Panettone tiramisu is more than just a way to use up leftover panettone, it's a wonderfully flavorful twist on the classic Italian dessert. It's easy to make, comforting and oh so delicious. Perfect as an alternative festive dessert, too.
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I have always been a fan of panettone, and love making my own now and then (here's my panettone recipe that is a little simpler than the super traditional multi-day versions). But a whole one is generally more than we can realistically get through ourselves without getting a little creative.
Last year I shared my panettone bread and butter pudding which we all loved, and I have been waiting all year to share this delicious dessert, too (we had both from the same loaf, but I didn't want to go TOO overboard with panettone recipes at once, tempting as it was!)
What is in a traditional tiramisu?
Tiramisu is a traditional Italian dessert from Treviso near Venice in the North of the country. As with many traditional dishes, the exact origins are debated, but the city is still understandably proud of the dish and celebrates it with an annual competition.
Traditionally, tiramisu comprises of layers of ladyfinger cookies (savoiardi) soaked in coffee with a rich mascarpone and egg yolk cream in between each later. A generous dusting of cocoa powder finishes it off.
A common variation involves using alcohol, such as marsala, in place of the coffee for soaking the ladyfingers. In the US, it's common to temper the egg yolks given concerns over using them raw, though in Italy this is rarely done.
A seasonal variation
This variation is very simple as it swaps out the traditional ladyfingers with pieces of panettone. I have also tweaked the mascarpone component to use cream with the mascarpone, which is another common variation in the US to avoid using egg yolks raw, or needing to go through the tempering process.
I know, it is less traditional, but given the change in the sponge layer anyway, it is not exactly traditional to start. You can, if you prefer, swap the creamy component for the more traditional version if you prefer - both will be delicious.
I used decaffeinated coffee for this since the kids were going to be eating it (and we were having later in the day) but both decaf and regular coffee work. Just make sure it is strong either way as the flavor will milden as it soaks into the panettone.
Steps to make panettone tiramisu
This dish comes together in just a few steps:
- Chop the panettone into 'fingers'.
- Whip the cream, mix sugar into the mascarpone then fold in the cream.
- Dip panettone in cold coffee then form layers of panettone with mascarpone cream and cocoa powder.
- Allow the dessert to chill in the fridge.
It's really a pretty simple dessert with only a few ingredients. If you like, you can add some coffee liqueur in with the coffee, but it really works well without it. You can also use decaffeinated coffee to be that bit more family-friendly, too.
It's a great dessert for entertaining in that it is prepared ahead, with all left to do being to serve it up. And it looks impressive, too.
Tips for making this dessert
While as I say this is really pretty easy, a couple tips to help it come out well:
- Slightly stale panettone works better than fresh to be able to absorb the coffee better without going to mush.
- While you can have uneven sized pieces of panettone, try to have them even thickness so the layer is even in height. Also, having at least most similar length makes it easier to piece together as you make layers.
- Make sure the sugar is well blended into the mascarpone to avoid having pieces in the end mixture that can either be an odd crunch or go to liquid. Fine sugar makes it easier to blend in.
- Fold in the cream rather than stirring, so that you keep some air in there. This helps the mascarpone layer to be that bit lighter.
Top tip: prepare ahead
This dish is definitely at its best if you prepare it ahead and let it rest in the fridge for a few hours, or even overnight. Not only does it make it easy and great for entertaining that way, but more importantly, it lets the flavor get right into the panettone. The chilling time also helps the layers be a little firmer, so it looks better when served.
Panettone tiramisu is a lovely seasonal twist on the classic Italian dessert that's just as easy to make. It has great flavors, rich creaminess and those little bursts of fruit in the panettone work so well with the other flavors, too. Great as a way to use leftovers or serve as a festive dessert. Either way, it's sure to please.
Try these other festive desserts and treats:
- Pavlova wreath (a lovely variation on the meringue dessert, topped with cream and fruit)
- Stollen (German Christmas cake, this version made with prunes and with a marzipan core)
- Galette de rois (French king cake - typically enjoyed in January for epiphany)
- Piernik (Polish gingerbread cake/loaf, with a lovely spice flavor)
- And get more dessert recipes in the archives.
- ⅔ cup heavy cream double cream
- ⅔ cup mascarpone
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- ½ lb panettone (½lb being approx 12 "fingers")
- ¾ cup coffee cold
- 2 squares chocolate approximately (optional)
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder unsweetened
- Place the cream in a bowl and beat until the cream forms soft peaks.
- In a separate bowl (medium-large), cream together the mascarpone and sugar until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Fold in the whipped cream so everything is well mixed but still relatively light (try not to lose all the air). Set aside, ideally in the fridge until you are ready to use.
- Cut the panettone into fingers, roughly the size of ladyfinger cookies (so around ⅓ in/1cm deep, 1 in/2.5cm wide). Place the coffee in a shallow dish, wide enough to hold a piece of the panettone but not too much more.
- Dip slices of panettone into the coffee then place them in a single layer in a dish or dishes (I'd suggest one dish approximately 8x6in, 20x15cm and 2in/5cm deep or equivalent volume, or you could make in individual dishes).
- Spread roughly half of the mascarpone-cream mixture over the panettone slices and spread to form an even layer, spreading right to the edges. If you like, grate some chocolate over the cream layer.
- Dip the rest of the panettone pieces in the coffee and form a second layer on top of the cream, then top this with the rest of the mascarpone cream.
- Spread the mascarpone cream mixture evenly and to the edges and smooth off the top. Top with the cocoa powder, sprinkled on through a fine mesh sieve.
- Chill the tiramisu, covered, in the fridge for a few hours or, even better, overnight, before serving.
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