A summery twist on the classic tiramisù, this Berry Tiramisu (Tiramisù ai Frutti di Bosco) is fresh, beautiful and a great summer send-off. Spiked with Limoncello for a bright, citrus scent, but easily customizable to a non-alcoholic version.
While everyone else is already knee deep into pumpkin-land, I’m having a hard time letting go of summer. I’m still trying to enjoy every bit of those beautiful warm nights, lit up by fireflies and serenaded by a symphony of cicadas.
Thankfully, my local grocery store still has berries in abundance, so I’m enjoying them while scrolling past this Fall in August nonsense. There is a time and place for a pumpkin spiced latte and, for me, that is September 1st!
Until then, I’ll be grilling all things, making homemade ice cream and eating my Berry Tiramisu!
What berry is best for Berry Tiramisu?
I like to use a mix of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, but you can use whatever kind you like. Just make sure to cut the berries into similar sized pieces.
Can I use frozen berries instead of fresh?
I would be lying if I said frozen berries would produce a tiramisu as good as the one made with fresh berries.
While frozen berries allow for some flexibility by extending a typically short shelf life, their structure changes considerably when they’re frozen, which results in a soft mushy fruit when thawed.
That being said, if frozen fruit is your only choice, I’d do it! Frozen Berry Tiramisu is better than no tiramisu.
How to macerate berries
The process of adding sugar and a splash of liqueur to berries and letting it steep over time is known as maceration. Not only this method amplifies the berries’ natural flavors, but it generates a thin syrup that we will use to soak the ladyfinger cookies!
Macerating also extends the life of the berries, so you can enjoy your Berry Tiramisu for up to four days if its kept in the fridge.
To macerate the berries, all we have to do is combine them with sugar, lemon juice and the limoncello (or orange juice, if you prefer to skip alcohol).
We are using more than a splash, about 1/2 cup, because we will need enough liquid to moisten the cookies. But if you ever want to macerate berries to use for other ends (like on top of waffles, for example), you can add just about a teaspoon or even omit the liquid altogether.
How to make Berry Tiramisu
This is an easy recipe, but I recommend you plan ahead so you can let the berries macerate for at least two hours.
As always, you can find the printable version in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
- Start by reserving some whole berries for garnishing. Then, cut the remaining berries into equal sizes. Strawberries should be quartered (or roughly chopped), raspberries and blackberries halved and blueberries can usually stay whole.
- Combine the cut berries with the sugar, lemon juice and limoncello. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Prepare the mascarpone cream by combining the yolks and sugar in a large bowl. Set that bowl over a small pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
- Whisk the yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy. I like to use a hand mixer, but you can use a hand whisk if you prefer.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, remove bowl from heat and let it cool completely. If you’re in a hurry, you can place the bowl in an ice bath.
- Add the mascarpone and limoncello, whisking (or mixing) until well combined. Reserve.
- In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream and vanilla extract, until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the whipped cream gently into the mascarpone cream.
- When ready to assemble, cut each ladyfinger into 3 parts.
- Use a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, drain the berries and collect the resulting juices. Dip each ladyfinger piece into those juices, just until lightly soaked.
- To assemble, layer 3 lady finger pieces in the bottom of individual glasses or ramekins. On top of that, add a layer of cream and then a layer of berries. Continue layering ladyfingers, mascarpone cream and berries until the top of the glass, ending with a layer of cream.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Garnish with the reserved whole berries and serve!
Tips for the perfect berry tiramisu
- A proper tiramisu should contain eggs, but don’t worry. As long as you make sure the yolk mixture reaches 160 degrees F when gently heating it in the double boiler, they will be safe to eat. Just make sure not to overdo it (cooking too long or letting the water get too hot) or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.
- When moistening the ladyfingers, don’t soak them. A quick dip will do! We don’t want soggy cookies or the texture of the dessert will be too wet and bland.
- Want to skip the alcohol? Use orange juice instead.
- Not a fan of limoncello? You can use a dessert wine (like Vin Santo, Madeira or Moscatel), rum, or even another type of flavored liqueur (like Chambord).
- I recommend making the tiramisu a day ahead, as to allow the flavors to combine. It will keep for up to 4 days in total and leftovers should be refrigerated immediately.
- While this dessert is best consumed fresh, you can absolutely freeze it if you have too much leftovers. When you’re ready to eat it, don’t let it thaw all the way and serve it as a frozen dessert!
For the berries:
- 1.5 pounds mixed berries of your choice (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and/or raspberries)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup limoncello or other dessert wine (non-alcoholic substitute: lemon or orange juice)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the Mascarpone Cream:
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon limoncello (or other dessert wine)
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- About 12 lady finger cookies, cut into thirds
Preparing the berries:
- Roughly chop the strawberries and halve the other berries if they are big.
- In a bowl, combine the berries, sugar, limoncello and lemon juice. Cover, refrigerate and let them soak for at least 2 hours, so the berries can release their juices.
Making the Mascarpone Cream:
- Place the yolks and sugar in a bowl over a small pot of simmering water, over medium-low heat. It's important that the water is warm but not boiling and that it doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl, so the bowl has to be bigger than the pot.
- Using a hand mixer, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Remove bowl from heat and let it cool completely. Add the mascarpone and limoncello, beating on medium speed until combined.
- Whip the heavy cream and vanilla extract on medium-high speed, until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream gently into the mascarpone mixture.
Assembling the individual Berry Tiramisu trifles:
- Drain the berries, letting the juices fall into a bowl. Dip the lady finger pieces into the juices until lightly soaked.
- Layer 3 lady finger pieces in the bottom of 6 serving glasses or ramekins. Pipe or spoon a layer of cream and then a layer of berries. Continue to layer ladyfingers, mascarpone cream and berries until you reach the top of the glass, ending with a layer of cream.
- Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, decorate with the reserved berries.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 664 Total Fat: 38g Saturated Fat: 21g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 13g Cholesterol: 237mg Sodium: 231mg Carbohydrates: 63g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 42g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 8g