We independently select these products – if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at time of publication.
Tiramisu (which translates to “pick-me-up” in Italian) is one of my favorite desserts to make and to eat. The contrast between the rich cream filling; the spongy, coffee-soaked cookies; and bittersweet cocoa powder is, in my eyes, ultimate dessert perfection.
How to make lemon tiramisu
This dessert definitely appearance scary (and impressive!), but when broken down into different layers, it’s actually quite easy to prepare.
First you make your lemon curd. Combine large egg yolks, large eggs, sea salt, sugar, lemon zest, and 2/3 cup lemon juice (I used 3 whole lemons) in a medium saucepan and whisk well. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to simmer and thicken. Continue to cook for one more minute, whisking constantly. Then strain this mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium, non-metallic heatproof bowl. Add a stick of unsalted butter and let sit for a minute before stirring until melted and fully mixed with lemon curd. Cover, then transfer the curd to the refrigerator to thicken and cool completely.
Next, you make your lemon syrup. In a small saucepan, mix water, sugar, zest and juice of a lemon and possibly a sprig of fresh basil. Bring this mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then remove from heat and allow to cool completely. If you would like to add limoncello, let this mixture cool before adding 1/4 cup.
To make the final component, the filling, use a hand mixer or whisk to whip the cream to stiff peaks. (Freezing the bowl you’re whipping in for 5 minutes ahead of time can help speed up this process.) In a large bowl, combine half of the cooled lemon curd with room-temperature mascarpone cheese. Whisk this mixture until smooth, then gently fold in the whipped cream until fully combined.
To build the dessert, first dip the ladyfinger cookies in the lemon syrup one at a time, then arrange them in tight rows in an 8×11-inch non-metallic dish in a single layer. Then spread half of the filling in an even layer on top of the cookies, then add another layer of dipped ladyfinger cookies. Finally, add the remaining filling, evenly to an even layer. Cover the tiramisu and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to serve, top the tiramisu with remaining lemon curd, garnish with lemon slices and fresh basil and serve.
My honest review of Lemon Tiramisu
With thick layers of spongy, cake-like cookies, ultra-rich mascarpone filling, and a velvety, sweet-tart lemon curd top, it’s hard not to love this zippy dessert. If you’re a fan of lemon bars, lemon ice cream pie, or lemon meringue pie, there’s a very good chance you’ll love this version of tiramisu. And while it may not be a “pick-me-up” in the same way that coffee is, it will certainly provide a similar effect, thanks to all that powerful citrus flavor. Did it eclipse the original? No, not in my opinion, but it’s still incredibly delicious and perfect for spring.
I will also note that if you prefer desserts that err on the not-super-sweet side, don’t let the amount of lemon juice and lemon zest in this recipe fool you—it’s still very sweet! To combat this, I ate my slice garnished with a generous sprinkling of flaked sea salt and a black coffee on the side.