This Pumpkin Tiramisu is a seasonal version of the classic Italian dessert, made with fluffy layers of mascarpone cheese and pumpkin purée between espresso-infused Italian lady fingers.
Tomorrow is the official start of fall, and I’ve already got full-blown pumpkin fever. I’ve been scouring my brain, my recipes, and my cabinets, wondering, “What else would be better with pumpkin?!” The answer was obvious– everything is better with pumpkin!!! However, when I found Italian lady fingers hiding in the back recesses of my pantry, I knew it was the beginning of something fantastical. You already know, I’m sure, that pumpkin and espresso together are magically, wonderfully, delicious. (Starbucks has been marketing that flavor explosion for years!) With a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte in hand, giving me pumpkin-infused confidence, I whipped up another batch of pumpkin-coffee goodness. This Pumpkin Tiramisu is made with layers of mascarpone and pumpkiny goodness between espresso-infused Italian lady fingers.
Making Pumpkin Tiramisu
If tiramisu sounds intimidating to prepare– I promise, it’s actually simple! There are two parts to tiramisu– the creamy layer, and the lady finger layer. For the creamy layer of this pumpkin tiramisu, start by making an Italian zabaglione. If ‘zabaglione’ sounds fancy and difficult– it’s not. Simply heat egg yolks, sugar, and wine inside a double boiler (Or– I just use a small pot set inside a larger pot. The goal here is to heat the egg mixture up without getting any water in it). Whip the egg mixture until it’s foamy and doubles in size, then stir in the pumpkin purée and mascarpone. Next, use a hand mixer to whip heavy cream into fluffy, light whipped cream. Fold it into the mascarpone-pumpkin mixture. Put this in the fridge.
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Next, heat espresso, rum, a little white wine, and some chocolate in a small pan. Put the mixture in the fridge (or freezer, if you’re in a hurry), and let it cool down to room temperature. While it’s cooling, get everything else ready. You need about 30 lady fingers (those are long, thin Italian cookies), and a casserole pan (either a 9″x13″ or about 8 medium or large ramekins). Once the coffee mixture has cooled, dip your cookies, one by one, into the coffee and then layer the bottom of the dish with the fingers. (If you’re using ramekins, you’ll probably need to break the cookies into smaller pieces.) After you have a single layer of lady fingers, pour about half the mascarpone-pumpkin mixture over the cookies. Repeat the whole process, with one more layer of lady fingers and ending with one more layer of mascarpone. Put the pumpkin tiramisu in the fridge, and then leave it alone for about two hours (or overnight). Resist the urge to dig in early– it needs to set. Before serving, sprinkle some cocoa powder on top, and if you’re feeling extra decadent, add more chocolate chips, whipped cream, or fruit. This pumpkin tiramisu recipe makes enough for eight, so spread the pumpkin obsession– enjoy this dessert with friends, and welcome fall.
Want more pumpkin? Try these:
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 TB moscato (or other sweet white wine), plus 1 TB moscato
- 6 oz mascarpone (room temperature)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin purée
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup brewed espresso coffee
- 1 TB chocolate chips
- 3 TB rum
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 30 lady fingers (exact number needed depends on size of cookies and size/shape of dish)
- 2 TB cocoa powder for dusting (amount approximate)
- Optional toppings: chocolate chips or chunks, fruit, more whipped cream
First, put a small mixing bowl in the freezer.
Next, cream egg yolks with sugar in a heatproof bowl or small pan set inside a larger pan full of simmering water (Or- use a double boiler. You want to heat the egg yolks without getting water in them). Add the wine and whip until mixture doubles in size. Remove from heat. Stir in mascarpone and pumpkin until blended.
Remove mixing bowl from freezer, and add cream. Use a hand mixer to whip until peaks form, and then fold cream into mascarpone-pumpkin mixture. Set mixture in the fridge.
Next, combine espresso, chocolate, rum, vanilla, and remaining 1 TB moscato. Heat until chocolate is dissolved (or use freshly brewed espresso and it should dissolve the chocolate). Allow mixture to cool in the fridge about 5-10 minutes. Coffee mixture needs to cool to room temperature-- if it's hotter, the lady fingers will dissolve.
To arrange your tiramisu, dip your lady fingers quickly into the espresso mixture and make a single layer on the bottom of an 9x13 pan OR 8 medium-large ramekins. (If using soft lady fingers instead of hard ones, you may need to brush the espresso mixture onto the cookies with a pastry brush so they don't fall apart).
Spread half the mascarpone-pumpkin mixture over the lady fingers. Repeat process, topping mascarpone with another layer of soaked lady fingers, and finishing with a final layer of the mascarpone-pumpkin mixture.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours (or overnight). Just before serving, dust top with cocoa powder.
Serve cold with optional toppings if desired.