Tiramisu, the classic Italian dessert, is simple to make, but stick with an updated recipe. Older versions take less time, but the raw eggs can make the cream watery. Once mastered, keep tiramisu refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and eat it within two days. Even a thick cream filling may become watery as it sits in the refrigerator.
Fixing a finished cream or tiramisu that's watery is challenging. If you haven't assembled the dish yet, pour any excess liquid off and refrigerate the cream to firm it. Add a bit of unflavored gelatin softened in warm water. To fix a watery finished dessert, blot it with paper towels and keep it well chilled. Serve immediately because it's probably not going to improve as it sits.
The Egg Fix
Older recipes for tiramisu call for mixing mascarpone cheese with beaten egg yolks, followed by folding egg whites into the mixture. If you fold the egg whites too aggressively, they'll deflate and perhaps become watery. You also run the risk of foodborne illness caused by bacteria in the raw eggs. To eliminate this worry, skip the egg whites altogether and heat egg yolks with sugar and flavorings in a double boiler to 160 Fahrenheit. Whisk constantly as the eggs heat and thicken. Cool the mixture in an ice bath before beating it into the mascarpone cheese. The eggs are heated enough to destroy bacteria and they create a thick, yellow custard, which stabilizes the filling and prevents it from becoming watery.
The Whipping Cream Fix
Replace egg whites in the mascarpone filling with heavy whipping cream instead. This one change eliminates the risk of using eggs and creates a more stable filling. Combining mascarpone with whipped cream stabilizes the cream so it doesn't deflate, according to Cindy Mushet, author of "The Art & Soul of Baking," but you can add an extra bit of insurance by stabilizing the whipped cream with gelatin first. Combine unflavored gelatin and warm water. Add a bit of warmed whipping cream to temper the mixture. Whip the cream until soft peaks form, add the gelatin mixture and continue whipping to form stiff peaks. When added to mascarpone cheese, this whipping cream forms a slightly stiff, stable filling that won't weep.
The Cookie Fix
Another reason your cream might become watery is that the sponge cake or ladyfingers are soggy. Dip them in the coffee and liquor mixture just until the outside is soft, but the inside is still hard and solid. The coffee should not permeate the entire cake or cookie. Not only do soggy cookies and cake change the texture of the dessert, coffee from them can also seep into the cream filling, making it watery.
- Fine Cooking: Updated Tiramisu
- Fine Cooking: Tiramisu
- Zoe Bakes: Tiramisu
- The Art & Soul of Baking; Cindy Mushet
- The Woodland Bakery Blog: Stabilized Whipped Cream for Icing Cakes
- USDA: Shell Eggs from Farm to Table
Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."