If you like Tiramisu, you will LOVE this Easy Chocolate Tiramisu! It and takes the classic dessert to another level with layers of creamy chocolate ganache between the coffee-soaked ladyfingers and mascarpone cream. And what's even better is that this recipe is ultra simple to make, with less than 20 minutes of active work and only 7 ingredients needed to assemble the Tiramisu.
WHY TRY CHOCOLATE TIRAMISU
I am sure I am not the only one who loves the layer of cocoa powder on Tiramisu. The rich chocolate flavor complements the sweetness of the mascarpone cream and the bitterness from the coffee beautifully.
So it is natural to wonder - what if there was more chocolate in Tiramisu? Turns out, it really works. As I was testing this recipe, I learned that just adding more cocoa powder won't necessarily make for the best texture. Ganache is the answer - is rich and chocolatey, but also creamy and blends nicely with the mascarpone texture.
If you, like me, love the cocoa powder on Tiramisu, you will love this Easy Chocolate Tiramisu recipe!
Here's what you will need to make this Chocolate Tiramisu (exact quantities are listed in the recipe card at the bottom of this post):
- Heavy cream
- Semi sweet or dark chocolate - I prefer dark chocolate as the mascarpone cream is already sweet, but you can also opt for semi-sweet depending on your preferences
- Mascarpone cheese. I cannot stress the importance of getting a good quality Mascarpone cheese, as generic brands often result in clumpy, split mixtures. I strongly recommend Galbani, which has the smoothest mascarpone. Also, the mascarpone cheese should be slightly colder than room temperature. I take it out of the fridge about 20 minutes before using it
- Heavy whipping cream, chilled. Instead of using eggs to make the mascarpone cream mixture, I opted for just heavy cream in this recipe. It makes for a lighter mixture which is much easier to make (no need to temper or separate or whip eggs)
- Granulated sugar
- Ladyfingers or Savoiardi biscuits
- Espresso or strong brewed coffee - make sure the coffee is strong, and at room temperature (or cold)! I make espresso using my Nescafe machine, but you can also get it from a Starbucks, or make your own using a French press (with more coffee than usual) or instant coffee (but that doesn't work as nicely in my opinion)
- Cocoa powder - you can use regular unsweetened or Dutch processed
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE TIRAMISU
First, check out this short video to see the process in action:
Now, let's talk about how you make this Chocolate Tiramisu:
1. Prepare the ganache
Place the cream in a saucepan and heat over low flame until it just starts to boil. In the meanwhile, measure the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, making sure all the chocolate is covered. Cover the bowl with a lid or plate and wait 5 minutes for the chocolate to melt. Then stir until you have a smooth, shiny ganache.
The ganache will be on the runny side, but don't worry! Being runny means it is easier to spread in the layers, and it will thicken up as it cools down.
2. Make the mascarpone cream filling
This is easy, but also kind of easy to mess up, so read up!
First, combine the chilled heavy cream and sugar in a bowl and whisk until the cream becomes thicker (not quite at the soft peak stage). Then, add the mascarpone cheese, in 2-3 batches, and whisk slowly just until combined. As the mascarpone cheese is much thicker than heavy cream, it will make the overall mixture thicker, too, without needing to whisk for too long or trying to achieve stiff peaks. As soon as everything is combined and you have a thicker cream mixture, you're done.
Now, it can be somewhat tricky to work with Mascarpone cheese, as it has the tendency to split or become grainy quite easily. Also, different brands will give very different outputs. So here are some important tips:
- Make sure you use good quality mascarpone cheese; I recommend Galbani
- Make sure the mascarpone cheese is slightly colder than room temp, but not all the way chilled
- After adding the mascarpone cheese to the heavy cream, do not overmix! The mixture can split fairly quickly, so watch like a hawk and whisk on low speed until just combined
- Adjust the amount of mascarpone cheese based on your preference. I recommend adding the mascarpone cheese in 2-3 batches, and pause and taste as you go. It might be that you want the mixture to not be too thick, or too cheesy - in which case you don't need to add all the mascarpone cheese. Or you might want it to be thicker, in which case you can add all of it. In short, this measurement doesn't have to be precise!
- If you have added all the mascarpone cheese and the mixture feels runny, you can whisk it for a few more seconds until it thickens up and reaches a spreadable consistency
- If you end up with a mixture that feels too thick, don't worry - add more cream and fold with a spatula (avoiding a whisk or mixer as we don't want to overmix)
If your mascarpone cream mixture looks slightly grainy, don't worry. Usually it doesn't taste grainy, and will be just fine. But if it looks curdled and split (like cottage cheese), it cannot be salvaged, unfortunately. So do be careful with this mixing step!
Time to assemble! See, I told you this recipe was easy!
This recipe makes the perfect amount for a 9x9" dish of Tiramisu. You could also use an 8x8" dish (a deep one), but I don't recommend going for a larger pan as the ratios of the layers will be off.
Pour the espresso into a deep plate and mix in the cocoa powder. One by one, dip the ladyfingers into the espresso to soak them, and layer on the bottom of the pan. I recommend 2 seconds per side for each ladyfinger - less than that won't soak them all the way, and any longer will make them too soggy.
Top the ladyfinger layer with half of the mascarpone cream, and use an offset spatula to spread it out evenly. Then, gently pour over half of the ganache and spread it out. You can use an offset spatula for this, too, but I found it easier to just tilt my pan in every direction and let the ganache spread itself.
After this, repeat: ladyfingers, mascarpone cream, ganache. For the top ganache layer, holding your dish and gently tilting it in each direction to spread the ganache will give you a perfectly smooth top.
Once you have assembled the tiramisu, place it into the fridge for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight, to fully cool down and set.
When you are ready to serve, generously dust cocoa powder onto the Tiramisu, and slice right in!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FAQ: how long ladyfingers, mascarpone split, individual serving
Ganache being grainy is usually an indication that the chocolate seized up and split due to being heated too fast. This usually happens if you heat the chocolate directly. This won't happen if you let the cream come to just boiling and pour over the chocolate in a bowl (i.e., the chocolate isn't directly heated).
If your ganache becomes split or grainy, try putting it over a double boiler (bain marie) and stirring until it comes together again.
If your mascarpone cream mixture runny, it could be because your mascarpone cheese has a different consistency or your heavy cream wasn't whipped enough. Don't worry - just whisk for a few seconds and it should thicken up as the cream inside reaches stiff peaks.
This happens when mascarpone cheese is overmixed (it is really quite sensitive) or you are using a lower quality brand of mascarpone cheese (they are not all created equal). I strongly recommend getting a good quality brand like Galbani, making sure the mascarpone cheese is slightly cooler than room temperature, and being very careful when mixing it with the cream. You want to do it at low speed just until combined.
It is okay if the mixture looks slightly grainy; sometimes that it just the texture of the mascarpone cheese. It shouldn't taste grainy and will be good to eat.
The ideal dipping time is 2 seconds per side for the perfect soak.
However, it can vary depending on the brand of ladyfingers you are using (for example, the Whole Foods brand ladyfingers are larger than other brands and can take a bit longer to soak through). Therefore, I recommend dipping 1 ladyfinger for 2 seconds per side, waiting about 5 minutes, and checking if it has soaked all the way through. If you see a dry center, you might need to dip longer. If it becomes too soggy and soft, dip for less time.
Yes, you can prepare this Chocolate Tiramisu up to 2 days before serving (afterwards it does start to become a bit more soggy). Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge, and dust with cocoa powder before serving.
Keep the Tiramisu stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You can use an 8x8" dish or individual serving cups for this Tiramisu. It's flexible based on how you like to layer Tiramisu!
You can use strong brewed coffee (e.g., made in a French press but add more coffee grains than you normally would) or strong instant coffee (instant espresso powder mixed with hot water).
If you enjoyed this recipe, you will also love:
- Easy, no bake Tres Leches - this also uses ladyfingers instead of cake and turns out delicious!
- 4 ingredient Yogurt Parfait
- Easy chocolate mousse cake
Make sure to leave a review if you try this recipe!