Tiramisu (Italian: tiramisù [ˌtiramiˈsu], from tirami su, "pick me up" or "cheer me up")[1] is a coffee-flavoured Italian dessert. It is made of ladyfingers (savoiardi) dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, flavoured with cocoa. The recipe has been adapted into many varieties of cakes and other desserts.[2] Its origins are often disputed among Italian regions Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Place of originItaly
Region or stateVeneto
Friuli Venezia Giulia
Serving temperatureCold
Main ingredientsSavoiardi, egg yolks, mascarpone, cocoa, coffee


Tiramisu appears to have been invented in the 1960s, but where and when exactly is unclear.[3]

The recipe for tiramisu is not found in cookbooks before the 1960s.[4][5][6] It is also not mentioned in encyclopedias and dictionaries of the 1970s,[7][8][9] making its first appearance in print in Italian in 1980,[10] and in English in 1982.[11] It is mentioned in a 1983 cookbook devoted to cooking of the Veneto,[12] and a Canadian tourist guide published in 1971.[13] This suggests that it is a recent invention.

Obituaries for the restaurateur Ado Campeol (1928–2021) reported that it was invented at his restaurant Le Beccherie in Treviso on 24 December 1969 by his wife Alba di Pillo (1929–2021) and the pastry chef Roberto Linguanotto.[14][15][16][17] The dish was added to its menu in 1972.[18][19][20][21][22][23][24] Accounts by Carminantonio Iannaccone claim the tiramisu sold at Le Beccherie was made by him in his bakery, created on 24 December 1969.[21]

It has been claimed that tiramisu has aphrodisiac effects and was concocted by a 19th-century Treviso brothel madam, as the Accademia Del Tiramisù explains, to "solve the problems they may have had with their conjugal duties on their return to their wives".[17][25]

There is evidence of a "Tiremesù" semi-frozen dessert served by the Vetturino restaurant in Pieris, in the Friuli Venezia Giulia, since 1938.[26] This may be the name's origin, while the recipe for Tiramisu may have originated as a variation of another layered dessert, Zuppa Inglese.[27] Others claim it was created towards the end of the 17th century in Siena in honour of Grand Duke Cosimo III.[28]

On 29 July 2017, Tiramisu was entered by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies on the list of traditional Friulian and Giulian agri-food products in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region.[29][30] In 2013, Luca Zaia, governor of Veneto sought European Union Protected Status certification for the dessert, based on the ingredients used in 1970, so substitute ingredients, such as strawberries, could not be used in a dish called tiramisu.[31][32][33]

Original ingredients

Traditional tiramisu contains a short list of ingredients: ladyfingers (savoiardi), egg yolks, sugar, coffee, mascarpone cheese, and cocoa powder. A common variant involves soaking the savoiardi in alcohol, such as Marsala wine, amaretto or a coffee-based liqueur, but this is not mentioned in the original recipe.

The original tiramisu made at Le Beccherie was circular in shape.[34]


Tiramisu birthday cake

The original shape of the cake is round, although the shape of the biscuits also allows the use of a rectangular or square pan. However, it is often assembled in round glasses, which show the various layers, or pyramid. Modern versions can have the addition of whipped cream or whipped egg, or both, combined with mascarpone cream. This makes the dish lighter, thick and foamy. Among the most common alcoholic changes includes the addition of Marsala wine. The cake is usually eaten cold.[35]

Another variation involves the preparation of the cream with eggs heated to sterilize it, but not so much that the eggs scramble. Over time, replacing some of the ingredients, mainly coffee, there arose numerous variants such as tiramisu with chocolate, amaretto, berry, lemon, strawberry, pineapple, yogurt, banana, raspberry, and coconut. These, however, are not considered true Tiramisu as these variations only share the layered characteristic of Tiramisu; these examples more closely resemble variations of trifle.

Numerous variations of Tiramisu exist. Some cooks use other cakes or sweet, yeasted breads, such as panettone, in place of ladyfingers (savoiardi).[36] Bakers living in different Italian regions often debate the use and structural qualities of utilising other types of cookies, such as pavesini for instance, in the recipe.[37] Other cheese mixtures are used as well, some containing raw eggs, and others containing no eggs at all. Marsala wine can be added to the recipe, but other liquors are frequently substituted for it in both the coffee and the cheese mixture, including dark rum, Madeira, port, brandy, Malibu, or Irish cream and especially coffee-flavoured liqueurs such as Tia Maria and Kahlúa.[38] Amaretto liqueurs, such as Disaronno, are also often used to enhance the taste of tiramisu.

Tiramisu is similar to other desserts, in particular with the Charlotte, in some versions composed of a Bavarian cream surrounded by a crown of ladyfingers and covered by a sweet cream; the Turin cake (dolce Torino), consisting of ladyfingers soaked in rosolio and alchermes with a spread made of butter, egg yolks, sugar, milk, and dark chocolate; and the Bavarese Lombarda, which is a similar composition of ladyfingers and egg yolks (albeit cooked ones). In Bavarese, butter and rosolio (or alchermes) are also used, but not mascarpone cream or coffee.

See also


  1. Wilbur, T. (2006). Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2. Penguin Publishing Group. p. 234. ISBN 978-1-101-04213-7.
  2. "Tiramisu Bread Puddings". bhg.com. Meredith Corporation. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  3. Squires, Nick (17 May 2016). "Italian regions battle over who invented tiramisu". Retrieved 27 March 2018 via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  4. Pellegrino Artusi (1960–1991). "Torte e dolci al cucchiaio". La Scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangiar bene. Giunti editore. p. 571. ISBN 88-09-00386-1.
  5. Fernando Raris; Tina Raris (1998). La Marca gastronomica: amore e nostalgia per la cucina e i vini di nostra tradizione. Treviso. Canova Editore. p. 31. ISBN 88-87061-55-6.
  6. Cremona, Luigi (2004). Italia dei dolci. Touring Club Italiano. p. 57. ISBN 88-365-2931-3.
  7. Enciclopedia Europea Garzanti. 1981.
  8. Enciclopedia Universale Rizzoli Larousse. 1971.
  9. Dizionario della lingua italiana Garzanti. 1980.
  10. Il Sabatini Coletti. Dizionario della Lingua Italiana, s.v.
  11. "Tiramisu". Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  12. Capnist, Giovanni (1983). I Dolci Del Veneto. ISBN 88-7021-239-4.
  13. Where to Eat in Canada, Oberon Press, 1971 (ref)
  14. "Ado Campeol, at whose restaurant tiramisu was invented, passes away at 93". 1 November 2021.
  15. "Pochi giorni dopo Ado Campeol, il papà del tiramisù, muore anche la moglie Alba Di Pillo, la vera ideatrice del dolce dei record". La Repubblica. 11 November 2021.
  16. " Tiramisu", LeBeccherie.it. Retrieved 2 November 2021
  17. "Ado Campeol, 'father of tiramisu' who helped the rich pudding to become a staple of Italian menus around the world – obituary". The Telegraph. London. 2 November 2021. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  18. "'Father of tiramisu' Ado Campeol dies aged 93". BBC. 30 October 2021.
  19. "corrieredelveneto.corriere.it/veneto/notizie/vino_e_cucina/2014/27-febbraio-2014/chiude-ristorante-che-invento-tiramisu".
  20. "What gave the Tiramisu its name?". Ticino Online. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  21. Rosengarten, David (October 2006). "The Man Who Invented Tiramisu!". The Rosengarten Report. Walter Pearce, Salt Pig Publishing. pp. 17–19.
  22. "Piedigrotta: History". Retrieved 14 March 2010.
  23. Vozzella, Laura (8 October 2006). "The Unsung Inventor of Tiramisu". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  24. Black, Jane (10 July 2007). "The Trail of Tiramisu". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 July 2007.
  25. "THE ORIGIN OF TIRAMISÙ: "FACT AND LEGEND". ⋆ Accademia Del Tiramisù".
  26. Dolce Jasmine (13 November 2017), Tiramisù: The story behind it, archived from the original on 7 November 2021, retrieved 14 November 2017
  27. "History of tiramisù". Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
  28. Soletti, Francesco; Toscani, Ettore (2004). L'Italia del caffè (in Italian). p. 110.
  29. "Prodotti Agroalimentari Tradizionali". politicheagricole.it (in Italian). Ministero delle politiche agricole alimentari e forestali.
  30. "GU Serie Generale n.176" (in Italian). 29 July 2017.
  31. Hernandez, Joe (31 October 2021). "Ado Campeol, the man known as the 'father of tiramisu,' has died". NPR.
  32. "Save the tiramisu, says Italian politician". The Guardian. 23 August 2013.
  33. "Italian Politician Asks EU To Grant Tiramisu Protected Status". ITALY Magazine.
  34. https://www.lebeccherie.it/allegati/ricetta-storia-tiramisu-en.pdf
  35. Greenspan, Dorie (14 June 2016). "The way to make a tiramisu even more unforgettable". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  36. Larousse Gastronomique, New York: Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2001, pp. 1214.
  37. "Tiramisù: pavesini vs savoiardi, chi vince?". Agrodolce. Archived from the original on 29 September 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  38. Cloake, Felicity (13 March 2014). "How to make the perfect tiramisu". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
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