ricotta and lemon tiramisu

This ricotta and lemon tiramisu is inspired by the Italian chef Ciro Cristiano’s “limonemisu”. My version is the result of a happy mistake: the original recipe called for mascarpone and buffalo ricotta, but then omitted the mascarpone in the instructions; I therefore made it without mascarpone so that the end result is very light and airy and most importantly very lemony.

The recipe calls for buffalo ricotta which is less fatty than the regular ricotta and therefore makes it very airy and light. It might be challenging to find outside of Italy though. I was able to get my hands on some as a friend was travelling in Italy and brought some back but next I’ll try it with regular ricotta.

Ricotta and lemon tiramisu
Serves: 4 people
  • 125 g (from 6-7 eggs, depending on their size) egg yolks
  • 175 g (3/4 cups + 2 tbsp) sugar
  • 280 g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) buffalo ricotta
  • 200 ml (1 cup) cream
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) lemon juice
  • 50 ml (1/4 cups) Limoncello
  • 50 ml (1/4 cups) water
  • 2 lemon tree leaves (or alternatively some lemon zest)
  • 1 lemon
  • the zest of 1 lime
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 60 g (1/2 packet) ladyfingers or savoiardi
Prepare the base of the tiramisu:
  1. Using an electric mixer or a hand whisk, beat the egg yolks and the sugar until the are thick and foamy. Start on a low speed and progressively increase.
  2. In a separate bowl, with a whisk beat the ricotta until it’s smooth, then add the lemon zest, the zest of ¼ of the lime, a few drops of lemon juice and a few drops of Limoncello. Incorporate the egg and sugar preparation and mix until combined and smooth. Taste and add a few drops of lemon juice if needed. Chill.
Prepare the syrup:
  1. Pour the water in a small pan, add the 2-3 lemon tree leaves (or some lemon zest if you can’t find any like me!) and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and remove the lemon tree leaves/lemon zest. Add the rest of the lemon juice and Limoncello. Set aside.
Prepare the chantilly cream:
  1. Pour the cream into a previously chilled mixer bowl, add a pinch of salt and start whisk the cream until semi-firm. Beware, we will whisk the tiramisu cream again at the end of the recipe to make it even more airy, so it’s important that the cream is not stiff after whisking. Instead it should have a soft crème fraiche/sour cream type of look.
  2. Remove the vanilla seeds from the vanilla pod and add it to the ricotta mix. Delicately fold the whipped cream into the ricotta mix in 3 times. When done, pour the mix into the mixer’s bowl and give it a final mix. The tiramisu cream is now ready.
  3. Dip the ladyfingers into the lemon syrup - do this quickly, less than 1 min, so that they don't get soggy. The ladyfingers they will get softer as the tiramisu chills.
  4. Place a layer of ladyfingers into the serving plate or glasses. Cover with a layer of tiramisu cream and start again. Chill for at least 6h to allow for the tiramisu to set, then zest some lime on the top before serving.

Ricotta and lemon tiramisu

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