Limoncello Tiramisu Recipe

Besides classic tiramisu, limoncello tiramisu is a must-try recipe! This no-bake Italian dessert truly becomes more “Italian” with a tangy twist from limoncello, a traditional liqueur, and fresh lemon. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the balance between the sweet and sour flavors of limoncello tiramisu.

Let’s start!   

What is Limoncello tiramisu

Before diving deeply into how to make limoncello tiramisu, let’s discover what sets it apart from the classic version.

The Limoncello Tiramisu recipe retains all the traditional elements of classic tiramisu but adds a twist with limoncello and lots of refreshing lemon flavors. It’s the perfect dessert for the warmer months when you crave that bright citrus taste.

limoncello tiramisu

When I learned how to make limoncello tiramisu, I saw many versions with a layer of lemon curd on top. Of course, this makes the surface of the cake more beautiful, as we can’t sprinkle cocoa powder on top like in the classic version. However, I prefer to keep it as simple as possible, so I decided to use strawberries, lemon slices, and lemon zest for decoration instead of making lemon curd. Furthermore, as far as I know, the traditional limoncello tiramisu does not have lemon curd on top.

Tiramisu is also a dessert that requires planning ahead: it’s important to let it sit for at least 4 hours before serving. Furthermore, the best version, in my opinion, is refrigerating it for a day or two, as it allows the flavors to blend to perfection.

There are a few reasons behind this: the ladyfingers soaked in limoncello and lemon juice mix will achieve a perfect texture after some time in the fridge. Plus, giving the tiramisu a day or two in the refrigerator helps it to set and firm up. Therefore, I highly recommend being patient to enjoy the best results.

Replace limoncello with another liqueur

This is… just in case you don’t have a bottle of limoncello at home while reading this guide. There have been countless times when I wanted to make a dish but lacked one or two ingredients. These are opportunities for us to be creative. Here are some suggestions for replacing limoncello:

  • Mix vodka with lemon juice and lemon zest/lemon extract. Limoncello can be made by soaking lemon peels in vodka, then adding sugar syrup. So, to substitute for limoncello, you can mix lemon juice, sugar syrup, and vodka at a ratio of 1:1:2. Additionally, add a bit of lemon extract/lemon zest to enhance the lemon aroma. Although it’s not exactly the same as limoncello, it’s still a good substitute.
  • Mix sugar, lemon juice, and water. I tried one tablespoon of sugar, one tablespoon of lemon juice, and two tablespoons of water; it seemed alright. This would be a non-alcoholic mix, suitable for those who don’t like or are not allowed to consume alcohol.

Ingredients

The list of ingredients for limoncello tiramisu is similar to the classic version, except you replace rum, coffee, and cocoa powder with limoncello, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Prepare:

The base: Lemons, Limoncello and Ladyfingers

2 lemons: These will give your Limoncello Tiramisu that delightful lemony flavor. You’ll need this fresh lemon juice and lemon zest to brighten up your dessert.

Limoncello: The soul of this dessert. You can buy limoncello in any supermarket. Homemade limoncello will be even better, but it takes nearly a month to soak lemon peels in vodka to achieve limoncello. You will need around 150-200ml of limoncello.

Ladyfinger: This is the base of tiramisu. I used 200g (7 oz) for this batch.

limoncello

The cream: Mascaporne cheese, egg yolks and whipping cream

Cream cheese or mascarpone (125g or ½ cup): This is the creamy base that gives your dessert its rich and velvety texture. You can choose between cream cheese or mascarpone, both of which have a slightly tangy and indulgent flavor. I chose a box of mascarpone cheese from Galbani.

mascarpone cheese galbani

Egg yolks (3): Egg yolks provide richness and help bind the creamy mixture together. They also contribute to the smoothness and color of the dessert.

Whipping cream (250g or 1 cup): Traditionally, limoncello tiramisu uses egg whites instead. The whipped egg whites add structure and lightness to the dessert, but whipped cream can be used as a less risky alternative because it doesn’t involve raw eggs, making it safer for those concerned about consuming them. The airiness of whipped cream helps create a creamy, fluffy, and light texture for the cream mix.

Sugar (60g or 1/3 cup): Sure, sugar adds sweetness to our cream mix. I always reduce the amount of sugar in my recipe, so you can taste and add more sugar if you prefer a sweeter flavor.

Now that everything is prepped and ready, we can move on to creating this creamy dessert.

How to make limoncello tiramisu

Here’s a simplified step-by-step guide on how to make Limoncello Tiramisu using the listed ingredients:

Step 1. Prepare the Lemons

First, take the mascarpone/cream cheese out of the fridge to let it come to room temperature. This step takes time, so it’s best to do it first to prepare for step 3.

Wash and dry two lemons. Use a grater or zester to collect the zest from both lemons. Set the zest aside for later use.

Cut the lemons in half and squeeze out the juice. Set aside the fresh lemon juice. From two lemons, you can get around 100ml of lemon juice.

limoncello tiramisu

Step 2. Mix Limoncello & lemon juice

Mix 150ml of limoncello and 75ml of lemon juice together. Taste the mixture – if you find it not too tangy, add more lemon juice. Note that the taste of this mixture should be tangier than your normal preference, as you will soak sweet ladyfingers in it, and the cream mixture is also sweet.

Step 3. Prepare creamy mixture

Pasteurize the eggs: Use a double boiler (or place a bowl on top of the pot, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the bottom of the pot) to heat a mixture of egg yolks and sugar, gently beating it with a whisk until completely dissolved and reaching a temperature of 140-160°F (60-70°C) for pasteurization. Make sure to whisk the mixture continuously and evenly so that the egg yolks do not cook and become scrambled eggs.

limoncello tiramisu
Continuously stiring the eggs so I couldn’t capture the folk :))

Mash mascarpone: Once the mascarpone comes to room temperature, in a mixing bowl, begin mashing the cheese until smooth and creamy. You can use a spatula or a whisk. Then, mix the mascarpone cheese with half of the lemon zest you obtained and the pasteurized egg yolk mixture.

limoncello tiramisu

Whisk whipping cream: In a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream by hand or with a hand mixer until it forms soft peaks. To learn more about whisking whipping cream, refer to this article.

Mix altogether: Carefully fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until fully incorporated. Be gentle to maintain the fluffy texture of the whipped cream.

limoncello tiramisu

Step 4: Assemble limoncello tiramisu

  • Take a serving dish or small glasses to assemble the tiramisu in. I used a large serving dish and small glasses for this amount.
  • Begin by placing a layer of ladyfingers at the bottom. Dip the ladyfingers into the limoncello mix you prepared in step 2, then place them at the bottom of the glass box.
limoncello tiramisu
  • Spread a portion of the cream mixture over the ladyfingers.
  • Repeat the layering process. Continue to dip and place the second layer of ladyfingers over the cream layer. Then, spread the remaining portion of the cream mixture on top.
tiramisu
  • Gently tap the box several times over a soft surface (to avoid breaking it) to achieve an even, flat surface.

Step 5. Chilling

Chilling is essential for limoncello tiramisu. I consider it an important step to enhance its flavor and texture.

Cover your Limoncello Tiramisu with plastic wrap or a lid. Then, refrigerate it for at least 4 hours or overnight. This allows the flavors to meld and the dessert to set.

Final Decoration for Limoncello tiramisu

Just before serving, garnish the top with a final sprinkle of lemon zest for a burst of freshness. Add some colorful berries, such as strawberries or raspberries, and several slices of lemon to decorate. You are free to change the toppings, but in my opinion, you should have at least lemon zest.

limoncello tiramisu

Serve your homemade Limoncello Tiramisu chilled and enjoy!

limoncello tiramisu

Limoncello Tiramisu Recipe

Yield: 4 portions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Limoncello tiramisu, a no-bake Italian dessert, indeed becomes more “Italian” with a tangy twist from limoncello and fleshing lemon.

Ingredients

The Base

The cream

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 125g (1/2 cup) mascarpone cheese
  • 250g (1 cup) whipping cream

Decoration

  • 3-4 lemon slices
  • Strawberry/ Rasberry

Instructions

Step 1. Prepare the Lemons

First, take the mascarpone/cream cheese out of the fridge to let it come to room temperature. It takes time, so you should do this first to prepare for step 3.

  • Wash and dry two lemons. Use a grater or zester to collect the zest from both lemons. Set aside for later.
  • Squeeze the juice. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze out the juice. Set the fresh lemon juice aside. From two lemon, you can get around 100ml of lemon juice. limoncello tiramisu

Step 2. Mix Limoncello & lemon juice

  • Mix 150ml limoncello and 75ml lemon juice together. Taste the mix – if you find it not too tangy, add more lemon juice. Note that the taste of this mix should be tangier than your normal taste, as you will soak sweet ladyfingers in and the cream mixture is also sweet. Limoncello tiramisu

Step 3. Prepare creamy mixture

  • Pasteurize the eggs: Use a double boiler (or place a bowl on top of the pot, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the bottom of the pot) to heat a mixture of egg yolks and sugar, beat it gently using a whisk to dissolve completely and reach a temperature of 140-160°F (60-70°C) for pasteurization. Make sure to whisk the mixture continuously and evenly so the egg yolks are not cooked. limoncello tiramisu
  • Mash mascarpone: Once the mascarpone comes to room temperature, in a mixing bowl, start to mash the cheese. Mash it until smooth and creamy. You can use a spatula or a whisker. Then, mix mascarpone cheese with ½ of the lemon zest you got and egg yolks mixture you have pasteurized. limoncello tiramisu
  • Whisk whipping cream: In a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream by hand or with a hand mixer until it forms stiff peaks. To learn more about whisking whipping cream, refer to this article.
  • Mix altogether: Carefully fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until fully incorporated. Be gentle to keep the fluffy form of whipped cream. limoncello tiramisu

Step 4: Assemble limoncello tiramisu

  • Prepare serving box. Take a serving glass box or glass to assemble the tiramisu in. I used a big glass box and a small glass for this amount.
  • Place ladyfinger layer. Begin by placing a layer of ladyfingers at the bottom. Dip ladyfingers into the limoncello mix you prepared at step 2, then place at the bottom of the glass box. limoncello tiramisu
  • Add cream layer. Spread a portion of the cream mixture over the ladyfingers. limoncello tiramisu
  • Repeat the layering process. Continue to dip and place the second layer of ladyfingers over the cream layer. Then, spread the last portion of cream mixture on.
  • Gently tap the box several times on a soft tissue (don’t make it broken please) to achieve an even, flat surface. limoncello tiramisu

Step 5. Chilling

  • Chilling is compulsory for limoncello tiramisu. Cover your Limoncello Tiramisu with plastic wrap or a lid. Refrigerate it for at least 4 hours or overnight. This allows the flavors to meld and the dessert to set.

Step 6. Decoration

  • Garnish limoncello tiramisu. Just before serving, garnish the top with a final sprinkle of lemon zest for a burst of freshness. Add some colorful berries on, such as strawberry or raspberry, and several slices of lemon to decorate. limoncello tiramisu

Now your limoncello tiramisu is ready to serve! limoncello tiramisu

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 200g (1 cup)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 525

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