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Can You Make a Great Tiramisu Without Using Eggs?

by Kathryn Roberts

Tiramisu, the popular Italian dessert, consists of layers of coffee- and liqueur-soaked sponge cake and a smooth cream of eggs, sugar and mascarpone, all topped with a dusting of cocoa. Whether you are trying to cut eggs from your diet or simply are out of the staple, you can still produce a delicious tiramisu. As long as you substitute correctly, you can produce a creamy filling to complement the bold coffee flavor of the cake.

Magnificent Mascarpone

Similar to a custard, traditional tiramisu filling calls for whisking egg yolks with sugar before beating in mascarpone. The eggs serve as a binder for the filling and help create the smooth texture. To make the cream eggless, simply omit the eggs and beat several tablespoons of milk with the mascarpone. Consider adding a dash of lemon juice as well. Alternatively, you can add egg-free custard powder to the cheese mixture. With either substitution, beat the mascarpone mixture until very smooth. The filling will be more dense than traditional tiramisu.

Whip It Up

For a lighter eggless tiramisu filling, omit the eggs and add heavy cream. Substitute about 1/2 cup of whipping cream per 2 egg yolks. Beat the mascarpone and sugar until smooth. Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the cheese until just mixed. Take care not to over-mix the filling, as too much stirring or folding will deflate the air pockets in the whipped cream, resulting in a denser filling. Both the texture of the whipped cream and the flavor will help to mimic the traditional tiramisu filling, though it will still be slightly less fluffy than the original recipe.

Take the Cake

When making an eggless tiramisu, you must remember that traditional ladyfingers are made with eggs. You may be able to purchase egg-free ladyfingers at a specialty foods store. If you cannot find them, bake your favorite eggless sponge cake. Choose a recipe that produces a light, airy texture that will mimic ladyfingers. Bake the cake in a thin layer on a sheet pan, then cut the cake into pieces the size of your final dish. Alternatively, bake the cake in traditional cake pans and slice them into layers as you would a regular cake.

Tiramisu with a Twist

Consider adding non-traditional flavors to your eggless tiramisu for a fun twist. The variation in taste will also help distinguish your dessert from the original, making the textural differences between the two desserts less jarring. Consider adding amaretto liqueur to the filling or the cake for an almond flavor. Beat lemon juice and zest into the tiramisu filling and soak the cake with limoncello for a refreshing citrus dessert. Substitute the coffee liqueur for a raspberry variety and beat fresh berries into the filling for a summery take. Alternatively, bake an eggless chocolate sponge cake and whip melted chocolate into the filling for a decadent chocolate tiramisu.

References

  • On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen; Harold McGee
  • Baking & Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft; The Culinary Institute of America

About the Author

Kathryn Roberts has worked in the culinary industry for nearly a decade in various roles, including pastry chef and bakery manager. After studying at the Culinary Institute of America, she earned her BFA from Goddard College and is pursing an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images