Mixed Berry Tiramisu

This summer mixed berry tiramisu is a no bake recipe that doesn't require a stove or an oven. It's easy, delicious AND pretty. The result is a decadent but refreshing dessert that suits summer to a T.

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A piece of mixed berry tiramisu on a black plate with a coffee and more tiramisu in the background.

What is Tiramisu?

Traditional tiramisu is an Italian dessert made of layers of sponge biscuits (aka Lady Fingers) dipped in marsala and espresso and a mascarpone egg custard, all dusted with cocoa powder on top. It’s decadent and delicious and yet light at the same time. The word “tiramisu” translates to “little pick me up” and it never fails to do so – at least for me! Tiramisu also lends itself very well to variations (as shown in my Grand Marnier® Tiramisu). If you’re not a fan of espresso flavored desserts, you can swap out that flavor very easily. This Mixed Berry Tiramisu is a perfect example of swapping the espresso for a berry flavor and the addition of mixed berries makes it such a pretty dish. 

Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries on a white plate on a marble countertop.

What Berries to Use

You can truly use any mixture of berries that you have on hand, but the most common berries in the summertime are strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. The berries will need to macerate in sugar before being added to the tiramisu and some berries can stand up to that better than others. Strawberries soften slightly and shed some of their delicious juice. Raspberries on the other hand, become mushy and don’t hold their shape after sitting with sugar for a while. Whichever berries you use, pay attention to which ones can handle the macerating time and which should be tossed in at the last minute. 

A yellow hand mixer with a bowl of mascarpone cheese, a measuring cup of cream, a bottle of vanilla and a little bowl of sugar on a marble countertop.

Substitute for Mascarpone Cheese

Mascarpone cheese is an Italian cow’s milk double or triple cream cheese. It’s an integral part of tiramisu, but sometimes it can be hard to find. If you are looking for a substitute, you can use cream cheese. The difference is that mascarpone cheese has at least twice as much fat as cream cheese and as a result is super silky smooth. Cream cheese is also a little tangier than mascarpone, which is almost sweet. If you do need to substitute cream cheese, just use the equivalent quantity and understand that there will be some variation in texture and flavor.

A bottle of cassis liqueur with a small glass of cassis on a marble countertop.

Liquor for Tiramisu

The delicate lady fingers are always soaked in a liquor of some sort when making tiramisu. In this recipe, that liquid is a mixture of berry juice and Cassis – or blackcurrant liquor. You could substitute Chambord, a cherry liquor, if you prefer, or if you’d like to make it with no alcohol, try a little pomegranate, raspberry or cherry juice. 

Looking down on ingredients in bowls with an offset spatula and empty glass baking dish.

Building the Tiramisu

Once you have all your components – the lady fingers, the liquid to soak them in, the whipped mascarpone cream and the macerated berries – all you have to do is layer them in a square cake pan. The only trick is to not soak the lady fingers for too long – just dip them into the liquid, which they will absorb quickly, and layer them in the dish. If you have to break them to make them fit, don’t worry about it. No-one will know. Spread two layers of the lady fingers, the mascarpone cheese and the berries, scattering the berries as decoratively as you like on top. 

Nine photos showing how to build a mixed berry tiramisu. Looking straight down on mixed berry tiramisu with a stack of plates, napkins and forks near by.

Making Tiramisu Ahead of Time

This Mixed Berry Tiramisu is a perfect make ahead dessert. In fact, it’s best if left for at least 2 hours before serving to let the layers settle together, and overnight is perfect. That makes this a very friendly dessert for entertaining, because there are no last minute tasks, like whipping cream or putting things together. Keep the dessert in the refrigerator, but do take it out to rest on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes before serving to take the chill off.

A spatula lifting out a portion of mixed berry tiramisu. Mixed berry tiramisu on a black plate with a fork, with more in the background.

Mixed Berry Tiramisu

  • Prep Time: 20 m
  • Macerating Time: 2 h
  • Total Time: 2 h 20 m
  • Servings:
    9

Ingredients

  • 1 pound strawberries quartered
  • 6 ounces blueberries
  • 5 tablespoons sugar divided
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese softened
  • cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup cassis liqueur or raspberry liqueur
  • 6 ounces raspberries
  • 20 to 22 soft lady fingers

Instructions

  1. Toss the quartered strawberries and blueberries with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Refrigerate and let the berries macerate in the juice for 2 hours or longer.
  2. Using an electric mixer, whip the mascarpone cheese until smooth. Add the heavy cream, the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla extract and whip until the mixture thickens.
  3. Strain the juice from the strawberries and blueberries into a bowl and add the cassis liqueur to the reserved juice. Add raspberries to the bowl of berries and toss together gently.
  4. Dip each lady finger into the cassis liquid and turn over to lightly coat both sides. (Work quickly and don’t soak the lady fingers for too long – otherwise they will start to fall apart.) Layer half of the lady fingers into the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch casserole dish. (It’s ok if you need to break the last lady fingers to make them fit the pan.) Spread half of the mascarpone cream over the lady fingers and top with half of the macerated berries. Dip the remaining lady fingers in the cassis liquid and layer over the berries. Top with another layer of the mascarpone cream and the remaining berries.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours to overnight before serving. Cut into squares and serve chilled or if refrigerated longer than 2 hours, let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or so before serving.
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