Limoncello Tiramisu – A Citrusy Twist on an Italian Classic

Dive into a refreshing take on the beloved Italian dessert with this Limoncello Tiramisu recipe. Combining the zesty flavors of lemon with the creamy, rich texture of traditional tiramisu, this dessert is perfect for any occasion that calls for a touch of elegance and a burst of citrus.


For the Lemon Curd:

2 large whole eggs

2 large egg yolks

100g granulated sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

70g unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed

For the Tiramisu:

3 large egg yolks

70g granulated sugar

225g mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature

350g whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

225g limoncello

24 ladyfingers


Prepare the Lemon Curd: In a medium saucepan, whisk together whole eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in the cubed butter until smooth. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator.

Assemble the Tiramisu: In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the mascarpone cheese and continue beating until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.

Layer the Tiramisu: Dip each ladyfinger briefly into the limoncello, ensuring they are moist but not soggy. Arrange a layer of soaked ladyfingers at the bottom of your serving dish. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Spoon half of the chilled lemon curd over the mascarpone layer. Repeat the layers with the remaining ladyfingers, mascarpone mixture, and lemon curd.

Chill: Cover and refrigerate the tiramisu for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to allow the flavors to meld and the dessert to set.

Serve: Garnish with whipped cream, lemon slices, or zest before serving, if desired.

Enhanced Lemon Curd

  • Zest of 1 lemon: Add the zest to the curd mixture before cooking to infuse it with a deeper lemon flavor.
  • Pinch of salt: A small amount can enhance the lemon’s brightness and balance the sweetness.

Mascarpone Cream with a Twist

  • Lemon zest: Incorporate the zest of 1 lemon into the mascarpone mixture for an extra zing.
  • Limoncello syrup: Reduce 50g of the limoncello in a saucepan over low heat until syrupy, then cool and fold into the mascarpone mixture for an intensified limoncello flavor.

Layering with Flair

  • Fresh berries: Add a layer of fresh raspberries or blueberries between the mascarpone and lemon curd layers for a burst of freshness and a pop of color.
  • Crushed pistachios: Sprinkle crushed pistachios over each lemon curd layer for a crunchy texture and a complementary nutty flavor.

Presentation and Garnish

  • Lemon curls: Use a zester to create decorative lemon curls for garnishing the top of your tiramisu, adding elegance and hinting at the dessert’s main flavor.
  • Dust with powdered sugar: Just before serving, dust the top with a thin layer of powdered sugar for a sweet, snow-capped appearance.
  • Mint leaves: Place a few fresh mint leaves as a final garnish for a splash of color and a refreshing aroma.

Tips for Perfection

  • Chill the mixing bowls and whisks: Before whipping the cream, chill the bowls and whisks to help achieve the perfect stiff peaks.
  • Layering technique: For an artistic presentation, consider piping the mascarpone mixture using a piping bag fitted with a large star tip, creating beautiful swirls and peaks.
  • Soaking ladyfingers: Experiment with the soaking time for the ladyfingers in limoncello to adjust for preferred texture; some may enjoy a firmer bite, while others prefer a softer, more melded layer.

Refreshing Beverage Pairing

To complement your Limoncello Tiramisu, consider serving it with a beverage that enhances its citrus notes and offers a refreshing contrast to the creamy richness. Here are a few suggestions:

Limoncello Prosecco Cocktail

  • Ingredients: Prosecco, limoncello, and a splash of soda water. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.
  • Preparation: Combine Prosecco and limoncello in a chilled flute, top with soda water, and garnish. This bubbly cocktail echoes the lemony zest of the tiramisu while offering a light, effervescent contrast.

Iced Lemon Balm Tea

  • Ingredients: Fresh lemon balm leaves, boiling water, and honey or sugar to taste.
  • Preparation: Steep lemon balm leaves in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Strain, sweeten to taste, and chill. Serve over ice with a sprig of fresh mint. This herbal tea offers a refreshing, palate-cleansing counterpoint to the dessert’s sweetness.

Cold Brew Coffee with Lemon

  • Ingredients: Cold brew coffee, ice, a slice of lemon, and a hint of vanilla syrup (optional).
  • Preparation: Fill a glass with ice, pour over the cold brew, add a thin slice of lemon (ensuring to squeeze a bit of juice in), and a dash of vanilla syrup if desired. The coffee’s depth pairs beautifully with the tiramisu’s flavors, while the lemon slice adds an intriguing, refreshing twist.

Creative Serving Ideas

To make your Limoncello Tiramisu an unforgettable part of any gathering, consider these serving suggestions:

Individual Glass Servings

  • Presentation: Serve the tiramisu in clear glasses, such as wine or martini glasses. Layering in transparent vessels showcases the dessert’s beautiful layers and makes for an elegant individual serving.

Deconstructed Tiramisu

  • Concept: Offer a modern twist by deconstructing the tiramisu. Present components like the mascarpone cream, lemon curd, and soaked ladyfingers separately, allowing guests to assemble their bites. This interactive presentation can be especially engaging at more casual or interactive gatherings.

Dessert Shots

  • Miniature Version: For large parties or as part of a dessert buffet, consider serving the tiramisu in shot glasses. These mini versions are not only adorable but also convenient for guests to enjoy as they mingle.

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