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.
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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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
- 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
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.
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amount per serving:
Video by Chris Henry Co.