Tiramisu Trifle

This sumptuous Tiramisu Trifle makes a statement for any party! Layers upon layers of espresso-soaked Italian ladyfinger cookies and tiramisu cream make for a show-stopping dessert. 

This sumptuous Tiramisu Trifle makes a statement for any party! Layers upon layers of espresso-soaked Italian ladyfinger cookies and tiramisu cream make for a show-stopping dessert. (via feastandwest.com)

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Every good party needs a signature something. Whether it’s a fancy cocktail, an addictive appetizer or a stunner of a dessert, you want to send your guests home with something to talk about.

Enter this Tiramisu Trifle. It’s just like tiramisu, only there are more layers of heaven.

Don’t miss this tiramisu martini to go with dessert!

This sumptuous Tiramisu Trifle makes a statement for any party! Layers upon layers of espresso-soaked Italian ladyfinger cookies and tiramisu cream make for a show-stopping dessert. (via feastandwest.com)

I tried my first bite of tiramisu at a fancy restaurant with my parents once as a kid, and was decidedly not a fan.

But I tried it again in my early 20s, a newfound lover of both coffee and booze, and was sold.

What’s in tiramisu?

Tiramisu is a sweet, layered Italian dessert. On the bottom is a layer of savoiardi or ladyfinger cookies that have been soaked in espresso and booze, often coffee liqueur.

The next layer is a mixture of whipped cream, mascarpone cheese and zabaglione, which is a cooked mixture of egg, sugar and booze.

And each layer is dusted with cocoa powder. Repeat the layers a few times.

Always make it a few hours ahead of when you’ll need it so the savoiardi cookies will become soaked through with the coffee and liqueur to make a creamy dessert.

So very blissful. And so decadent.

This sumptuous Tiramisu Trifle makes a statement for any party! Layers upon layers of espresso-soaked Italian ladyfinger cookies and tiramisu cream make for a show-stopping dessert. (via feastandwest.com)

Tiramisu Trifle recipe

The biggest difference between a regular tiramisu and this Tiramisu Trifle? The dish it’s served in.

Trifles are beautiful, layered desserts that make a statement at parties. They are usually served in a trifle bowl, which is a wide bowl with a stand on the bottom. Sometimes they have fancy lids, too.

I love how this Tiramisu Trifle adds a little height to a tablescape of party food!

Plus, a quick recall of fourth-grade volume math will tell you that a deeper container allows for more layers of sumptuous, luscious tiramisu.

This sumptuous Tiramisu Trifle makes a statement for any party! Layers upon layers of espresso-soaked Italian ladyfinger cookies and tiramisu cream make for a show-stopping dessert. (via feastandwest.com)

What are ladyfingers?

Ladyfinger cookies or savoiardi are long, oval-shaped sponge cookies. They are called ladyfingers because, well, they kind of resemble long fingers.

Ladyfingers are made from a sponge cake batter that is then piped onto a baking sheet to create the “finger” shape. Before baking, they’re dusted with powdered sugar to give them a bit of a sweet crust.

If you have ever made homemade ladyfingers, you’ll know that they tend to be much softer and more pliable than store-bought ladyfingers.

While you’re welcome to make your own ladyfingers for Tiramisu Trifle, store-bought savoiardi will be just fine.

This sumptuous Tiramisu Trifle makes a statement for any party! Layers upon layers of espresso-soaked Italian ladyfinger cookies and tiramisu cream make for a show-stopping dessert. (via feastandwest.com)

Where to buy ladyfingers

Ladyfingers are pretty easy to find at just about any grocery store. Just take a look in the cookie aisle.

Of course, you can also find them online.

If you’re really lucky, you may even have a local bakery that makes and sells fresh ladyfingers. This would be the best of both worlds: the softness and freshness of homemade ladyfingers, with the ease of store-bought.

This sumptuous Tiramisu Trifle makes a statement for any party! Layers upon layers of espresso-soaked Italian ladyfinger cookies and tiramisu cream make for a show-stopping dessert. (via feastandwest.com)

Substitute for coffee liqueur in tiramisu

While many people assume that you have to use coffee liqueur in tiramisu, there are actually a few different liqueur options!

Marsala wine is traditional to tiramisu and would be delicious in Tiramisu Trifle, but you could also use dark rum, port, brandy, Madeira or even Irish cream liqueur.

So many choices! I love to use The Kraken Black Spiced Rum — I think the flavor is amazing in tiramisu. (Or you could try my Homemade Spiced Rum!)

You can also make tiramisu without alcohol by simply using a strong coffee or espresso.

This beauty is perfect for a bridal or baby shower, or for just having a group of people over to dinner. This Tiramisu Trifle definitely makes a statement!

This sumptuous Tiramisu Trifle makes a statement for any party! Layers upon layers of espresso-soaked Italian ladyfinger cookies and tiramisu cream make for a show-stopping dessert. (via feastandwest.com)

Tiramisu Trifle

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 20 minutes
This sumptuous Tiramisu Trifle makes a statement for any party! Layers upon layers of espresso-soaked Italian ladyfinger cookies and tiramisu cream make for a show-stopping dessert. 
4.65 from 14 votes
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ingredients

  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar divided
  • ¾ cup liqueur divided (see note)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups brewed espresso or strong coffee
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces Savoiardi or ladyfinger cookies
  • cocoa powder for dusting

instructions

Make the zabaglione.

  • Prepare a double-boiler. Fill a saucepan ⅓ with water and bring to a boil. The saucepan will ultimately be covered with a heat-proof bowl that will fit over the top without touching the water.
  • While the bowl is not on the saucepan, add the 5 egg yolks to the mixing bowl. Whisk in ¼ cup of sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the yolks turn pale in color. Transfer the bowl to the saucepan with the simmering water.
  • Add ½cup of liqueur (see note) to the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula. Cook until thickened. Remove from heat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool.

Make the cream mixture.

  • Add the mascarpone cheese to a mixing bowl and stir until smooth. In a stand mixer or a mixing bowl, whip together whipping cream and remaining 4 tablespoons sugar until almost stiff.
  • Gently fold the mascarpone cheese into the whipped cream mixture. Then gently fold in the chilled zabaglione (egg yolk mixture). Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

Build the tiramisu trifle.

  • In a small bowl, combine brewed espresso, vanilla extract and remaining ¼ cup liqueur.
  • Arrange the ladyfingers in a single layer in the bottom of a trifle bowl. (You may need to cut some of the ladyfingers into smaller pieces to fill in the circle thoroughly.) Spoon slightly less than a tablespoon of the espresso mixture over each ladyfinger cookie.
  • Smoothly spread a layer of the cream mixture onto the ladyfingers. Sift a layer of cocoa powder over top.
  • Repeat layers 6-8 times with ladyfingers, espresso, cream, cocoa powder. (My trifle had 7 layers of each.) Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours to allow the cookies to soften.
  • To serve, spoon out helpings onto plates. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

notes

For the liqueur, Marsala wine is traditionally used. But you can also substitute coffee liqueur, dark rum (Kraken is my favorite!), port, brandy, Madeira or Irish cream. Each will bring a different flavor, so experiment and see what you like!
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

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nutrition information

Yield: 10 servings

amount per serving:

Serving: 1cup Calories: 493kcal Carbohydrates: 33g Protein: 7g Fat: 33g Saturated Fat: 20g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 213mg Sodium: 71mg Potassium: 98mg Fiber: 0.2g Sugar: 19g Vitamin A: 1225IU Vitamin C: 0.2mg Calcium: 101mg Iron: 1mg
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Video by Chris Henry Co. 

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Comments

  1. Abby @ WinsteadWandering says

    Yum! I love trifles for the very reason you mentioned: More layers of goodness. This one looks perfect!

  2. Erin @ The Speckled Palate says

    Love, love, love this recipe! Like you, I didn’t like Tiramisu as a kid, but once adulthood hit, and I tried again, I realized it was alllllllll good things. Here’s to trifles and the summertime and gorgeous desserts like this one!

    • Susannah says

      Thank goodness I am not alone! People always think I’m weird for not having loved it forever! <3

  3. Jenna @ A Savory Feast says

    A tiramisu trifle is such a good idea! I have a trifle bowl that I don’t use nearly enough. This is a good way to break it out again!

  4. grace says

    i LOVE trifles, both in the making and the eating. it seems like i rarely set out to make them, they just end up being an attempt at rescuing something i’ve bungled… 🙂

    • Susannah says

      Right? Trifles are so underrated. But so delicious. The perfect excuse to use up ugly brownies and cakes and such! Thanks so much for your comment, Grace!

  5. Rach says

    I made this unlike most of the comments here who seem to be the same people commenting over and over! Anyway the zabaglione curdled and I had to ditch the mixture….wasted a lb of mascarpone. Improvised with flavoured cream which I whisked with coffee and chocolate to make a mocha trifle instead….won’t be trying this one again.

    • Susannah says

      So sorry to hear this, Rach. Without knowing exactly what happened, it sounds like your eggs may have overcooked or that you overwhipped the mascarpone. It happens sometimes! I recently botched a whole batch of homemade ice cream.

  6. Katie says

    5 stars
    Made a giant batch of this for a party. It was delicious! It’s creamy and rich, but not overly sweet. It received rave reviews. Definitely a keeper.

  7. Katie says

    5 stars
    Made a giant batch of this for a party. It was delicious! It’s creamy and rich, but not overly sweet. It received rave reviews. Definitely a keeper.

    • Susannah says

      Hey Katie! I’m so glad to hear you loved it! This is one of my favorite party treats. Thanks for stopping by to leave a review and a comment! 🙂

  8. Mary Gulck says

    OK, I looked at this and thought what a perfect surprise for my daughters birthday. I finally found lady fingers thru youngest daughter at the world store. I had her pick up two packages. I started to make and decided on Kahlua for the liquor. While taking care of whisking the eggs and sugar, I knocked the bottle, large on the floor. It broke in a hundred pieces. My neighbor had more and I was in tears. I put all the creamy stuff in the frig as directed. Now it was midnight. I decided to put the rest together in the morning. I started early with the extra strong coffee my son in law made for me. He sent it in a sealed canning jar. While removing cap it flew out of my hands and into the sink, all of it. OK, I made my own coffee, added Kahlua and vanilla. I started putting together and prayed. IT Was The Best Dessert Ever. I did use almost pkgs of lady fingers. It’s a Big Hit. Thank You.

    • Susannah says

      Hey Marg! You definitely can. While marscapone is more authentic for tiramisu, you can absolutely use cream cheese if you combine it with whipping cream. I’ve never done it myself, so I would definitely research the right ratio for the substitution. I hope that helps!

    • Susannah says

      Hi Susannah, (Nice name!)
      I would say for the best, freshest taste you should make it no more than a day in advance. It does keep for longer, but I think it tastes best the first and second days. Hope she enjoys!
      //susannah

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