This coffee-free (and caffeine-free) variation of classic tiramisu is kid-friendly and great for those who cannot have coffee or alcohol! Using ground roast barley mimics the flavor of coffee, and this recipe makes it just as delicious as traditional tiramisu.

Coffee-free tiramisu is made with barley coffee.

Tiramisu is no doubt one of the most popular desserts in Italy. Ladyfinger biscuits are infused in rich coffee and cognac (or rum), then covered with a mascarpone cheese custard.

However, this world-famous Italian dessert is not for everyone, especially those who need to stay away from coffee and alcohol. We are coffee and alcohol-free family for religious reasons, so tiramisu is often not an option in our dessert repertoire. Although my family love this alcohol-free strawberry kiwi tiramisu recipe.

Then one day, my daughter called from college and told me about her Italian roommate’s tiramisu that doesn’t contain coffee. I HAD to have my daughter ask for the recipe. Her roommate kindly shared with me the recipe she got from her Italian mother.

Because of this, I learned about the one key ingredient in this recipe that is able to replace coffee. It’s a “barley coffee“.

Amazingly, it has a similar taste and fragrance to classic coffee, and works like a charm in making tiramisu. And it’s naturally caffeine-free!

Coffee-free barley tiramisu is dusted with cocoa powder on top.

What is Barley coffee?

Known as caffè d’orzo, it’s often called coffee even though it does not contain coffee beans. It is made of ground roasted barley.

This naturally caffeine-free powder makes a great coffee substitute for those who avoid coffee but still want to enjoy the flavor of the drink.

If you are an Italian tiramisu purist, this recipe won’t satisfy you. However, if you want to enjoy a simple yet delicious tiramisu dessert without the caffeine and alcohol, this recipe might just be the best you can get.

It’s a great dessert that can be served to anyone — it’s kid friendly, too!

Mascarpone cheese with egg yolks and whipped cream

Classic tiramisu uses both egg yolks and egg whites, folded with mascarpone cheese to make a custard cream. I feel safe using tempered egg yolks in the custard, but I’m not always completely comfortable with uncooked egg whites.

So, I am using whipped cream in place of the egg whites. Again, this recipe is adapted to meet my family’s dietary preferences. But I can tell you it worked great, and tastes amazing!

Leftover egg whites? Try making my favorite pavlova with kiwi and passion fruit. It’s divine!

Remember, Tiramisu is a make-ahead type dessert since it requires 2-3 hours of chill time before serving.

Ingredients for making coffee-free barley tiramisu.

Ingredients you’ll need

How to make coffee-free Barley Tiramisu

To make mascarpone custard cream:

Tempering egg yolks in a double boiler for making coffee free tiramisu

Place a mixing bowl in a double boiler over medium heat, add egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until sugar dissolves and the mixture turns pale in color.

Remove the bowl from the pot, and let it cool.

Whipped cream for making Coffee free barley tiramisu

Whip cream until soft peaks form.

Mix whipped cream and mascarpone cheese together for making Tiramisu custard

Add mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract; continue to beat well until the mixture comes together.

Add mascarpone cream mixture to the cooled egg yolk mixture.

Add the mascarpone cream mixture to the cooled egg yolk mixture and fold together.

To make barley coffee to dip in:

Dip ladyfinger cookies into barley coffee for making caffein free tiramisu.

Mix hot water, sugar, and ground barley coffee until sugar dissolves.

To assemble tiramisu:

Assembling ladyfinger cookies with mascarpone cream to make caffein free tiramisu

Dip each ladyfinger into the barley coffee lightly and line them up to form the base of tiramisu on a tray or serving platter. Cover the ladyfingers with half the mascarpone custard cream and spread evenly.

Make another layer the same way.

Dust with cocoa powder to finish making barley caffein free tiramisu.

Lastly, sprinkle cocoa powder on top to cover.

Important! Chill tiramisu in a refrigerator for about 3 hours before serving. Chilling softens the ladyfinger cookies and makes them moist.

How to serve and store tiramisu

Slice a portion of tiramisu with a sharp knife and serve on a dessert plate. Cover leftover tiramisu loosely with a piece of foil or in a covered container. Keep it in the refrigerator always. It will last up to 1 week.

More No Bake Dessert Ideas

Coffee-free tiramisu is made with barley coffee.

Coffee-Free Barley Tiramisu

This coffee-free (and caffein-free) variation of classic tiramisu is kid-friendly and great for those who cannot have coffee or alcohol. Using ground roast barley mimics the flavor of coffee.
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Ingredients

  • 200 g (7 oz) ladyfingers
  • 500 g mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4-6 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

For barley coffee

Instructions 

To make mascarpone custard cream:

  • Place a mixing bowl in a double boiler over medium heat, add egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until sugar dissolves and the mixture turns pale in color. Remove the bowl from the pot, and let it cool.
  • Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract; continue to beat well until the mixture comes together.
  • Add the mascarpone cream mixture to the cooled egg yolk mixture and fold together.
  • To make barley coffee: mix hot water, sugar, and ground barley coffee until sugar dissolves.

To assemble tiramisu:

  • Dip each ladyfinger into the barley coffee lightly and line them up to form the base of tiramisu on a tray or serving platter. Cover the ladyfingers with half the mascarpone custard cream and spread evenly.
  • Make another layer the same way.
  • Lastly, sprinkle cocoa powder on top to cover. Chill tiramisu in a refrigerator for about 3 hours before serving
Calories: 511kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 41g, Saturated Fat: 24g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 240mg, Sodium: 83mg, Potassium: 79mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1472IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 128mg, Iron: 1mg
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