Creamy, Dreamy Lemon Tiramisu
Lemon Tiramisu is the summer-inspired dessert you didn’t know you needed! Ladyfingers dipped in lemon basil simple syrup, layered in a dish topped with a whipped mascarpone mixture and lemon curd! It’s the stuff lemon dreams are made of!
Creamy, dreamy, and lemony!
For this recipe, we start with a homemade lemon simple syrup – don’t worry, it’s just a combination of water sugar, lemon juice, lemon slices, and basil. If you can toss it all in a saucepan, you can make this easy simple syrup recipe (which, might I add is great for summer cocktails and mocktails?)
To make the whipped mascarpone filling, we’re going to whip together a combination of cream cheese and mascarpone cheese in a stand mixer and then add in a packet of vanilla pudding mix to stiffen the mascarpone cream. I like to use French vanilla pudding mix so that it’s speckled with vanilla bean throughout.
And then it’s on to assembly! Start with the savoiardi cookies (or ladyfingers) dip them in the lemon syrup, make a single layer in the dish biscuits, add mascarpone cream, followed by homemade or store-bought lemon curd. Repeat these layers one more time and you’ve got a fun twist on a classic Italian dessert!
Ingredients for Lemon Tiramisu:
- Cream Cheese: You’ll need both a package of cream cheese and a package of mascarpone cheese. Using a combination of these two products helps cut down a little on cost.
- Vanilla pudding mix: You’ll need a small pack of vanilla pudding mix. I find that it not only whips the cream cheese into a wonderful, almost banana pudding-like texture. But it also adds sweetness and the perfect vanilla flavor. I like to use French vanilla pudding mix for this, if you can only find vanilla, it’s fine just add a teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.
- Lemon curd: You’ll need roughly 12 ounces of homemade or store-bought lemon curd. Lemon curd is made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, sometimes lemon zest, and thickened with egg yolks.
- Ladyfinger cookies: These are easily available in most mainstream grocery stores these days. Sometimes they’re in the international aisle, and brands such as Delallo make these. Sometimes, you can also find them in the cookie aisle, depending on where your grocery store stocks them. You can also purchase them online.
- Sugar: You’ll need a 1/4 cup sugar to sweeten up the lemon basil simply syrup! Bonus: The syrup works beautifully with sparkling water to make an Italian Soda!
- Lemons: Fresh lemon juice and lemon slices go into the simple syrup recipe. This gives the simple syrup a luscious lemon flavor. We’ll soak the ladyfingers in this syrup before layering it in the dish.
- Basil: I used fresh basil from my garden and any variety you like eating will work well for this recipe.
How to make my lemon tiramisu recipe:
- Start with the simple syrup. You’ll combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Once the syrup reaches a boil, we’ll cook it for another 30-45 seconds before removing it from the heat. Let the lemon slices and basil steep in the simple syrup for a few minutes before discarding them. Remove the simple syrup from the saucepan and let it cool completely.
- Whip the mascarpone mixture. I like using a hand mixer and a bowl for this step but a stand mixer will also work. You’ll want to whisk together the mascarpone cheese and the cream cheese until it’s light and airy like whipped cream. Add in the vanilla pudding mixture and continue mixing. Then slowly add the milk in batches while you run the mixer on low. Using a spatula, stir the mixture to make sure it’s evenly combined.
- Layer the tiramisu. Dip each ladyfinger into the cooled simple syrup quickly and line half of the fingers in an 8×8 baking dish. When the dish has an even layer of biscuits, top it with half of the fluffy mascarpone mixture. Then we’ll add half of the lemon curd on top. And basically repeat the same layers until you’ve used up all the ingredients. Cover the dish and pop it in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours. Something magical happens in there. The ladyfingers puff up into a cake-like texture and the lemon flavor is beautiful throughout! It’s good old summer magic!
FAQs about this recipe
Refrigerating tiramisu overnight helps firm up the mascarpone layer while turning the ladyfingers into a beautiful cake-like sponge.
I like to cover the dish loosely with plastic wrap and pop it into the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours. Tiramisu tastes best when it’s had a chance to sit for 8-12 hours before serving.
Typically, it’s made from mascarpone cheese and egg yolks. For my eggless tiramisu recipe, I like to use cream cheese and mascarpone with some pudding mix to help set it.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Italian Orange Cake
- Key Lime Pie Bars
- Mangonadas (Frozen Mango Slushie)
- No Bake Nutella Pie
- No Bake Biscoff Cheesecake
- 1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone, softened
- 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, softened
- 1 (3.4-ounce) instant vanilla pudding mix (french vanilla preferably)
- 1 cup milk (whole or 2%)
- 12-ounces prepared lemon curd
- 1 (7-ounce) package ladyfingers
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 lemon thinly sliced, seeds removed
- handful of basil (or 1 tbsp dried lavender)
- SOAKING SYRUP: Combine all the ingredients for the soaking syrup in a 1-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, cook for 45 seconds, then remove from heat and let steep for 4 minutes. Remove the lemon slice and basil ANd discard. Pour the syrup into a shallow bowl and allow it to cool completely.
- MASCARPONE MIX: In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream cheese and mascarpone together with a hand mixer until completely smooth. Add the instant vanilla pudding mix and continue to mix until smooth. Make sure all of the pudding is mixed in by mixing it with a spatula. Then slowly add the milk in batches while you run the mixer on low.
- TIRAMISU: Dip each ladyfinger in the syrup and then place in an 8x8 baking dish. When the dish has an even layer of ladyfingers, stop. Spread half of the prepared mascarpone over the ladyfingers. Then dollop half of the lemon curd and spread it out into a thin layer. Dip more ladyfingers in the lemon basil syrup to make a layer for the dish. Then finish with the mascarpone and finally the lemon curd. Cover the dish and allow the tiramisu to cool for at least 4 hours, and ideally, 8-12 hours so that it sets up. Garnish with lemon slices if desired.
- Pudding mix: I like to use french vanilla pudding mix. You can also use regular vanilla and amp it up with a teaspoon of vanilla extract or bean paste.