This healthy tiramisu with yogurt will become your go to dessert all Summer long. It’s low in calories, eggless, easy and quick to make. The longest bit is to wait while it sets in the fridge. Plus, you can easily make it gluten free and even totally vegan.
What to expect: Take a bite and feel the slight crunch of the dark chocolate grated on top. Next, you’ll meet the creamy vanilla yogurt that’s so fresh and delicious. After that, you’ll taste the texture of the coffee dipped lady fingers that give that bite most of its sweetness. No worries, you’ll get one more layer of all that goodness.
If you don’t like eggs or are intolerant to dairy, you’ll appreciate this dairy friendly tiramisu that’s not sickly sweet, but still has all those tiramisu flavours we like.
Before making it, let’s learn more about this quintessential Italian treat.
Is Tiramisu Italian?
Apparently, there are people wondering whether this delicacy is Italian. So here’s the answer to that, one more time.
Yes, tiramisu is 100% Italian, so much so that it’s probably the number one Italian dessert in Italy and throughout the world, alongside gelato.
If you still have any doubts, think about the individual ingredients. The three main ones – coffee, lady fingers and mascarpone – are all ingredients originating from Italy.
Tiramisu in Italian?
Unlike, many of our Italian recipes that get their name changed and translated in other languages, tiramisu is tiramisu in Italy, in France, in Ireland, in the US, in China. You get the point, the name never changes.
So, tiramisu is tiramisu in Italian too. We called it that way from the first time we made it.
Here’s why it has that name.
It was first called tireme su, from the dialect of the region in which it was born.
Virgilio says that it might have been the Courtiers at the Serenissima in Venice who had given it that name.
Later, it became tiramisu to make its name purely Italian, with no particular regional influences.
The word tiramisu is made of two words: tirami and su.
Tirami means lift me, and su means up.
So tiramisu translates to lift me up.
Considering mascarpone and eggs are very rich ingredients, and coffee is known to precisely lift you up, no wonder why they called this dessert that way.
To that, you also add the rich lady fingers plus the sugar, and its name makes even more sense.
While we now consider it delicious and nutritious, at the Serenissima in Venice they made fun of the dessert, and thought it could well be a natural stimulant. Apparently, they called it that way alluding to its magic properties.
Where did tiramisu come from?
There is really no sure answer to this question.
Since Accademia della Cucina Italiana (the Official Academy for Cooking in Italy) identifies it as a dessert from the Veneto region, we are going to stick with that.
Assuming that tiramisu was indeed created near Venice, and precisely in Treviso, there are still two different stories that narrate its creation.
The Origins of the Tiramisu
One story says that the dessert came from a local tradition among the farmers who made a similar creamy dessert, and called it Sbatudin.
This was made with the egg yolk and sugar, well beaten and enjoyed as a dessert.
Later on, each family started contributing to this recipe by adding different ingredients to their own version. Some added coffee and cacao, even white wine and liquor; others added biscuits, butter, ricotta and cream.
The other story says that this dessert was born in a house of pleasure in the centre of Treviso, and specifically created by the owner (a woman) to be offered to her clients because of its aphrodisiac properties.
Later, a local restaurant added the recipe to its menu and that recipe had the exact ingredients of the tiramisu we know today. You can still find a restaurant in the same spot with the name of Calle le Beccherie.
Now, it’s up to you which of the two stories you want to believe. It’s also possible that both are true.
How to make a Tiramisu? The Original Recipe
As today we are not making the traditional tiramisu but a simpler and lighter version, let me give you the authentic tiramisu recipe.
Ingredients for a Traditional Tiramisu
Lady fingers, or savoiardi in Italian
Eggs, both the egg yolk and the white
Steps to make it
- Beat the egg yolks and sugar
- Beat the whites separately until foamy and stiff
- Combine the two
- Fold in delicately the mascarpone cheese
- Brew some Italian coffee, preferably in a caffettiera (classic Italian moka pot)
- Add a layer of cream to your casserole
- Dip your lady fingers in the brewed coffee and create a layer with those
- Repeat step 6 and 7 one or two more times, depending on the depth of your dish
- Top the tiramisu with powdered cacao
- Let it set in the fridge overnight, or at least for a few hours.
Here’s our classic tiramisu recipe.
Marsala in Tiramisu
Today, like back then in Treviso, there are many versions of this recipe. One of those versions includes Marsala liquor.
If you too want to add Marsala or another liquor, here is how.
Simply add a shot of liquor to your coffee in the bowl you’ll be dipping the biscuits. Then, start dipping and make the recipe exactly the same as I explained above.
Other options are Martini, Vermut, Bayleys, Rum, even an anisette flavoured liquor, and Sambuca.
There are also people who put limoncello in the mascarpone and eggs cream.
Feel free to get creative and add any liquor that would go well with either the coffee or the cream. But before you do that, make sure you taste the traditional Italian tiramisu with no added ingredients.
Can you make tiramisu without coffee?
Yes, you can make it without coffee, but considering that coffee is the number one ingredient in tiramisu, could you still call it that way?
In my humble opinion, if you want to make a classic tiramisu, you should always include coffee and savoiardi biscuits.
Then, if you are intolerant to dairy you can skip mascarpone and make a tiramisu no eggs.
You can even make your tiramisu gluten free. A famous Italian confectionery brand in the Veneto region, called Matilde Vicenzi, makes gluten free lady fingers.
And if you want to get creative and make a tiramisu lemon or strawberry version, you could leave the coffee out and add lemon or strawberries to your cream. Then, use a lemon or strawberry liquor to dip your biscuits in. Don’t call that a traditional tiramisu, though.
Tiramisu Biscuits: why Lady Fingers?
Not only savoiardi are delicious, rich and thus perfect to complement the other ingredients, but they are also the best Italian biscuits for dipping. They are crunchy but spongy, and that’s why we are able to get cake like consistency with a crunch. Plus, it’s much easier to make the dessert with buscuits than having to bake a cake and slice it.
But that’s not it.
The restaurant I mentioned earlier, the one in the centre of Treviso that added the tiramisu to its menu back in the 1800’s, used lady fingers in the recipe.
The Origin of Savoiardi or Lady Fingers
If you are wondering whether lady fingers, or savoiardi, also originated in the same region, let me tell you about it.
Savoiardi are called that way because they originated in Savoia, which was the region of the Savoy dinasty. That region included parts of Italy, France and Switzerland. The Italian regions that were part of Savoia included Piemonte, Valle d’Aosta, Sardegna and Sicily, although very shortly. Torino, in Piemonte, became the hub of the dynasty and the residence of the court.
Consequently, savoiardi have their origins in Piemonte but are also very diffused and produced in Sardegna.
However, their name comes from the French noun savoyard which means native of the region of Savoy.
Italian Recipe for Tiramisu with Yogurt
Let’s finally get making this delicious but healthy tiramisu recipe with yogurt.
Healthy Tiramisu with Yogurt
- 1 Italian coffee mocha or any other machine to brew coffee, like a coffee press
- 1 medium bowl
- 1 larger bowl
- 1 glass or porcelain dish
- 1 kg Greek Yogurt We are using vegan but feel free to use regular
- 28 Savoiardi biscuits or more, see notes
- 1/2 tsp Bourbon vanilla essence powder
- brown or better coconut sugar optional; I didn't use any as the other ingredients were already sweetened.
- Coffee to make espresso you can also use decaf coffee if you can't have regular. You can also mix regular coffee with milk for a lighter version.
- 2 squares dark chocolate or 1 tablespoon powdered cacao
- Prepare your espresso or coffee. You will need about 8 espresso shots or 1 medium bowl of brewed coffee. Feel free to sweeten at this point. I didn't.
- Put your yogurt into a large bowl and mix in the vanilla essence. Feel free to sweeten at this point. I didn't.
- Prepare the ingredients for your tiramisu - savoiardi, brewed coffee, vanilla yogurt and chocolate.
- Take your tiramisu dish and add a tick layer of the yogurt at the bottom of your dish, about 1/3.
- Then dip your savoiardi, one by one, into your coffee and lay them over the yogurt.
- Repeat until you have a full layer of biscuits.
- Top with a second layer of yogurt.
- Add another layer of coffee dipped savoiardi.
- Finish assembling your healthy tiramisu with the final one third of your vanilla yogurt on top.
- Finally, grate the dark chocolate on top of the yogurt until you fully cover it. Or cover with the powdered cacao.
- Store in the fridge overnight, so it has time to set.
- Enjoy over the next few days.
What dinner goes well with tiramisu?
Since we are giving the honour of the creation of tiramisu to the Veneto region, I think that the best dinner would be one inspired by Veneto.
Here’s the dinner menu I suggest.
Antipasti: Local cheeses and hams.
Pasta: Fresh bigoli pasta with Italian chicory and sausage.
Main course: A fish platter with fried calamari, insalata di piovra or octopus salad, and a fillet of sturgeon.
Dessert: Tiramisu served with a Moscato d’Asti or Marsala, you can also try a local liqueur like Barancino.
More Traditional Italian Desserts
Whether you want to add a selection of Italian desserts to your next dinner party, or want to try something different, here are 5 Italian classic desserts you’ll love.
- Plumcake with Italian extra virgin olive oil like Belmorso EVOO
- Crostata with a homemade pear and balsamic jam
- Mille foglie with Italian custard and balsamic strawberries
- Lemon Cake with our exclusive freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil (Novello) & mascarpone frosting
- Sicilian Cannoli with orange balsamic of Modena
What are the biscuits used in tiramisu? and other related questions.
Can you make tiramisu without coffee?
Can you make tiramisu without alcohol?
What liquor is used to make tiramisu?
What are the biscuits used in tiramisu?
How long to refrigerate tiramisu?
What drink goes well with tiramisu?
What dinner goes well with tiramisu?
Where did tiramisu come from?
Is tiramisu Italian?
How many calories in tiramisu cake?
Can you make tiramisu without mascarpone?