Creamy, rich, and bursting with green tea flavor, this irresistible Matcha Tiramisu layers matcha-soaked ladyfingers with a light and airy mascarpone cream. It’s a modern Japanese twist on the classic Italian dessert. The vibrant green pop of color on this decadent sweet treat will wow your family and friends at your next celebration or party.
Tiramisu is one of Mr. JOC’s top three favorite desserts, and he’s been asking me to make it for a long, long time. We both love matcha, so I decided to put a Japanese spin on this elegant dessert, Matcha Tiramisu (抹茶ティラミス).
Matcha Tiramisu – A Really Simple Dessert
Tiramisu is actually a very simple, easy-to-make dessert. Basically, this dessert involves two steps:
- Make the mascarpone cream filling with egg yolks, egg whites, sugar, and mascarpone cheese.
- Assemble the tiramisu by layering the mascarpone cream and ladyfingers (biscotti savoiardi).
Once done, this no-bake dessert just needs to be chilled before serving, and that’s it!
Here’s the Catch and What You Can Do
Everyone loves tiramisu at the restaurant but I always wondered why I rarely see the homemade versions at potlucks and dinner parties. Now I know why.
The classic Italian Tiramisu includes raw eggs (both egg yolks and whites). If I was in Japan, I won’t be too concerned about consuming raw eggs; however, here in the U.S., they are not safe to consume due to the possible risk of salmonella.
Now in order to avoid the possible risk, you have a few options.
- Option 1: Use pasteurized eggs (which could be hard to find at your local grocery stores)
- Option 2: Pasteurize your own eggs (you can follow my recipe, but you’ll need an immersion circulator)
- Option 3: Swap egg whites with heavy cream (commonly practiced) and cook egg yolks till 160 ºF (71 ºC) (not so commonly practiced).
I thought I’d go with Option 3 as it sounds easier. Next, I’ll talk about what I learned from my experience.
2 Must-Have Kitchen Tools for Making Matcha Tiramisu
Option 3 didn’t turn out to be as simple as I expected, and here’s why.
The tiramisu recipe requires a lot of whisking/beating. You have to beat the egg whites (or heavy cream) and you have to whisk the egg yolk mixture really fast while heating so it won’t become scrambled eggs. There is no rest in between once you start.
At first, I thought my hand whisking would be good enough. Oh my gosh, after whisking vigorously for close to 10 minutes, I thought my arms were going to fall off. I had to switch over to my hand mixer which saved my life, seriously.
You will also need an instant-read thermometer. Why such a fancy thermometer?
It really comes down to prompt temperature control when you are mixing the egg mixture. Once the temperature of the egg yolks reaches 160 ºF (71 ºC), you want to immediately remove them from heat and stop it from further cooking. Otherwise, you will end up with scrambled eggs. I appreciate my thermometer even more after making Tiramisu.
If you’re a big fan of tiramisu and want to make this recipe frequently, I highly recommend investing in these two kitchen tools.
Layering Matcha Tiramisu
Once you have the egg mixture ready, the rest of the preparation is super easy. There is no more arm work involved.
If I may add one tip, I would suggest 3 layers instead of 2, especially if you are not into creamy desserts (like me). Adding extra ladyfingers gives more texture to the tiramisu. For 3 layers, you’ll need 36 ladyfingers (1.5 boxes). I think I’d like that better, but Mr. JOC is happy with the recipe as it is. JOC reader Merilda tried with 3 layers and her feedback is left in the comment below.
Make sure to dust the matcha powder RIGHT BEFORE serving, so the matcha won’t absorb the moisture from the tiramisu and ruin the presentation.
Speaking of matcha, it’s very important to use decent quality matcha for the obvious reason: beautiful green color and distinct matcha flavor. There are so many brands of matcha available online, and many of you asked me which one I recommend.
To be honest, I am very happy with the Maeda-en brand matcha (not sponsored) that I can purchase at my local Japanese grocery stores (or Amazon). It’s decent quality for baking and making sweets. I don’t recommend buying any matcha that’s cheaper than this brand. Matcha is expensive even in Japan, and if you’re about to get a big bag or cheaper brand of matcha, don’t be surprised when you see yellow-green matcha with an awful bitter taste (FYI, matcha needs to be consumed in 2-3 weeks, so don’t get a big bag.).
How to Make Individual-Serving Matcha Tiramisu
When I was going to make this recipe, I couldn’t decide if I want to serve Matcha Tiramisu in one big serving dish or individual serving dishes.
Personally, I like the look of individual serving dishes as it shows the layers clearly. My glass containers actually came from Tiramisu that we bought from Costco. They are pretty useful when you make tiramisu or parfaits.
Since many of you probably have a large serving dish, I created this recipe that works for both. If you’re making one single serving, then you’ll need an 8-inch-square baking dish (20 x 20 cm). If you have individual serving dishes (180 ml each), you will roughly need 8 of them.
The layering process is exactly the same – you just need to cut the ladyfingers to fit into your individual containers.
Whether you make one big Matcha Tiramisu or single-serving dishes, this dessert will be a hit! With an electric hand mixer and an instant-read thermometer, you’ll be fully equipped to make this delicious recipe to wow your guests!
- 3 large egg yolks (one egg yolk is about 19 g; at room temperature)
- ⅓ cup sugar (divided)
- 2 Tbsp marsala wine (highly recommend; missing a kick without it; can be substituted with dark rum or brandy)
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese (at room temperature)
- 1½ cups heavy (whipping) cream (36% or more milkfat) (chilled)
For the Cookie Layer
- ½ cup water (heated to 175ºF/80ºC)
- 1½ Tbsp matcha (green tea powder) (1½ Tbsp is 9 g)
- 24 ladyfingers (divided, for 2 layers; you will need 36 cookies for 3 layers; read the post)
- 2 Tbsp matcha (green tea powder) (for dusting)
Before You Start…
- Please note that this is a chilled dessert and requires at least 4 hours of chilling time, preferably overnight.
- Gather all the ingredients and equipment.
- You will need a medium saucepan, a medium heatproof mixing bowl to set over the saucepan, and two large bowls. Fill one of the large bowls with water and ice and make sure that the mixing bowl fits in this ice bath; set aside for cooling the egg mixture later. Also, set an instant-read thermometer near the double boiler in the next step.
- Set up a double boiler. First, add 2 inches of water to the saucepan. Next, set the mixing bowl on top and check that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Set aside the mixing bowl to use for the egg mixture. Bring the water to a bare simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low.
To Cook the Egg Mixture
- In the medium heatproof mixing bowl, add the egg yolks, marsala wine, and 3 Tbsp of the granulated sugar (out of ⅓ cup total). Start whisking it with a handheld electric mixer.
- Set the bowl over the saucepan of barely simmering water and continue to beat the egg yolks. Over the next 10 minutes or so, you'll gently cook this egg mixture until it registers 160ºF (71ºC), when it's safe to consume. Keep your instant-read thermometer handy to check the temperature. Tip: At around 160ºF, your eggs may turn into scrambled eggs; therefore, I highly recommend both an electric mixer and an instant-read thermometer for this process (please read my post).
- Continue to cook the egg mixture, beating it constantly. The egg mixture will increase in volume and becoming lighter in texture. It also will turn a pale yellow color.
- Continue whisking. I use Speed 3 of a 5-speed hand mixer throughout this process. Continue to check the temperature.
- As soon as the egg mixture reaches 160ºF (71ºC), immediately remove the mixing bowl from the saucepan. Set the bowl in the ice bath to quickly stop the cooking. Let it cool for 1 minute.
To Make the Mascarpone Cream
- Meanwhile, put the mascarpone in another large bowl and soften it with a silicone spatula. Add the cooled egg mixture into the bowl with the mascarpone.
- Note: The egg mixture does get cooked a bit on the sides of the bowl from the double boiler. Do not scrape off or use this cooked egg in your mascarpone mixture.
- Gently fold the egg mixture into the mascarpone until just smooth. Tip: The egg mixture will become grainy if overmixed.
- Now, make the whipped cream: Beat the heavy cream until foamy in another large bowl; you can reuse the bowl from the ice bath, but make sure it's completely dry. Then, gradually add the rest of sugar.
- Beat together until medium peaks form. The cream holds its shape well but is still soft and hasn’t started to become grainy. When you lift out the whisk, peaks will form but they will bend over at the end.
- Now, gently fold the whipped cream mixture into the mascarpone mixture.
- Fold the mascarpone cream until well combined.
- In a small bowl, combine the hot water (175ºF/80ºC) and matcha powder. Whisk together until there are no lumps. Transfer this matcha mixture to a flat-bottomed container big enough for a ladyfinger cookie to lay flat.
- One at a time, quickly dip a ladyfinger into the matcha mixture until soaked but not soggy; use a pair of tongs to flip it over to soak the other side. Then, place it on the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch (20 x 20 cm) baking dish. Repeat until you've arranged 2 rows of 6 ladyfingers each.
- Spread half of the mascarpone cream over the ladyfingers in an even layer. Smooth out the surface using the silicone spatula or a silicone pastry scraper.
- Create a second layer of cookies, dipping the remaining ladyfingers in the matcha mixture and placing them in 2 neat rows on top of the mascarpone cream layer.
- Top with the remaining cream and smooth out the top. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap placed directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Remove your chilled Matcha Tiramisu from the refrigerator and unwrap the plastic. Immediately before serving, dust the matcha powder on top of the tiramisu using a fine-mesh sieve. Enjoy!
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.