This past weekend Bill and I got to celebrate two family birthdays, which meant splurging on two grain free treats…YUM! The first of the celebrations was for Bill’s brother-in-law Chris. Bill’s sister Nellie has hinted a few times that she wanted us to try to come up with a grain-free version of tiramisu since it is one of her favorite desserts as well as her hubby’s. I never really gave the dessert much thought, because it just seemed way too intimidating, and I thought we could never make it happen. Finally I had a real reason to actually see what was involved with the recipe and decide whether it was do-able or not.

Nellie wanted an Italian themed menu, and requested that we try to make tiramisu to surprise Chris with for his special birthday dessert. Bill’s mom (also named Nellie), then sent me several tiramisu recipes that she had used in the past so I could get a feel for what the recipe entailed. Once I took a look at it I almost jumped for joy out of excitement. A layers of cookies, coffee syrup, and creamy filling? I could totally make that happen!

A little disclaimer on this recipe: It involves A LOT of dairy (similar to our cheesecake recipe found in Make it Paleo). It also contains alcohol. We have said in the past that the desserts we make are NOT Paleo. They are grain-free, sweetened with maple syrup, and are a TREAT. There is a time and a place for desserts, one of which being a celebration, and this birthday was definitely cause for a celebration.

Tiramisu typically is a layer of lady fingers, soaked in a coffee syrup, topped with a blend of mascarpone cheese and whipped heavy cream, and then repeated with another layer of cookies and cream topping. The top is dusted with cocoa powder, then chilled for 24 hours, and voila! You have a delicious Italian dessert.  For the lady fingers, we opted for a coconut flour recipe modified from a recipe we found on Eat Nourishing. The cookies turned out great, they were not as fluffy light as classic lady fingers are, but they worked just fine. Bill’s mom is horribly allergic to mascarpone so we subbed full fat, organic cream cheese. For the coffee syrup we decided to use amaretto instead of brandy. We actually made this dessert at my aunts house and raided her liquor cabinet for something suitable for the syrup, and after smelling many a bottle of liquor, we decided to throw in some amaretto for a hint of gourmet deliciousness.

All in all the recipe turned out great. It definitely put a huge smile on Chris’s face, which we all enjoyed seeing!

paleo tiramisu


prep:35 minutes
This decadent Primal treat is both delicious and fun to make. Please note that this recipe relies on three other recipes (Lady Fingers, Coffee and Amaretto Syrup, and Cream Cheese Filling) - which are all listed below as ingredients. However, with a bit of patience, this dish is a breeze and will surely impress any dinner guest.

Serves: 10

Serves: 10decrease servingsincrease servings


Note, these instructions are written assuming the standard serving size, since you have modified the number of servings, these steps may need to be modified for best results
  1. Line lady fingers in the bottom of a 9x9x2.5 glass dish.
  2. Drizzle lady fingers with the coffee and amaretto syrup.
  3. Top with half the amount of cream cheese filling.
  4. Repeat first three steps, smooth the top layer of cream cheese filling, and dust with cocoa powder.
  5. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours before serving.
Our recipes are created using Paleo, Primal and Gluten-free guidelines. Learn more about our diet and lifestyle at



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    1. nhestin
      Supporting Member
      May 2, 2012

      As the sister/wife in question, I can wholeheartedly vouch for how excellent this is! The flavor is spot-on for a traditional, grain-based tiramisu.

    2. grofte
      May 2, 2012

      A bit confusing that I had to go to the separate recipe page to add it to “my recipes”.

      But it looks amazing and I’m very much looking forward to trying it out!

    3. May 2, 2012

      Grofte – thank you for pointing that out. I will see if our web-guru/genius can change the coding so that the action buttons are available in recipe snippets.

      Nell – thanks for the encouragement to give it a shot! :)

    4. cardean50
      May 10, 2012

      Making this tomorrow for Mom’s Bday dinner. A treat to go along with flat iron steaks, sauteed mushrooms and grilled asparagus dinner! Thanks guys.

    5. roseywinter
      May 12, 2012

      First, I want to say congratulations on the new website! It looks great! :) I love how we can save recipes & rate them right on the site.

      And second… OMG Tiramisu!! <3 I looove tiramisu, and it's one of my ultimate faves. I'm so glad to have a paleo/primal version of it to try creating & indulge in. Now I just need to wait until we get our oven & stove fixed/replaced.

      Thanks for this recipe~

      – Esther

    6. roseywinter
      May 12, 2012

      By the way, I noticed that there is no “add to my recipes” button on this post. Is it just missing on this one by a fluke, or is that feature not ready yet for the beta of the site? Just curious. 😀

      – Esther

      1. May 12, 2012

        Hi Esther,

        The “Add to My Kitchen” button should appear in the recipe itself, but currently we do not have that on the blog post. I think eventually we’ll have the buttons added to the ‘short format’ that appears in blog posts, but for now we have bigger fish to fry in terms of features we’d like to see on the site.

        Thanks for all the love!

    7. [email protected]
      January 12, 2013

      Can I substitute the mascarpone cheese back into the recipe 1:1 with the cream cheese?

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