Creamy Hazelnut Tiramisu Recipe

Tiramisu is one of the most beloved desserts in Italy and can be found in restaurants and cafes all over the world. In this time-tested recipe, irresistibly delicate layers of espresso and liqueur-soaked biscuits, mascarpone cream, and chocolate combine for the ultimate "pick-me-up," as the name translates. Recipe developer Julie Kinnaird of Norr Table shares her version of creamy hazelnut tiramisu, which takes this classic to a new level of sophistication and flavor. Kinnaird made countless batches of tiramisu while working in a Tuscan trattoria and discovered the best methods for working with the ingredients for this dish. 

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The most important component of this dessert are the savoiardi, aka Italian ladyfinger biscuits. These are the crispy, crunchy variety of ladyfingers, and it is best to find an Italian brand. Also important is the mascarpone, which is a soft, spreadable cheese with a touch of sweetness. Do not try to use regular cream cheese as a substitute, as the texture and flavor will be quite different. The other key component is what you soak the savoiardi in, starting with a good-quality espresso or strongly brewed coffee. A variety of liqueurs and spirits are traditionally used as well, but Kinnaird is partial to the pairing of hazelnut with chocolate and coffee. With that in mind, she uses Frangelico liqueur, made in Italy from toasted hazelnuts in a celebrated tradition stemming from the 18th century. 

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Gather the ingredients for creamy hazelnut tiramisu

For this recipe, you'll start with crisp Italian ladyfinger biscuits, brewed espresso or strong coffee, and Frangelico (or another hazelnut liqueur) for soaking the ladyfingers. Egg yolks, granulated sugar, and mascarpone cheese are combined for one of the layers, and crushed roasted hazelnuts and heavy whipping cream also join the mix. Unsweetened cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate give this creamy hazelnut tiramisu a decadent finish.

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Step 1: Combine the coffee and liqueur

Combine espresso and Frangelico in a medium bowl and set aside.

Step 2: Make a water bath

Create a water bath by filling a pot with a couple of inches of water and bringing it to a simmer.

Step 3: Place the egg yolks and sugar over the water bath

Add yolks and sugar to a large, heat-proof bowl that will fit over the pot without touching the water.

Step 4: Whisk the custard

Whisk yolks and sugar over the water bath until mixture is pale yellow, thickened, and warm to the touch, about 5 minutes.

Step 5: Let the mixture cool

Remove from heat and allow to cool, whisking occasionally.

Step 6: Whip some of the cream

Meanwhile, whip ½ cup cream in a chilled bowl until soft peaks form.

Step 7: Combine the mascarpone and custard

Add mascarpone to the yolk mixture and beat on medium speed until smooth.

Step 8: Fold in the whipped cream

Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone cream.

Step 9: Dip and arrange the ladyfingers

To assemble the tiramisu, dip ladyfingers one at a time into the espresso mixture and place them at the bottom of a 9x13-inch dish with 2-inch sides.

Step 10: Spread on a layer of mascarpone cream

Once the bottom of the dish is covered, spread half the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers in an even layer.

Step 11: Sprinkle on some hazelnuts

Sprinkle on half of the chopped hazelnuts.

Step 12: Repeat the layering process

Repeat the process with the remaining ladyfingers, mascarpone, and hazelnuts.

Step 13: Whip and spread on the rest of the cream

Whip the remaining cream until thick and spread over the hazelnuts in an even layer.

Step 14: Top with cocoa powder

Dust the top of the tiramisu with the cocoa powder using a fine sieve.

Step 15: Cover and refrigerate

Cover the tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

Step 16: Finish with grated chocolate

Uncover and grate bittersweet chocolate over the top.

Step 17: Slice and serve the tiramisu

Use an offset spatula to serve the tiramisu from the pan.

Who invented tiramisu?

There seem to be as many origin stories as there are variations on classic Italian tiramisu, ranging from a Treviso brothel aphrodisiac to a rejuvenating breakfast for a nursing restaurateur. Whether either of these stories reveals the sweet truth, the main birthplace dispute seems to lie between the regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, where versions of the dessert are documented in various forms. However, in 1972, the name "tiramisù" first appeared on the dessert menu of Le Beccherie, which is a historic restaurant in the Piazza Ancillotto in Treviso. In October 2010, the official recipe for "Tiramisù de Le Beccherie" was filed with the Accademia Italiana della Cucina (Italian Academy of Cuisine), giving weight to Le Beccherie's claim to fame. 

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Kinnaird explains that classic tiramisu contains only six ingredients: savoiardi biscuits, espresso, sugar, eggs (either just yolks or yolks plus whipped whites), mascarpone, and chocolate. Kinnaird was taught to incorporate liqueur into the espresso, as well as a layer of whipped cream, which is typical of tiramisu found in Tuscany. Her addition of hazelnut flavoring and crunch adds a personal yet distinctly Italian flair.

How do you store creamy hazelnut tiramisu?

This creamy hazelnut tiramisu is a fairly perishable dish since it contains eggs and heavy cream, so it should always be kept under refrigeration. This dessert does, however, improve in texture and flavor after a couple of days, as the liquid becomes fully absorbed by the biscuits and the liqueur harmonizes with the other ingredients. Leftover tiramisu will keep nicely for about 5 days, as long as it is well wrapped to keep it from absorbing the odors of other foods in the refrigerator. Surprisingly, this dish also freezes quite well, either in individual containers or as a whole pan. Thaw the tiramisu slowly overnight in a refrigerator, then freshen up the top with another dusting of cocoa powder and/or freshly grated chocolate. 

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This dessert could also be prepared in individual ramekins or decorative serving containers. Follow the same technique for layering, but divide up the components evenly among your serving containers.

Creamy Hazelnut Tiramisu Recipe

4.9 (23 ratings)

This easy twist on classic Italian tiramisu is made extra rich and special with the additions of whipped cream, hazelnut liqueur, and crushed hazelnuts.

Prep Time
4.67
hours
Cook Time
5
minutes
servings
12
servings
Creamy hazelnut tiramisu slice on plate with coffee and chopped chocolate
Total time: 4 hours, 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups brewed espresso or very strong coffee
  • 5 tablespoons Frangelico or other hazelnut liqueur, divided
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 16 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 (7-ounce) package ladyfinger biscuits (about 30 biscuits)
  • ⅔ cup finely chopped roasted hazelnuts, skins removed
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, for grating

Directions

  1. Combine espresso and Frangelico in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Create a water bath by filling a pot with a couple of inches of water and bringing it to a simmer.
  3. Add yolks and sugar to a large, heat-proof bowl that will fit over the pot without touching the water.
  4. Whisk yolks and sugar over the water bath until the mixture is pale yellow, thickened, and warm to the touch, about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool, whisking occasionally.
  6. Meanwhile, whip ½ cup cream in a chilled bowl until soft peaks form.
  7. Add mascarpone to the yolk mixture and beat on medium speed until smooth.
  8. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone cream.
  9. To assemble the tiramisu, dip ladyfingers one at a time into the espresso mixture and place them at the bottom of a 9x13-inch dish with 2-inch-high sides.
  10. Once the bottom of the dish is covered, spread half the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers in an even layer.
  11. Sprinkle on half of the chopped hazelnuts.
  12. Repeat the process with the remaining ladyfingers, mascarpone, and hazelnuts.
  13. Whip the remaining cream until thick and spread over the hazelnuts in an even layer.
  14. Dust the top of the tiramisu with the cocoa powder using a fine sieve.
  15. Cover the tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
  16. Uncover and grate bittersweet chocolate over the top.
  17. Use an offset spatula to serve the tiramisu from the pan.

Nutrition

Calories per Serving 1,306
Total Fat 75.8 g
Saturated Fat 27.4 g
Trans Fat 0.8 g
Cholesterol 140.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 133.2 g
Dietary Fiber 5.6 g
Total Sugars 22.1 g
Sodium 1,596.0 mg
Protein 24.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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