Pumpkin Chai Tiramisu
A fun fall twist on a classic Italian dessert, this Pumpkin Chai Tiramisu has chai dipped lady fingers, creamy pumpkin mascarpone and is topped with cinnamon and cocoa powder. Add or omit the alcohol to suit your needs, either way, you won’t regret it!
Posted: 9/25/20; Updated: 9/30/21
If you're looking for something easy and completely delicious, you've come to the right place! It really doesn't get any better than tiramisu - you get the soft spongey lady fingers and creamy, luscious mascarpone cheese layer. This recipe cuts like soft butter, and I meant that! Throw this together in less than 30 minutes, though you do need to let it rest for about 6 hours prior to eating.
This Pumpkin Chai Tiramisu follows all the same steps as a traditional tiramisu recipe, just with slightly different ingredients. Also, did I mention how easy tiramisu is to make!? This recipe is made without coffee, and instead uses masala chai (tea bags or homemade spice blend) to soak the lady fingers for a nice warm spice. Want to turn this into a dirty chai version? Add some coffee or espresso, too!
What is tiramisu?
Tiramisu is a traditional Italian dessert typically made with lady fingers or sponge cake dipped in coffee or espresso and alcohol, and is layered with a whipped mascarpone cheese mixture made with mascarpone, egg yolks, and sugar. It’s a soft, luscious dessert that is eaten cold and is completely refreshing!
What is mascarpone?
Mascarpone is a double or triple cream cow’s milk cheese that is similar to cream cheese in texture, but far less tangy. It is most similar to a british clotted cream and has a thick, spreadable consistency and a high percentage of butterfat. Mascarpone is the key ingredient in tiramisu.
- Chai Masala or chai tea bags. I’m sure most will opt for tea bags (which is how I’ve photographed this recipe), but I urge you to purchase this chai masala blend if you’re a frequent user. You can also make your own homemade spice blend if you have a spice grinder (and learn more about ! WAY more flavor.
- Mascarpone cheese. This can be found in most grocery stores, usually near the specialty cheeses. I prefer to use Bel Gioioso or Vermont Creamer brands, as they get the fluffiest!
- Granulated sugar. This is used to sweeten the mascarpone mixture.
- Egg yolks. Tiramisu uses egg yolks to help make the mixture extra creamy and rich. See the FAQ section at the end of the post for more information.
- Dark rum. This gets mixed into the mascarpone mixture. Feel free to omit if you’re not into alcohol. Or, feel free to add slightly more if you’re feeling it!
- Heavy whipping cream. Only two tablespoons are needed, but this is also key to getting a super fluffy pumpkin cream layer.
- Pumpkin puree. This is added to the fluffy mascarpone and provides a nice orange tinge to the filling! Be sure to use pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie mix (which already includes sugar and spices).
- Lady fingers. You can find lady fingers in the Italian section of most grocery stores! I am usually all about making items from scratch, but this is just not one of those times. There are lots of brands that carry these, and I don’t find one is better than the other. Just be sure the package reads “lady fingers” specifically.
- Cocoa powder & ground cinnamon. These get mixed together and dusted completely over the top of the final layer of mascarpone. This should be done just before you are ready to serve.
How to make the tiramisu
Begin by making the tea, steeping, and allow it to cool completely. Strain, if using loose leaf tea. Then grab a 9x5 inch loaf pan and unpack the lady fingers so they're ready to go.
To make the mascarpone cream filling, cold egg yolks, heavy cream, and mascarpone should be used. The quick science to this is that the fats in these ingredients trap air best when cold, so cold ingredients are needed to make a light and fluffy mixture!
Add the mascarpone, sugar, egg yolks, rum, heavy cream, vanilla paste or extract and pumpkin puree to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on medium high speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Assembling the tiramisu
Start by dipping the lady fingers in the chai. Dip one, roll it quickly, then place it in the bottom of a standard loaf pan. Repeat until the bottom of the pan is covered. You will be able to fit 6-7 lady fingers per layer. Do NOT let the lady fingers soak. They absorb liquid incredibly quickly and too long of a soak will deteriorate the structure of the tiramisu.
Next, add half of the pumping mascarpone and spread it evenly over the lady fingers completely to the sides. Repeat this for one more round with the dipped lady fingers and pumpkin mascarpone cream. Spread the mascarpone cream as evenly as possible on the top layer and wipe the edges if they got a bit dirty.
Cover the Pumpkin Chai Tiramisu with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge overnight. You can eat this after about 6 hours, but it’s best to have maximum time for the lady fingers to soak up all of the flavors and soften.
When ready to eat and serve, mix together the cocoa powder and ground cinnamon, and sprinkle over the top with a fine mesh strainer. Slice or scoop out pieces of tiramisu and enjoy!
- Make sure your mascarpone mixture ingredients are cold, straight from the fridge. This is what will make your cream light and fluffy, which is crucial.
- Don't over-saturate your lady fingers! You'll likely feel like you aren't dipping for long enough, but the lady fingers are very airy and delicate. A very quick roll through the liquid is plenty.
- Use an offset spatula to easily smooth out the pumpkin mascarpone.
- Don't dust the top of your tiramisu until you're ready to serve, otherwise, it will turn saturated and blah.
- Wipe off the sides of your dish after you dust the top for clean edges!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make tiramisu without alcohol?
By all means! Simply omit the rum from the filling - it is still absolutely delicious this way.Are raw eggs safe to eat?
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Pumpkin Chai Tiramisu
- 3 chai tea bags or 2 tablespoons loose leaf black tea + 1 tablespoon masala spice blend
- 8 oz mascarpone cold
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar 50g
- 2 large egg yolks cold
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream cold
- 1/3 cup pure pumpkin puree 80g
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 14 lady fingers
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Steep tea in 1 cup of boiling hot water and allow it to sit until cool. If using loose leaf tea, strain before dipping your lady fingers.
- Once the tea is cool, make the pumpkin mascarpone. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a handheld mixer, beat the mascarpone, sugar, egg yolks, rum, heavy cream, pumpkin puree, and vanilla on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Get your lady fingers, tea, and loaf pan ready for assembly. Dip one lady finger into the tea and rotate quickly to saturate, then gently lay in the loaf pan. Repeat the process until the bottom of the pan is covered.
- Cover the first layer of lady fingers with half of the pumpkin mascarpone mixture, then repeat the dipping and layering process of the lady fingers. Add the remaining pumpkin mascarpone and smooth into a very clean and flat layer.
- Cover the tiramisu with cling wrap and allow it to sit in the fridge for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Before serving, remove the cling wrap and combine the cocoa powder and cinnamon. Sift the mixture over the top to cover completely, then wipe down the edges of the pan with a damp paper towel to create clean edges.
- Slice or scoop and place onto plates or bowls.
- Store, covered, in the fridge for up to 4 days.