Berry Tiramisu

In my version of this traditional Italian dessert, I use whipped cream and no eggs, a choice made for taste but one which may reassure those who are nervous about using raw eggs as an ingredient.

Tiramisu is John’s favorite Italian dessert.  ‘Tiramisu’ translates to ‘lift me up’ or ‘pull me up’ and it sure does! There are hundreds of recipes from all parts of Italy and the world for that matter.  John ate it in Africa when he was a boy, cooked by either his mom or grandma.  The young kids were limited to only one piece for fear that the alcohol would affect them.  John fortunately was never rationed, and of course no Italian cook would simply leave out the booze. Enjoy!

You’ll need:
For the berry juice:
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup blueberries
(Or a combination of berries of your choice, you could also use strawberries)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup Grand Marnier or Chambord
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

The sponge – the Savoiardi:

1 7 ounce package Savoiardi

If you’ve ever wondered why so many tiramisus are too soggy, it’s almost always because they use soft lady fingers.  Savoiardi (a crispy lady finger) are absolutely essential to a good tiramisu, in my view.  Any old lady fingers just do notwork…

For the filling/cream:

1 lb marscapone, at room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Chambord

What you do:

Make the berry juice first.  Reserve a few fresh berries for garnish. Simmer the remaining berries and balance of the filling ingredients for about ten minutes, then add the lime juice.  Pour the mixture through a sieve or colander to separate the cooked berries from the juice.  Set both aside.

Next make the cream. Stir together the softened mascarpone with 2 tablespoons of the liqueur. Whip the heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gently blend in the mascarpone into the whipped cream mixture and set aside.

Lightly dip the Savoiardi, one at a time, into the berry juice.  Do not soak them or your tiramisu will be soggy.

Lay the coated Savoiardi in a casserole or baking dish (approx. 10×7), one layer at a time.  Cover the Savaoiardi layer with the half the cream and lay all the berries on the cream.

Add a second layer of coated Savoiardi, laying them atop the berries. Top with the remaining whipped cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours before serving,  overnight is ideal.

Top with reserved fresh berries and serve.


I would pair the tiramisu with an Italian Asti Spumante.  The slight sweetness will match perfectly and the bubbles will delight the palate. However, you could also sip a little of the Grand Marnier or Chambord, whichever you use in the berry juice.