakers’ Challenges 02/10: Tiramisu

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

This challenge doesn’t sound really hard, but these are the Daring Bakers, so of course you don’t buy ladyfingers and mascarpone, but make them from scratch. Yes, ladyfingers and mascarpone from scratch.

In the following, I’ll give you some comments on my adventures in tiramisu making. You’ll find all the recipes at the end of the post.


I used 30% whipping cream and made only a quarter recipe. I had problems right from the beginning. The whipping cream never got up to 190 degrees. I have no idea what I was doing wrong. The thermometer stayed at 180. The recipe said the bottom of the mascarpone pan shouldn’t touch the water, but to rise the temperature, I lowered it into the water pan, but nothing really happened. After about 45 minutes of stirring, I gave up and poured it into the lined sieve. The next morning, it had the texture of butter (see picture below), and there was no whey at all. The dish towel was not wet either. This didn’t look like mascarpone at all, but I used it for the tiramisu anyway.


Making the zabaglione wasn’t hard. It wasn’t as thick as I had expected, though. Maybe this was due to the orange juice that I used instead of Marsala wine or coffee called for in the recipe.

Vanilla Pastry Cream:

This cream was extremely yummy!!! I’ll make it again as a dessert for my family.

Whipped Cream:

Easy-peasy: mix chilled heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract. I used 30% whipping cream.


It’s funny how this biscuit has different names in different languages. In English they are called ladyfingers, in Dutch lange vinger (long fingers), in German Löffelbiskuit (spoon biscuits) and in Italian biscotto savoiardo (biscuits from Savoy). Update: Joanna from Jauhot Suussa let me know that in Finnish they are called kissankielikeksit (cat tongue biscuits). I had to remove the Japanese writing because it won’t show up on most computers.

Anyway, it was really fun to make these and the result was really yummy. Just like the store-bought ones. A big advantage is when you make them from scratch you can make whatever shape you desire. And I desired 2 round ones 😉 because I wanted to make a nice tiramisu in a dessert ring…

Assembling the tiramisu was quite a challenge. I dipped the ladyfingers in orange juice instead of coffee because we don’t like coffee (well, the hubby does, but there are 4 people here that don’t ;-)). I stuck part of it in a dessert ring and put it in the freezer, that came out ok, the remaining stuff was assembled in a dish and put in the fridge to firm up a little, but it didn’t. In addition to the traditional ingredients, I put raspberries on top and sprinkled cocoa powder over the whole assembly. I wasn’t really happy with the result because the non-freezer version was just not firm enough. The tiramisu from the freezer looked fine, though. Taste-wise, the tiramisu was ok, but I won’t make it again because I have a tiramisu recipe that is more agreeable with our tastebuds. Still, thanks for this CHALLENGING challenge.



(adapted from Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)

This recipe makes 12oz/ 340 g of mascarpone cheese


  • 500 ml/ 2 cups whipping pasteurized cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
  • 1 tblsp fresh lemon juice


  1. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F.
  2. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles.
  3. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface
  5. Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.



  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 tblsp sugar/50 g
  • 1/4 cup/60 ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
  • 1/4 tsp/ 1.25 ml vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest


  1. Heat water in a double boiler.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the top of the double boiler.
  4. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
  5. Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

Vanilla Pastry Cream:


  • 1/4 cup/55 g sugar
  • 1 tblsp/8 g all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp/ 2.5 ml vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup/175 ml whole milk


  1. Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
  2. Place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
  3. Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble.
  4. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature.
  5. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

Whipped Cream


  • 1 cup/235 ml chilled heavy cream

    1/4 cup/55 g sugar

    1/2 tsp/ 2.5 ml vanilla extract


  1. Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl.
  2. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.


(adapted from: Cordon Bleu At Home)


  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 6 tblsp /75 g granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup/95 g cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tblsp corn starch)
  • 6 tblsp /50gms confectioner’s sugar


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed.
  4. Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5″ long and 3/4″ wide strips leaving about 1″ space in between the strips.
  5. Sprinkle half the confectioner’s sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
  6. Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
  7. Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.

Assembling the tiramsiu

(adapted from: Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007)


  • 2 cups/470 ml brewed espresso, warmed
  • 1 tsp/5 ml rum extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup/110 g sugar
  • 1/3 cup/75 g mascarpone cheese
  • 36 ladyfinger biscuits
  • 2 tablespoons/30 g unsweetened cocoa powder


  1. Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do).
  2. Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.
  4. Working quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy.
  5. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the dish, placing them side by side in a single row (you may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered)
  6. Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.
  7. Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.
  8. To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

56 responses to “The Daring Bakers’ Challenges 02/10: Tiramisu

  1. Your use of raspbarries in the tiramisu brings it to a whole new level. It makes the dessert look quite refreshing. The mascarpone took a long time for me too where it was a lot firmer than I expected. However, it was creamy and delicious. Congrats on completing the challenge!

  2. I love the look of the raspberries in this, they are such a bright spot of colour in the tiramisu, lovely creative choices 🙂

  3. Lovely tiramisu. Very nicely done.

  4. Your “Mascarpone-experience” makes me laugh, now I feel even less guilty I didn’t make it. ;-)))

  5. It turned out great, the freezer slices look picture perfect. I like the raspberry flavour. Thanks for all the different ways of saying “savioardi” – I found it interesting.

  6. Wonderful job on the challenge! I like the addition of the raspberries.
    My cream had trouble reaching 190 too but it seemed I was stirring it too much (the movement of the cream made it cool down). After I reduced the stirring I reached 190.

  7. I also made a Raspberry Tiramisu! I cannot say that we are coffee lovers, so I wanted to make sure I made a flavor that we would certainly eat! Add a little Amaretto to it and it really hits the WOW factor! Great job on your Tiramisu!

  8. Your tiramisu looks so beautiful! The raspberries are so bright! It looks delicious. Great job!!

  9. Beautiful! I’m also waiting for berry season to try one with berries.

  10. Sorry you weren’t satisfied with the end results of your tiramisu, but I have to say that it looks lovely, and in my house, raspberries are perhaps the number one fruit, so I’ll have to give your flavor idea a try.

  11. It looks great! I made a raspberry tiramisu too, and loved it!

  12. Ooh, raspberries sound lovely with the tiramisu. I may have to try a similar thing myself one day. Yours looks really tasty!

  13. Oh you are a good sport. I guess we can’t win them all, but I loved how you played along. Thank you!

  14. The red in the Tiramisu makes it much prettier (and tastier, Im sure).
    Thanks for baking with us.

  15. Oh! The raspberries. They catch the light in the most fantastic way. I love what you did with this challenge!

  16. Weird stuff that mascarpone isn’t it? I do love your fruity tiramisu. Sorry to hear it didn’t exactly work out for you as you had planned. I still think it looks gorgeous!

  17. Your tiramisu looks really refreshing and light. Great job!

  18. your raspberry tiramisu looks so yummy! 🙂 great job!

  19. Beautiful with the raspberries! Great job.

  20. Love the raspberries, that was a great addition of yours. Mmmm. Hope you’ll post the recipe that you guys like, sometime, too.

  21. I love the use of raspberries! I may try this again when those come into season around here. Nice work.

  22. ooh wow your tiramisu looks so nice. I love the different flavours you decided to use instead of coffee,yum

  23. You did a wonderful job on your tiramisu. I love the raspberries too.

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  24. Your tiramisu looks lovely and fresh with all the raspberries. I had something similar happen with my mascarpone but I think it is due to fat content (not 100%sure, so don’t quote me). I think the cream that was used in the challenge recipe was 20% fat, yours was 30% and the cream I used was 35%. I just eyeballed it instead of relying on the thermometer and it worked fine. I think I took mine off the heat earlier because the texture was quite similar to store bought mascarpone. Great work!

  25. Raspberries are a lovely addition… lends such a gorgeous color and wud cut into all that sweetness I guess… nicely done! 🙂 even tho you won’t make this recipe again 🙂

  26. Raspberries sound like a delicious, fresh addition- Nice job!

  27. Yum! Your tiramisu looks beautiful… Love the addition of the raspberries!

  28. Ah, too bad the mascarpone didn’t work out. Freezing the tiramisu seems like a good way to make the best of the situation though. It looks like a fantastic dessert, with the raspberries on top.

  29. I thought I did something wrong since my mascarpone never got to 190F and ended up like a block of butter, but sounds like you experienced the same thing. Love the raspberry/orange combo.

  30. Absolutely delicious!! I am also going to make a raspberry version next time!! Yours looks divine!!
    Un abrazo,

  31. So fruity and fresh! I love that version!



  32. love ypur version of tiamisu

    cheers from pierre a french foodie in Paris

  33. I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one who had trouble with the mascarpone reaching 190 degrees. Mine never did, but I made do (after over an hour working on it) and it seemed to turn out fine…much like yours. I wish I had more time to devote to carefully reading through the recipes as well as checking in with the forum once the challenges are underway, as I’m sure that I would have had lots of support in my trials and tribulations with this one! I had almost exactly the same things happen with my efforts as you did, and in the end it was fun and tasty and I am also glad that I participated. Love your raspberries both for the flavor profile and the color. Here’s looking forward to next month (oh, my…tomorrow, that is!).

  34. Lovely job! Excellent adaptation!

    Glad I wasn’t the only one to have trouble with the mascarpone…

  35. I had trouble with the mascarpone, too, then ran out of time to do any of the other parts. Yours looks absolutley beautiful even if not to your taset.

  36. Gorgeous photos…simply beautiful!

  37. Great minds think alike: fruity tiramisu is delicious!

  38. It sounds delicious with the raspberries. I have done a tart with zabaglione and raspberries that is great and cuts out the more challenging parts of this recipe but has some of the good flavors!!

  39. Wow this tiramisu looks delicious and your bisukottei savoiarudei look so good like the ones in the store.

  40. The raspberries look so fresh! I think citrus tiramisu sounds wonderful as I’m not a coffee drinker. Great job! And thank you for the comment.

  41. mmm the raspberries are beautiful. well done !!

  42. I am sorry you didn’t like the final version, but it looks delicious, especially with the raspberries.

  43. I had problems bringing my cream up to temp too. I had my pan sitting in a pan of water and ended up turning up the heat more. Next time I will just heat it straight on the stove, like I do when I make yogurt.
    Your use of raspberries is making my mouth water.

  44. And in finnish the savoiardis are called kissankielikeksit = cat tongue biscuits. Love the raspberries on top, well done!

  45. tastyeatsathome

    I’m sorry you had such troubles – it looks tasty! I had trouble with the cream getting up to temp too. I ended up turning up the temp, and just making sure I didn’t scorch the bottom.

  46. You did a wonderful job on your tiramisu.

  47. Lovely tiramisu with a great addition of berries, yay for fruity triamisus!

  48. oooh, wonderful idea with the raspberries. It turned out very nice. Great work. 🙂

  49. Sorry the tiramisu wasn’t up to expectations. My brother loved it, which is good b/c it’s his favorite dessert! Frozen…sounds neat! Makes me curious. I love the raspberry addition!

  50. What a stunning raspberry tiramisu and your photos are just mouth watering. Beautifully done!

  51. What a great looking tiramisu!
    The flavors combination sounds amazing
    And as always the making process pictures are great-
    Fabulous job on the challenge!

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