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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Low-Carb, Sugar-Free Tiramisu with Recipe for Ladyfingers

There are some things that I just don’t feel like compromising on authenticity of taste and texture. One of those things is Tiramisu! ILOVE a good tiramisu and I have fond memories of enjoying this lovely dessert on many occasions in Italy!



I have made the Mascarpone myself for years, but since low-carbing, I haven’t actually had Tiramisu - well, not what I would call a really good tiramisu!

As much as I love cakes and nutty cookies, there’s just no place for them in my favorite Tiramisu, like some other low-carb recipes suggest! Or heavens forbid, cream cheese!

There need to be ladyfingers that will absorb just the right amount of liquid and leave just the right amount of cakey-ness once it all comes together! Regular ladyfingers however, are nothing much more than white flour, starch, sugar and egg. The only ingredient in that list that would be ok on a low-carb way of eating is the egg !


So, I set out to recreate ladyfingers the sugar-free and low-carb way.

My main concern was that they needed to absorb the coffee mix at the same rate as a “real” ladyfinger and end up with the same kind of softness once the tiramisu has been put together and is sitting in the fridge for the night! Many low-carb baked goods have a tendency to dissolve into a nutty mush, which wouldn’t be good for Tiramisu!

So the texture needed to be light, airy, but dry throughout with a certain “snap” to them when you break them apart.

Taste was obviously a concern too - lightly sweet, but somewhat neutral!

What I wasn’t concerned about was that they looked like “real” ladyfingers. So I took the shortcut method, since nobody will see their shape in the final tiramisu anyway. But if you are a stickler for authenticity, by all means, pipe the individual ladyfingers!



I know people will ask about substitutions in both flours and sweeteners and for now I have to say that likely you will not get the same result! Plenty of experimentation has shown that it’s a delicate balance of everything involved and that replacing one thing or another or changing the ratio also changes the result - at times drastically! So it that sense, it’s one of those “fussy” recipes!

But in every other way,  it’s actually an easy recipe!


So without further ado, here’s the recipe for low-carb ladyfingers! They come pretty close to the real thing in both taste, texture and “absorption rate”, so I’m rather pleased with them!



4 large eggs, ROOM temperature

3/4 cup Ideal bulk sweetener

4 tbsp. hot water

1/4 tsp glucomanan powder

1/2 cup of low-carb bake mix

1 tbsp. resistant starch maize

3 tbsp. unflavored whey protein isolate (I used the Jay Robb unflavored whey protein)

1 tsp baking powder



Set the eggs out on the counter 1.5- 2 hours prior to baking.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Separate the eggs. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. While whipping, add half the sweetener and whip to incorporate. Under constant whipping, slowly add the glucomanan powder and whip until stiff, glossy peaks form. Set the whipped egg whites aside in a separate bowl.

Add the egg yolks, remaining sweetener and the hot water to a bowl and whip until they are frothy and pale yellow.

Add the egg yolk mix to the bowl with the stiff egg whites, then sift all the dry ingredients on top. Gently fold everything together. Take care not to deflate the egg whites. It will take a while to incorporate everything. Continue folding until no lumps remain and it’s a uniform mass.

Line a jelly pan with parchment paper or spray with a non-stick spray and spread the dough over it. Smooth the top with a palette knife or gently hit the pan against the counter to even out the top a little. The main concern is to bake everything evenly, not so much the looks of it!

Bake for 2o minutes.  Like I said before, if you prefer to pipe them individually, that will work too! Baking time will be more like 15 minutes though!

If you would like to dust the top with powdered sweetener, now would be the time to do that. Personally I didn’t bother, as they are sweet enough for my liking!

Remove the pan from the oven, turn the oven off. Let the cake rest for a few minutes and then remove from the pan.  Cut the cake into finger-sized strips.  Pile everything back onto the pan.


Place them back into the oven, leave the door open for about 2 minutes to cool things down a bit further, then close the oven door and let the ladyfingers dry for another 90 minutes or so in the warm oven. Depending on the thickness, it could take more or less time. The goal is a dry “cookie”, all the way through.  You also want to have a definite “snap” when you break one apart!

Store in a cookie tin until needed! Unless you go straight to making the tiramisu. In that case, read on!


I already posted my regular Tiramisu recipe here, and much of it will be repetition, but I thought it would be easier to have it all in one place!


Low-Carb, Sugar-Free Tiramisu

Makes 16 servings.


  • 24oz of Mascarpone cheese (if you want to make it yourself, I have a recipe for Homemade Mascarpone here) It will take a double batch of the mascarpone recipe.
  • 1 batch of low-carb ladyfingers (recipe above)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sweetener, divided (powdered erythritol is fine here!)
  • 3 tbsp. Monin sugar-free Amaretto Syrup
  • 2  tbsp. Brandy, divided (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp glucomanan powder
  • 10 oz. of strong coffee, cooled (I always use decaf. The taste is the same but it won’t keep you awake at night!)
  • 1/3 cup Dark cocoa powder. ( I use the double Dutch dark cocoa powder. It is absolutely perfect for this!)


Separate the eggs and place egg yolks in a metal pan, and egg whites into a separate bowl.

Add 1/4 cup of sweetener and the Amaretto syrup and 1 tbsp. of brandy to the yolks and whisk until the sweetener is dissolved and the egg yolks are pale.

Place the metal bowl/pan on top of a small saucepan with boiling water (to simulate a double boiler) and UNDER CONSTANT stirring, let the egg yolk warm through until it turns into a thicker custard type consistency. It won’t take long, so don’t take your eye of it and really do stir the entire time, making sure you incorporate all the bits around the edges of the bowl too.

It will be easy to tell when it’s done. The color changes a little and it will be thicker when you stir through it. When that happens, take it off the double boiler!

With an electric beater (or in my case the kitchen aid) beat the egg yolk pudding a little to cool it down. Then add the Mascarpone and incorporate well. Then beat on high for about 3 minutes.

Position the separate metal bowl with the egg whites on the double boiler. This time you don’t want the whisk, you want to stir the egg whites slow and steady to heat them through (to about 160 F) At that point they are safe to eat. Take care to also get the egg whites around the sides of the bowl, so they don’t start to cook!  If you are ok with eating raw egg whites, you can skip this step!


When the egg whites reach temperature, immediately remove the bowl from the heat and whip the egg whites on the highest speed of your electric mixer until they  turn white and foamy.

Add 1/2 cup of sweetener and glucomanan powder and beat until they form stiff peaks.

Using a spatula, fold the whipped egg whites into the mascarpone mix. Don’t whisk, just fold until all is incorporated. This will give the tiramisu a more airy mouth feel.

Add 1 tbsp. brandy to the coffee. Pour the coffee into a small bowl – one large enough to accommodate the lady fingers.

Get the dish for your tiramisu ready and dust a good layer of cocoa powder in the bottom.

Then dunk the lady fingers into the coffee mix one by one, turning them real fast and immediately placing them into the dish. You have to work fast here so they don’t fall apart on you. Ladyfinger cookies are designed to soak up liquids rapidly and the low-carb kind are a bit thinner, so you have to be even quicker!

Alternatively you could just fill the coffee mix into a squeezy bottle. Place all the lady fingers in the dish and generously drizzle with coffee mix!

Break the cookies as you need, to get an even layer, following the shape of your dish.

Add half of your Mascarpone mix over the top of the ladyfinger layer.

Do another layer of soaked ladyfingers, then smooth the rest of the Mascarpone mix over the top.

Dust a generous layer of cocoa powder over the top of it. Just resign yourself to the fact that it will get messy. You can always wipe down the counters and your dish when you are done. I recommend a damp kitchen towel for tidying up the rim.

Refrigerate overnight! This really is one of those things that need to be overnight. It needs to cool through and firm up a bit, all the different layers need to get to mix and mingle and turn into the divine creation that is known as Tiramisu.

And then the next day, you may want to dust the top with more cocoa powder, I usually don’t as I like the darker top that slightly crackles when you serve it.

So, there it is! This is not the kind of dessert to make every week. I usually only make it maybe once or twice a year for a special occasion, but then it is oh so worth it! The effort and the eating!


And the best part - if you’re on a low-carb diet - this heavenly indulgence is now no longer a diet buster! At least not the carb count! The calories ... that’s a different matter !


This luscious dessert, with my ingredients and homemade mascarpone is only 4g of net carbs per serving!

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  1. Hello Birgit,

    Thanks so much for this amazing recipe ! My dad is a diabetic and I have not been able to find sugar free ladyfinger cookies. I can finally make Tiramisu for him because of your recipe !


  2. I just discovered your site and let me tell you that your recipes look absolutely amazing. I will try some of them soon. Since I'm doing low carb it's been hard for me to eat chocolate cake but this seems the perfect recipe tot try. Thanks for this effort of sharing your recipes with us!!


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