My Mom Always Requests This Dessert For Mother’s Day

This no-bake recipe is perfect for spring.

Lemon Tiramisu
Photo: Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist Heather Chadduck

Some mothers are tough to shop for. Not mine—she loves a good dessert and I can always make her something special for Mother’s Day. (And there’s no gift receipt required!) One recipe that has been a big hit with Mom is also one of my favorites to make: Lemon Tiramisu. This no-bake dessert tastes like a combination of tiramisu and lemon cheesecake. Bright and sunny citrus stands in for the usual coffee and chocolate, making the dish feel just right for spring.

Make It Ahead

Like any tiramisu recipe, this one is best made the day before you plan to serve it, so that the ladyfinger cookies have enough time to soften and all of the layers can meld together. First, you make the creamy filling by combining mascarpone (Italian cream cheese), lemon pudding mix, and cream cheese with a little milk and lemon extract. Then you dip the ladyfingers in a mixture of lemon juice and sugar. Finally, you layer the cookies and the filling in a baking dish, then chill the tiramisu 2 hours, or up to 24 hours before serving. It’s as easy as can be—you don’t even have to turn on the oven.

How I Change It Up

Because I am chronically unable to leave any recipe alone, I make a few adjustments to boost the flavor, and make the process a bit easier. I never have lemon extract on hand, so I substitute the same amount of fresh lemon juice, plus 1 tablespoon of lemon zest.

My mom loves limoncello—so much so that she made it herself—so I like to dip the ladyfinger cookies in the lemon liquor. It gives the dish an added kick (which you may or may not want, depending on who’s around the table) and is a bit more true to a traditional tiramisu recipe, which usually includes coffee liquor. 

However you choose to make this recipe, it’s hard to beat something so effortless and delicious.

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