Limoncello Tiramisu

Those dishes are $.25 at the thrift store

By Katherine

Limoncello tiramisu is time consuming and costly. First you’ll need to find a friend willing to give you cute vintage dishes with their own cute individual lids. Or scour flea markets. Tuck them into a cabinet and use sparingly. Next, wait for your local liquor shop to put Grand Marnier on sale. Tuck into a cabinet, use sparingly. Check out the prices for limoncello. Balk. Make your own batch. Wait five weeks for limoncello to be ready. Decide the torte recipe you normally use for tiramisu is just too much for two. Ask your husband to pick up ladyfingers at the grocery store. Listen in disbelief when he tells you the bakery doesn’t sell them. Call grocery store to be reassured they do. Head there on the way home from work. Fret over the quality of said ladyfingers once you finally find them. Buy them anyway. Cross your own lady fingers, throw out the inadequate recipes you’ve found online, roll up your sleeves and, oh wait you’ll need to make the candied lemon peels first… the tiramisu will have to wait for tomorrow. Better sip some of that limoncello to make sure it’s up to snuff.

Candied lemon peels

  • 3 lemons
  • 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups sugar

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the lemon in long strips. You only want the yellow stuff, try not to get any of the pith.

In a small saucepan, pour two cups of cold water over the lemon peels and bring to a boil, cook for about 10 minutes. Remove the peels from the pan and set aside.

Pour two cups of the sugar into the water in the pan and add a cup of water, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Add the peels and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the peels are tender and translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the peels and let cool. Reserve the lemon simple syrup, you’ll want it for the tiramisu.

Measure the remaining sugar into a medium bowl and add the peels. Toss to coat. Remove the peels one at time, shaking each to remove excess sugar. Store in an airtight container.

For store bought they were OK, the torte is still the best

Limoncello Tiramisu

For zabaglione

  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup, less one tablespoon limoncello
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier

In the top of a double broiler beat egg yolks and sugar until pale, about five minutes. Place double broiler over barely simmering water. Slowly stir Grand Marnier and limoncello. Cook over low heat stirring almost constantly until the zabaglione is a thick, smooth and airy, about five minutes at most. Remove from heat.

For mascarpone filling

  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces Mascarpone
  • 1 egg white (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • Zest from one lemon

Beat egg white, mascarpone, powdered sugar, liquor, zest and cheese until blended and smooth. Set aside.

For cake

  • 3 ounces ladyfingers (one small package)
  • 1/2 cup lemon simple syrup (left over from candied lemon peel)
  • 1 ounce limoncello

To assemble: The recipe will fill a pan about the size of a brownie pan or can be done as individual servings. (I filled three dishes that each held 1 1/2 cups.) Quickly dip ladyfingers in simple syrup and limoncello mix making sure to coat both sides Line the bottom of chosen dish with ladyfingers. Smooth a layer of the mascarpone filling over the top, then a layer of the zabaglione, top with ladyfingers and repeat until the dish is filled. On the last layer, put the zabaglione first and the mascarpone last. Refrigerate for four hours. Bide your time with a lemon drop while you wait. That simple syrup isn’t going to drink itself.

Before serving, sprinkle tiramisu with chopped candied lemon peels.

That is one good looking bite

Notes: Save that lemon simple syrup. It tastes great in iced tea or a lemon drop martini. (That’s tomorrow’s recipe!)

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
This entry was posted in Dessert, Food, Italian, Recipes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

117 Responses to Limoncello Tiramisu

  1. nrhatch says:

    That looks lemony and luscious! Nice one.

  2. Very creative Katherine! My sister and I were just talking about making a tiramisu for my dad’s birthday this month! I can’t wait to try your version! Maybe I’ll make two versions for his birthday! Seriously you and Greg need to open a restaurant or catering business, your recipes are the best, I’d be a regular client! Yum!

    • Katherine says:

      Thanks, Lisa. Who could argue with two versions of tiramisu? Greg and I running a business together would be pretty funny. But it’s good to know we’d have at least two customers.

  3. JamieAnne says:

    This looks fantastic!

  4. sooo good! and i luv the matching dishes!

  5. rutheh says:

    Dishes are great and what a lot of work but I am sure it was worth every step! Looks divine.

  6. Christina says:

    Any recipe with limoncello has to be a winner! Looks delicious! 😀

  7. Oh Katherine this looks wonderful. This Limoncello Tiramisu really looks interesting and for some reason reminds me of Banana Pudding. Don’t ask me why lol.

  8. rsmacaalay says:

    Looks sweet and lemony! A great recipe indeed.

  9. Love this post – had me chuckling from the start. The tiramisu looks amazing but am also super impressed by the candied peel. This was one of the things I asked my girlfriends to bring over from the UK and now I am asking myself why the heck I did. The home made looks much nicer and I bet it tastes so much better. Thanks for this!

  10. Sissi says:

    What a creative and arduous tiramisù version! I am very happy to scroll down the ingredients and see no cream! (I hate whipped cream in tiramisù, it’s like discovering cream in pasta alla carbonara).

  11. Charles says:

    Wow, what a long “journey” for the final product, but it looks amazing. To be honest I’m a bit sick of “traditional” tiramisu after being over-fed it a bit by Italian colleagues – that and the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of coffee in baking (coffee to drink is my drug though). I’m curious about one thing though – by “Grand Mariner”, did you actually mean “Grand Marnier“, as in, the orange liqueur, or is it something else which I’ve never heard of? Perhaps if Grand Marnier is expensive you could replace it with Cointreau – relatively similar tastes, but a different colour.

  12. So pretty and I love the dishes!

  13. imakeeper says:

    Wow… what an elaborate dessert (with all the finding cute dishes, waiting for things to be on sale, etc.). This looks like a perfect treat for the warm summer days though- and the candied lemons are so versitile!

  14. Great recipe, Katherine! And I love the little Corningware dishes – my daughter collects them. She would freak if she knew you found them for a quarter!

  15. Kelly says:

    Oh, these are so gorgeous and I’m totally impressed that you made your own candied lemon peel! WOW. Citrus desserts are among my favourite – this would be a fun date dessert – a glass of rosé and project making in the kitchen – summertime fun…! Thanks Katherine.

  16. oh what I wouldn’t give for a little lemon coloured vintage dish filled full with that lemon-y tiramisu-y goodness. Too many of my favourite things in there, retro kitchen ware, tiramisu and limoncello. Great post.

  17. This is hilarious– I’ve had so many similar experiences in the kitchen! This looks wonderful– I’ll have to give it a whirl, especially since I have a coffee-hating husband who therefore hates traditional Tiramisu. Sad day, I know…

  18. Goodness gracious those look fantastic! A little complicated, but perfect for a special occasion! I love lemon. Thanks for sharing- and great post!

  19. SimpleP says:

    Wow. Fantastic fun post! A half a dozen great recipes rolled into one. I love every element. Plus, another great way to use up the limoncello. I assume since you need to refrigerate for four hours, you can make it a day ahead?

  20. Our family loves limoncello…and, tiramisu…what an absolutely divine recipe. Have used ladyfingers in other dessert recipes but your lemon version is a real keeper. Ahhh…the stress of getting it right. Smiling…you had me laughing from the first paragraph. You make the kitchen a very fun place to be.

  21. ChefMom says:

    Katherine this looks wonderful! I’m totally on a lemon kick right now too! I’ve told Greg this before, but I wish we lived closer because I would totally invite myself over. (And I’m usually not one to be so assertive, but your recipes are just too good.)

    • Katherine says:

      You wouldn’t have to invite yourself over! I tell Greg I wish we knew half as many foodies in real life, heck a quarter, as we do in the blog sphere. And just think we could challenge the men’s grilling prowess and never have to cook!

  22. sallybr says:

    Whaaat? You did not bake your own lady fingers? 🙂

    just kidding, of course… awesome job! I have to say I’m’ also unimpressed by the quality of some lady fingers sold here, when you find the real thing it’s much much better.

    the dishes are perfect for your tiramisu, so elegant and kind of retro, superb post!

    • The real things are sold across town, it just seemed silly to drive that far. Also, bad things happen when we go into gourmet stores. Katherine says we should just drop off our credit card at the entrance.

      • sallybr says:

        So true! That’s why Whole Foods is called “Whole Paycheck”

        probably one of the only reasons I’m glad not to be in L.A. anymore…. 🙂

  23. pcadams says:

    I have a bottle of Limoncello that I received as a gift. Now I know what to do.

    When I make tiramisu, I make my own sponge cake instead of using ladyfingers. Does that count?

    Peace, Phil

  24. ambrosiana says:

    Great recipe! Great looking tiramisu!!! I loved your story on trying to get Limoncello and good quality lady fingers!! I realize it is hard to get those ingredients in the USA!!!

  25. spicegirlfla says:

    Lol! The steps involved just getting to the recipe are awesome!! I love the vintage look!! Those dishes were a great find and how cute they compliment the tablecloth 🙂 I’m a lemon lover, this is right up my alley for a perfect summer dessert! But first I’ll have to prepare myself to make this….

  26. Oh, I saw this picture and made a little internal promise to make it for some friends coming for dinner this weekend. But I think I’m too poor to go buy cute little pots (i declare the ramekins I own NOT pretty enough) grand marnier and limoncello….sign of the times.

    I’m just going to go back to drooling at the picture instead.

  27. Jill H says:

    I LOVE this. Most certainly this looks like it is worth the wait, but love your tale of woe. Now….must get ramekins…..

  28. Amy says:

    This is like my perfect dessert…I love lemon! Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be making it soon due to all of the steps. I’ll just have to drool over your pics instead 🙂

  29. awesome awesome awesome, perfect, perfect, perfect! Can we say cravings now? Oh I wish I had that. You are amazing, how creative and fun and light and fresh

  30. Ginger says:

    Beautiful!! I am sure the first taste made it worth the wait and hassle! Lovely post 🙂

  31. Oooooooh…I love lemon anything!! This does look like alot of work but well worth it. I happen to have a bottle of Limoncello in the freezer that a cousin brought at Christmas – might try this with that bottled stuff but I know homemade Limoncello is the most delicious. When we visited Italy a couple of years ago we sipped fresh made while on a boat trip around the Cinque Terra- between that and the Prosecco it was impossible not to have a marvelous time!

  32. randommanda says:

    The layers look gorgeous – and yummy!! I just love those cute vintage dishes!

  33. lifewith4cats says:

    THIS inspires me. I want to try this so badly! also enjoying your writing style. 🙂

  34. Karen says:

    Katherine, the tiramisu is lovely and you had the perfect containers for them. Lemon sounds so light and refreshing for a dessert especially with all the hot weather this season. I love the humor in your writing…it gave me a good chuckle.

  35. Wow this looks amazing. It just screams summer, love it!

  36. Tiramisu is my favorite Italian dessert and with limoncello you’ve taken in up a notch!! Cheers

  37. Eva Taylor says:

    I love individual desserts! This looks very tasty and beautifully presented in your vintage bowls. Rufus posted a comment on my blog acwhile ago and I’ve been bad about responding. Thank you! We are hosting a tapas dinner for our good friends on the 23rd, I think I will include this in my trio of desserts!

  38. Caroline says:

    Wow, Katherine, this looks scrumptious. Look how cute (and cheap!) those little dishes are. I agree with Kristy, I would definitely be tempted to invite myself over on multiple occasions if I lived closer!!

  39. So funny that you write about Limoncello today. I had the most amazing Limoncello Semifreddo today at a posh little restaurant a little bit away from home. I absolutely have to figure out how to make it. Maybe you could make one of those with ur leftover Limoncello? 🙂 Oh yeah, got more local peaches today….jam.. .here I come! 🙂

  40. Rufus, thank you so much for subscribing to my food blog, I will subscribe to your blog as well and look forward to more great entries like this one. I come from a long line of Southern Moon-Shiners, so I make my own batch of Limoncello every year and enjoy it all year. I give it away as gifts and find it lots of fun, a bit of work and I think the “wait” is great. The end result even better. I have not used my Limoncello for desserts yet, but your wonderful recipe has encouraged me to whip up some Limoncello Granita…Better than shooters any day! Thanks.

  41. Drunken tiramisu, eh? I think good italian desserts always take some effort, but are always worth it in the end.

  42. what dedication! great post; this looks absolutely wonderful.

  43. Oh where to start…your Limoncello Tiramisu looks to. die. for. Seriously. I am betting they were worth every penny and all your blood, sweat and tears. Secondly, Greg can’t find something at a supermarket…? Really? I thought it was only my husband who would come home empty handed when I am SURE my needed ingredient was THERE all along. Finally, you are a goddess for making your own Limoncello and this tiramisu. Your home must be the most delicious place to live. I have warned your husband that my husband and I may stop by hoping to have found that you have started a bed and breakfast. No worries, I have no idea where you live and I am in So Cal.

    • Katherine says:

      Ha, that’s sweet Geni. Greg knows the grocery store better than I do and in fairness we’ve never bought ladyfingers. (I usually make the torte.) We’re outside Little Rock, come on down, but best wait for the fall!

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  45. I started laughing out loud at your disbelief of no ladyfingers at the store. Awesome.

  46. Maureen says:

    That last photo should win prizes… I want to put my mouth on that fork.

    You are to be praised for such persistence but oh my what a dessert!!

  47. I love tiramisu and I love lemon! I can’t wait to try this!

  48. Colleen says:

    Oh my goodness. This looks delicious. Tiramisu is by far one of my favorite desserts out there (I literally get it whenever I go to a restaurant that has it on the dessert menu). This looks awesome… I can’t even express how awesome. Definitely going to have to make this sometime soon! Yum!

  49. That looks so refreshing and what a delightful combination!

    It’s like tiramisu day in my blogroll 😉

  50. eva626 says:

    those dishes do not look like they are a quarter each…i would totally stock up on them!
    and the presentation looks grand btw

  51. Thanks for the visit. I like Tiramisu and now that you added some lemon to it, you just brought the mouthwatering dessert to new level of goodness. I have to let my wife try this recipe. Can’t wait to taste it soon.

  52. lajola says:

    We have a liter of Limoncello and we don’t know what to do with it.. Now we know! Thanks!

  53. ChgoJohn says:

    I, too, have a limoncello recipe. We should have taste-off. I recently saw a TV chef make a limoncello tiramisu but yours looks and sounds so much better. Thanks for sharing.

  54. PhobicFoodie says:

    That sounds so fantastic and refreshing! But it also sounds like a lot of work….can I just come over and eat some of yours? 🙂

  55. My mouth is watering just reading this recipe!!!!

  56. ....RaeDi says:

    Love it all, lemons at the top of my list, love the pictures and the little dishes you used, I wished I lived closer to you two….RaeDi

  57. Oh no, I bought all the ingredients (or so I thought) and forgot the mascapone! Hope I can buy it in our local village shop!

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  59. Stefanie says:

    I just saw this on your links challenge post and wow, does this look GOOD! I love limoncello, and the tiramisu looks so moist and delicious!

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  61. Susan says:

    I bought the Limoncello, but didn’t realize it takes the Grand Marnier. I think it’s more expensive than the Limoncello. Would it really be missed? Anything else you could use?

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  63. Everything about this looks fantastic.

  64. melanie says:

    I can’t wait to make this for our fantasy draft party. Tiramisu is my absolute favorite dessert and I can’t wait to try this twist on it

  65. aFrankAngle says:

    Another use for the liquid gold I enjoy making!

  66. Sonya says:

    I enjoyed your seemingly random thoughts in the introduction and the way you put them down in print…entertaining. Like the idea of a lemon tiramisu too.

  67. Candace jurado says:

    Hello there I am getting the ingredients together to make and bring this for Easter dinner. Can you tell me if by “brownie pan” you are referring to a 9×13 or 8×8. I just want to get all my ducks in a row before I begin! Thanks!

  68. Candace jurado says:

    Needless to say i have not had the best expirence with this recipe so far… I can’t comment on the taste yet but I have several qualms about the information in the recipe.
    First, the recipe indicates that the zabaglione is like a custard which threw me off because it is not. It is smooth and airy with a slightly foamy texture. The recipe description (custard) led me to believe I had done something wrong so I searched out a different source to find out what the consistency is supposed to end up like. ( Note: the consistence was spot on as made per this recipe just the description was off)
    Second, the marscapone directions are missing ingredients listed and the correct method of putting it together is lacking. My first batch turned out chunky, like cottage cheese, it was because I beat all ingredients together at once like stated. I discovered after having to send my husband to the store for more marscapone that you first beat the egg white and powdered sugar to soft peaks, fold in the marscapone which has set at room temp for at lease 10 minutes, and then add the alcohol and lemon zest otherwise you get what I did a big runny chunky cheese soup.
    I must say that this runny soupy mess did have delicious flavor and this is why I didn’t scrap the whole recipe altogether. Well that and the small fortune I have invested into the ingredients.
    Now it is assembled,in the final stages of chill, and i am anxiously awaiting the most important resulting factor….TASTE! A great tasting recipe definately covers a multitude of sins and it is the only thing that will bring me back to is recipe a second time.

    • We’ve made some edits, thanks for pointing those things out. We didn’t beat the egg white separately.It was a thick layer, not super airy like the zabaglione. It should still be easy to spread.

    • Candace Jurado says:

      I just have to stop back in to tell you that the this recipe was a hit with our Easter guests! It was a food thing iade a double batch because everyone including myself, went back for seconds! It was so yummy! This is going right into my recipe quiver. I will be making this many more times. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

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  70. Sindy says:

    Hoping for a quick response back as I am making this today . Recipe states ■”¼ cup, less one tablespoon limoncello (in other words put a tablespoon of Grand Mariner in a half cup and fill the rest of the way with limoncello)” this would be 1/2 cup total …not 1/4 total. Please clarify.

  71. Sindy says:

    Thanks for quick response, I went ahead and did 1/3cup just for good measure. Mine will be extra boozey …lol. Making it to take to work tomrorrow night. Can’t wait to taste!

  72. anpat galindo says:


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  75. um…trying this for the first time and it’s gone great so far …i’m just about to assemble the cake…but the last part says i’m dipping fingers into the syrup…but it also says i need 1ounce limoncello….but where does it say where that goes? :/ quite happy to down it! quick help before the bottles finished!! 😉

  76. Bill Trankle says:

    It sucks that my Meyer lemons tend to produce most of their crop in early spring, I’d love to have them around to make in the summer but will have to “settle” for store bought lemons. I always make at least 2L of Limoncello every winter so maybe a NYE cake?

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  79. Elaine Black says:

    Love your sense of humor! I already have the Limoncello; might try this.

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  83. Doro says:

    This Looks fantastic! I’m going to try that recipe really soon.

  84. Melinda says:

    Hi! I’m giving this one a shot tomorrow. Finally have enough people coming over to guarantee there won’t be any left-overs. What “torte” have you used in place of the lady fingers? I have some, but I’m thinking maybe sponge cake instead?

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  85. Jan Scarpati says:

    This looks wonderful! Is there a recipe for the torte/ladyfingers that you could share?

  86. Pam says:

    The dessert was a hit. It made more than we could eat. Wondering if it can keep for 5 days in fridge?

  87. beatrice says:

    I am going to make this tomorrow and I hope will receive a response before I make it. Do you have a recipe for sponge cake or any recipe that I could sub for the ladyfingers?
    How many days will this last in the fridge?
    Thank you so much!

  88. Roxana says:

    That looks so delicious. I will have to make it,thank you.

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