Limoncello Tiramisu has Italian lemon liqueur soaked lady fingers and a fluffy lemon mascarpone cheese mixture. This is a delightful summery spin off of the classic Tiramisu that is perfect for summer entertaining. A citrusy dessert that is very easy to make and incredibly refreshing.
This Limoncello Tiramisu is absolutely divine served at the end of a summer feast of Dry Rubbed Wings, Summer Pasta Salad and Sgroppino (Italian Lemon Sorbet Cocktail). Also, it pairs beautifully as a dessert after Lemon Garlic Pasta.
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Limoncello Tiramisu 3 Ways
The following three approaches are all very popular ways to make Limoncello Tiramisu. The first two approaches are incorporated into this Limoncello Tiramisu recipe because of their popularity in the US. However the third approach, although popular in Italy, is not incorporated into this recipe due to the use of raw egg.
Zabaglione is a light and frothy Italian custard. It is the traditional custard used in making classic Tiramisu. Additionally, zabaglione custard uses just a few ingredients and comes together quickly.
To utilize this method make a batch of my Zabaglione Custard replacing the traditional marsala wine with Limoncello. Once made, let cool to room temperature on the counter for approximately 15-20 minutes. Mix into the mascarpone cheese.
Lemon Curd Method
Lemon curd is a type of dessert topping that can be used as a spread with scones or filling in cakes. It is made with similar ingredients as Zabaglione but has the addittion of butter. Lemon curd can be found in most grocery stores on the jam and jelly isle. However, if making it homemade I highly recommend Ina Garten’s Lemon Curd recipe.
Raw Egg Method(s)
There are 2 recipe approaches using raw egg:
- Recipe option #1 would be to make the zabaglione custard using the egg yolks and then beating the egg whites to stiff peaks. The egg whites take the place of the whipping cream.
- With recipe option #2 both the egg yolks and egg whites are raw.
Note: In the United States it is very unpopular to eat raw eggs. In fact, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) highly recommends not eating raw egg because of the chance of serious illness due to salmonella.
Make Ahead Dessert
Limoncello Tiramisu is a perfect dessert to make ahead of time for family dinners, summer holidays and special events that are hosted at home. It is important to note that this dessert is not suitable for picnics or beach parties. This is because the Tiramisu will need to remain in the refrigerator up until being served. Additionally, leftovers should be refrigerated as soon as possible.
- Lady Fingers– The type of cookie that works best for Tiramisu is the Italian Savoiardi style lady fingers. They are a dry cookie that absorbs and holds the limoncello syrup perfectly. Sprouts Grocery Stores do carry this style of cookie at an affordable price, although they are not marked as Savoiardi Lady Fingers. Note: The soft spongy lady fingers are not durable enough for making Tiramisu.
- Mascarpone Cheese– Mascarpone is similar to cream cheese. However, it has twice the amount of fat compared to cream cheese and is sweeter. Because of this, mascarpone gives Tiramisu a richer quality.
- Lemon Curd or Zabaglione Custard– Either lemon curd or Zabaglione Custard may be used to make Limoncello Tiramisu. However, each provides a slightly different quality to the end product. When using lemon curd, the Tiramisu will have a richer more buttery like quality. Zabaglione custard will provide a lighter more mousse like consistency.
- Limoncello– This Italian lemon liqueur is the star of the show. It is sweet, thick and has a bright lemon flavor. As a result, it makes this Tiramisu burst with lemon wonderfulness. Note: Either homemade or store bought Limoncello may be used for this recipe.
- Water– Used in making the Limoncello syrup.
- Fresh Lemons– Both the juice and the zest are needed for Limoncello Tiramisu.
- Granulated Sugar– Part of the Limoncello syrup.
- Powdered Sugar– Needed for the heavy whipping cream.
- Heavy Whipping Cream– Homemade whipped cream adds a pillowy lightness to the mascarpone filling.
How To Make
- Let mascarpone cheese sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to soften, but no longer.
- In a sauce pan cook lemon juice, granulated sugar and water just until sugar dissolves. Take off heat and let cool while making mascarpone filling.
- Beat together mascarpone cheese and lemon zest until just incorporated.
- Add lemon curd (or zabaglione custard) to the mascarpone cheese and beat on medium low speed until fully incorporated. Pro Tip: Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula halfway through to ensure lemon curd becomes fully incorporated.
- To the mascarpone mixture beat in 1/4- 1/2 cup limoncello. The mixture should have the consistency of smooth pudding.
- In a separate bowl, using a clean beater(s), beat together the whipping cream and powdered sugar on medium to medium high speed until soft peaks form, about 6-7 minutes.
- Gently fold the whipped cream into mascarpone mixture.
- To a shallow baking dish (such as a round cake pan) add limoncello and the cooled lemon syrup.
- Dip the lady fingers in the mixture for about 10 seconds per cookie. Note: The cookies should be wet but not saturated.
- Arrange the dipped lady fingers in a single layer on the bottom of either a 9×13 inch rectangle pan or a 9 inch round springform pan. Note: When using a 9 inch round springform pan, there will be enough leftover to make 3-4 wine glass Tiramisu servings.
- Spoon 3-4 large scoops of mascarpone filling over the top of the first layer of cookies. Spread evenly.
Repeat the process with another layer of lady fingers and mascarpone filling.
Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but ideally overnight.
- Decorate with thin lemon slices before serving.
This recipe works well in a 9 x 13 inch pan. In addittion, a 9-10 inch springform pan (seen in photos and video) allows for a presentation where the layers are visible. Additionally, when using a round springform pan there will be enough leftover ingredients to make 3-4 wine glass portions, depending on the size of the wine glasses.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is Tiramisu good for?
If stored in an air tight container, Limoncello Tiramisu will maintain its freshness for up to 2 days. However, it will still be edible up to 4 days later, just not with ideal freshness.
Can Tiramisu be frozen?
Absolutely! Store in an airtight freezer container wrapped in aluminum foil in the freezer for up to 3 months. The addittion of the foil adds an extra layer of protection against freezer burn.
What is a good substitute for Limoncello?
In all honesty, limoncello is the star of the show. I highly recommend not replacing it as it adds an amazing quality to this dessert. However, to do so you would increase the lemon juice to 1 full cup, the sugar to 1 1/3 cups and the water to 3/4 cup. Eliminate the Limoncello and proceed with the recipe as written. Note: Once the lemon syrup is made, reserve a 1/4 cup to be added to the mascarpone filling. Also, an additional tablespoon of lemon zest will be needed to make up for the brighter lemon flavor that the Limoncello provided.
How long can Tiramisu sit at room temperature?
Limoncello Tiramisu can sit at room temperature no more than 2 hours due to the possibility of bacterial growth. However, it is a best practice to refrigerate leftovers immediately after serving.
Is this dessert safe for children?
No, Limoncello Tiramisu is not recommended for children because of the alcohol content.
More Luscious Lemon Desserts
- 16 ounces mascarpone cheese *2 cups
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 12 ounces lemon curd * 1 1/2 cups, or 1 batch of my Lemon Zabaglione Custard
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup limoncello see Note #1 below
- 1/2 cup lemon juice *about 3 lemons depending on the size, see Note #2 below
- 1/2 cup water
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup limoncello
- 1 7 ounce package lady fingers (Italian Savoiardi style) see Note #3 below
- Remove mascarpone cheese from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, but no longer. See note #4 below.
- In a medium sized sauce pan add the lemon juice, water and granulated sugar. Heat over medium/high heat just until the sugar has dissolved. Remove pan from heat and let lemon syrup cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, using either a hand held or stand mixer add mascarpone cheese to mixing bowl along with lemon zest. Beat on medium low speed until just incorporated.
- To the mascarpone mixture add the lemon curd (or Lemon Zabaglione Custard). Beat on medium low speed until fully incorporated making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through beating.
- Once the mascarpone mixture is smooth, slowly beat in 1/4 cup limoncello. If a pudding like consistency is not achieved, beat in an additional 1/4 cup limoncello.
- In a separate bowl, using a clean beater(s), beat together whipping cream and powdered sugar on medium to medium high speed until soft peaks form, about 6-7 minutes. See note #5 below.
- Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture and set aside.
- Mix together lemon syrup and 1 cup limoncello in a shallow baking dish. Dip the lady fingers in the mixture for about 10 seconds per cookie. The cookies should be wet but not saturated.
- Arranged the lady fingers in one layer on the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan or a 9 x 13 inch rectangle pan. See note #6 below.
- Spoon 3-4 scoops of the mascarpone filling on top of the cookies and spread evenly over cookies.
- Repeat the process with another layer of lady fingers and mascarpone filling.
- Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Decorate with thin lemon slices before serving.
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