PB & J Tiramisu

If you were a kid who grew up in America (likely), then you also grew up with peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. You uncovered them in your lunchbox, cradled in a ziplock bag, throughout the majority of your grade school years. There’s something about experiencing a food as a staple in your childhood that makes you grow attached to it. It becomes comforting, and perhaps tastes better to you than it would to somebody else. But let’s not underestimate the PB & J here; those things are delicious whether or not you consumed approximately 1 million of them between the ages of 5 and 11. There’s something about that creamy, salty peanut butter taste coming together with the sweet tartness of jelly that creates a perfect “opposites attract” reaction. It’s harmonious.

PB & J will always hold a special place in my lunchbox. There are a lot of sandwiches out there, but I’m sorry, none of them compare (except maybe grilled cheese). I am obsessed with PB & J anything. I don’t really like jelly at all on its own. But if you add some peanut butter, I am all over that stuff.

So, we’ve got to talk about this dessert now: PB & J Tiramisu. Traditional tiramisu is comprised of layers of espresso-soaked ladyfingers, sweet mascarpone cream, and usually a dusting of cocoa powder and/or chocolate shavings. It is to die for, one of my favorites for sure. However, I think this PB & J version may have the original beat.

It’s one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. It tastes JUST LIKE PB & J, but with a refined, even more delicious touch. It’s grown-up PB & J. For the “P,” you have a peanut-butter mascarpone cream with a fluffy mousse-like texture. That stuff was heavenly. I could’ve eaten it all on its own. For the “J,” you have a raspberry jam/juice mixture that you soak the ladyfingers in (instead of espresso or coffee liqueur). And lastly, instead of white bread, you have those wonderful ladyfingers. You see, tiramisu is a magical dessert because those ladyfingers start out hard as a rock. But when you soak them in the liquid and let the dessert sit for at least 8 hours, they turn into cake. Who needs bread when you can have cake?

The best thing about this (besides its overall deliciousness) is that it’s shockingly easy to make! People are going to look at this dessert and be floored; it looks so impressive! But all you have to do is whip up the cream, soak some ladyfingers, and layer it up. That’s it. The only downfall is the minimum 8 hour chilling time, but the wait makes it taste even better! (…maybe)

A few tips before you get cooking:

  1. Yes, YOU REALLY NEED TO CHILL THIS FOR AT LEAST 8 HOURS. If you don’t, your ladyfingers will be hard as a rock and the dessert will probably fall apart. Chilling it lets the ladyfingers soak up all the liquid and become cake-like. It also firms up the dessert so it holds together and the flavors intensify.
  2. Don’t overbeat your peanut butter cream mixture (I might’ve a tiny bit…). It’ll get grainy. Still tastes great, just doesn’t look as pretty.
  3. Take your mascarpone out long before you want to start layering so it can come to room temperature.
  4. I couldn’t find crisp ladyfingers in my grocery store so I bought these Margharite Cookies instead. I don’t know, they look like ladyfingers to me!
  5. This recipe originally used cream cheese instead of mascarpone. I’m sorry, but that’s wrong to me. Traditional Tiramisu is made with mascarpone! It just wouldn’t taste the same.
  6. Thicker chocolate(like a block) is easier to make curls out of. However, all I could get my hands on was a Hershey bar. I made it work!
  7. This makes a small 9 by 5 in. loaf pan of tiramisu. This was perfectly sized for my parents and I, but if you need more, double it and make it in a 9 by 9.
  8. When you divide the jam mixture in this recipe, you should split it in half roughly, leaving just a bit more for the top layer of ladyfingers. If you just split it evenly, the bottom layer will be much more saturated and the top might be too dry. Thank you, gravity.

PB & J Tiramisu

Recipe adapted from The Food Network


  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/3 cup raspberry juice or raspberry liqueur
  • 14 italian-style crisp ladyfingers
  • 4 cups raspberries
  • 1 bar of chocolate, for shaving


  1. Beat the peanut butter, mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of the cream in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth & fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add the remaining 1/2 cup cream and beat until creamy (about 1-2 minutes). Don’t overbeat!
  2. Whisk jam, juice, and 1/3 cup water in a bowl until smooth. Spread about 3 tbsp. of jam mixture in a 9×5 in. glass loaf pan. Cover with half of ladyfingers, arranging them lengthwise. Brush with a bit less than half of the remaining jam mixture (Don’t worry if it looks like a lot of liquid, it will absorb as it chills, I promise!).
  3. Spread half of the peanut butter cream over the ladyfingers.
  4. Top with 2 cups raspberries and the remaining ladyfingers, laying them in the opposite direction of the first layer of ladyfingers. Brush the ladyfingers with the remaining jam mixture and spread the remaining peanut butter cream on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

    The final layer of ladyfingers.

  5. Uncover tiramisu. Top with remaining raspberries.
  6. Shave chocolate onto top of dessert or onto separate slices. To make chocolate curls: Using a vegetable peeler, quickly and gently glide the peeler down the edge of the chocolate and let curls fall onto tiramisu. You can make different sized ones. Work quickly because the chocolate will eventually start to melt from the heat of your hands. Speaking of which, watch your hands as you cut!
  7. Dust with powdered sugar and serve!

MAKE THIS NOW. It has earned a spot in my top desserts which is NOT an easy thing to do (Because I love all desserts ever. It’s hard to stand out). You will feel like a kid because you’re eating PB & J, but you’ll be able to pretend you’re an adult because you’re eating fancy shmancy tiramisu.Yay for PB & J!

Posted in Dessert, Italian, The Smart Cookie Cook and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Colleen Bierstine


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