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In this Matzo Tiramisu recipe, rich vanilla cream is layered with coffee-soaked matzo instead of ladyfingers and topped with chocolate for a decadent Passover dessert.

close up of slice of matzo tiramisu showing creamy filling texture

There are a few desserts I tend to make over and over for Passover every year. Treats like flourless chocolate cake, matzo chocolate toffee (aka matzo crack), and coconut macaroons. But this year I wanted something different!

Matzo Tiramisu, also lovingly referred to as Tiramatzu or Matzo Misu, is the perfect Passover dessert. If you like regular Italian Tiramisu, you’ll love it.

Here we have a rich and decadent vanilla bean sweet cream layer, espresso-soaked matzo crackers, and a layer of dark chocolate on top. It’s pretty fabulous, and it’s something to look forward to if you want a fresh new idea for dessert during Passover.

And after Passover when you’re looking for ways to use up leftover matzo, this is a great recipe to make!

slice of matzo tiramisu with coffee

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Matzo Tiramisu is perfect if you’re looking for a new way to eat matzo. Keep it fresh and exciting!
  • It’s easy! There is no hard part to this recipe, it’s just a matter of making the creamy filling and layering everything together. And the end result is pretty and elegant.
  • Coffee, chocolate, and a creamy layer – yum! This speaks for itself. When you’re craving something just a little bit different during Passover (or anytime you have matzo on hand), this is the perfect treat.
  • It keeps well. It will stay good for up to 4 days in the fridge.
front view of slice of matzo chocolate icebox cake

What Makes This the Best Matzo Tiramisu Recipe

You’re going to love the vanilla cream in this recipe! It’s basically an Italian custard called Zabaglione (but without the wine that it usually has) that’s mixed with cream cheese instead of mascarpone. As this dessert sits in the fridge, it sets as the matzo absorbs the cream.

You can eat it once it’s fully chilled (after about 2 hours in the fridge). At this point, it will be cool and creamy, with the matzo still slightly stiff.

However, for best results I recommend letting Matzo Tiramisu chill for about 8 hours before serving. You’ll be able to cut it into neat slices if you let it chill for this time period. Additionally, the matzo will soften as it soaks up the vanilla cream.

Ingredients and Substitutions

matzo tiramisu ingredients

Ingredients Explained

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas where applicable. For the full recipe (including the ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

Zabaglione Cream Layer Ingredients

  • Egg yolk – Egg yolks add richness and act as a thickener for this Iight, creamy Italian custard.
  • Sugar – Use regular granulated white sugar here.
  • Vanilla bean scrapings – To keep this kosher for Passover, I use vanilla bean scrapings instead of vanilla extract, which is frequently made with alcohol. However, vanilla bean paste or even vanilla extract will also work.
  • Salt – We only need a little salt to elevate the flavor of everything else.
  • Cream cheese – Instead of using mascarpone, I used cream cheese to keep this dessert kosher for Passover. Mascarpone will also work.
  • Heavy whipping cream – This adds rich flavor and helps create the perfect fluffy texture.

Matzo Layer Ingredients

  • Hot espresso – Instead of espresso, you can use double-strength coffee. When making regular Italian Tiramisu, you soak ladyfingers in espresso before layering the icebox cake. Here, we soak the matzo in espresso before assembling the cake. The espresso adds another layer of flavor and helps give the matzo a head-start on softening. The espresso only needs to be hot enough to dissolve the sugar.
  • Sugar – We sweeten the coffee with a little sugar.
  • Matzo – Matzo (unleavened bread that’s eaten during the Jewish holiday of Passover) replaces ladyfingers.

Chocolate Layer Ingredients

  • Good-quality dark chocolate – To keep this kosher for Passover, make sure to check the ingredients for chametz. This is my favorite chocolate to use during Passover (and it’s available on Amazon!).
  • Heavy whipping cream – We are making a chocolate ganache for the top of our icebox cake, which means we’re basically mixing together chocolate and cream.
italian tiramisu made with matzah for passover

Instructions

Step 1: Make the Cream Layer

how to make creamy filling for tiramisu

We’re essentially making Italian Zabaglione (without the alcohol). Zabaglione is a custard-like dessert made from egg yolks, sugar, and a sweet wine (such as Marsala).

  1. Add the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt to the bowl of a double boiler.
  2. Whisk until the mixture is thick and fluffy. Chill in an ice bath for 15 minutes.
  3. Beat together the egg yolk mixture and cream cheese in a large bowl. (The mixture will be lumpy at first, but it will smooth out.)
  4. Beat in 1/4 of the whipped cream. Finally, use a rubber spatula to fold in the remaining whipped cream 1/4 at a time. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the cream and refrigerate 15 minutes.

Step 2: Assemble

Set up everything you need to assemble this icebox cake.

setting up to make passover chocolate icebox cake

And now it’s easy to put together!

how to make matzo tiramisu
  1. Whisk together the hot espresso and sugar in a large shallow dish (such as an 8 by 8-inch casserole dish). Cool to room temperature. Soak a sheet of matzo in the espresso for about 15 seconds per side.
  2. Place the espresso-soaked matzah into the pan you’re using to assemble the cake. If you need more matzo to cover the bottom of the pan, break up a sheet of matzo to fit, soak it in the espresso, and place it in the pan. Spread 1/3 of the cream mixture on top of the matzo in the pan. Add another layer of espresso-soaked matzo.
  3. Repeat this process 2 times.
  4. This is how the Tiramatsu looks before topping with chocolate.

Step 3: Chocolate Layer

adding chocolate to matzah icebox cake
  1. When the Tiramisu is assembled and ready for the topping, melt together the chocolate and cream in a double boiler or microwave, stirring until smooth. Let it cool just a little bit.
  2. While the chocolate mixture is still melted and spreadable, dollop it onto the top layer of matzo and spread it around to cover the top.

Step 4: Chill

top view of dish of passover tiramisu

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours before slicing.

Storage

Store leftovers wrapped in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Tips

  • Espresso Substitute: If you don’t have espresso, you can use double strength coffee.
  • Chocolate Layer Substitute: If you prefer, skip the chocolate layer and instead top with a dusting of cocoa powder.
  • Pan Size: I like to use an 11 X 7 X 1-inch deep baking dish for this because matzo fits really well! However, you can also use any similar size. If the matzo doesn’t fit perfectly into the pan, break it up so it does. I found that 1.5 sheets of matzo fit perfectly into each layer using an 11 by 7-inch pan.
  • Chill Time: This will be fully chilled after being in the fridge for about 2 hours, but I find that it sets and slices much better (and not to mention tastes better) if you let it sit for at least 8 hours in the fridge. Not only does it set, but this gives the matzo enough time to soften.
slice of messy jewish italian matzo tiramisu
This is how Matzo Tiramisu looks if you let it chill for about 2 hours. I recommend letting it chill for about 8 hours before serving so that it cuts neatly and the matzo softens as it absorbs the vanilla cream.
close up spoonful of matzoh tiramisu

Matzo Tiramisu FAQs

What Does Tiramisu Literally Mean?

In Italian, Tiramisù means “pick me up” or “cheer me up”.

What is Tiramisu Traditionally Made Of?

Italian Tiramisu is traditionally made of espresso and liqueur-soaked ladyfingers layered with a sweet, creamy mixture of Zabaglione and mascarpone cheese, and then topped with a dusting of cocoa powder.

We use matzo (instead of ladyfingers) and cream cheese (in place of mascarpone) to transform this delicious classic Italian masterpiece into a Jewish dessert that’s kosher for Passover.

overhead view of plated tiramatsu

Can I Use Vanilla Extract Instead of Vanilla Bean Scrapings?

Absolutely! This recipe will work just fine if you use vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste instead of the scrapings from a vanilla bean.

There are a couple reasons why I like to use vanilla bean scrapings here.

vanilla bean scrapings

The first reason is that because I’m making this as a Passover dessert, it should not contain chametz (which is leaven or foods that contain leaven). Many vanilla extracts contain alcohol, which is a fermented product, and therefore chametz.

And the second reason is purely aesthetic. the scrapings from a vanilla bean add gorgeous flecks of vanilla throughout the custard!

More Deliciously Sweet Ways to Use Matzo

slice of tiramatzu on plate with vintage spoon

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Matzo Tiramisu

Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Other Time8 hours
Yields: 12 servings
In this Matzo Tiramisu recipe, rich vanilla cream is layered with coffee-soaked matzo and topped with chocolate for a decadent Passover dessert.

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Ingredients
 

Cream Layer:

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean scrapings or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream whipped to stiff peaks

Matzo Layer:

Chocolate Layer:

Instructions
 

Make the Cream Layer:

  • Add the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla bean scrapings, and salt to the bowl of a double boiler and whisk until the mixture is thick, fluffy, and doubled in volume, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place the bowl in an ice bath for 15 minutes to cool, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the egg yolk mixture and cream cheese to a large bowl and use a handheld electric mixer to beat until smooth.
  • Beat in 1/4 of the whipped cream, and then use a rubber spatula to fold in the remaining whipped cream 1/4 at a time.
  • Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top and refrigerate 15 minutes.

Assemble:

  • Whisk together the hot espresso and sugar in a large shallow dish (such as an 8 by 8-inch casserole dish). Cool to room temperature.
  • Get out the pan you’re using to make this (see Note below).
  • Soak a sheet of matzo in the espresso for about 15 seconds per side and place it into the pan you’re using. If you need more matzo to cover the bottom of the pan, break up a sheet of matzo to fit, soak it in the espresso, and place it in the pan.
  • Spread 1/3 of the cream mixture on top of the matzo in the pan. Add another layer of espresso-soaked matzo. Repeat this process 2 times.

To Make the Chocolate Layer:

  • When the Tiramisu is assembled and ready for the topping, melt together the chocolate and cream in a double boiler or microwave, stirring until smooth.
  • While the chocolate mixture is still melted and spreadable, dollop it onto the top layer of matzo and spread it around to cover the top.

Chill:

  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours before slicing.

Notes

  • Espresso Substitute: If you don’t have espresso, you can use double strength coffee.
  • Chocolate Layer Substitute: If you prefer, skip the chocolate layer and instead top with a dusting of cocoa powder.
  • Pan Size: I like to use an 11 X 7 X 1-inch deep baking dish for this. However, you can also use any similar size. If the matzo doesn’t fit perfectly into the pan, break it up so it does. I found that 1.5 sheets of matzo fit perfectly into each layer using an 11 by 7-inch pan.
  • Chill Time: This will be fully chilled after being in the fridge for about 2 hours, but I find that it sets and slices much better (and not to mention tastes better) if you let it sit for at least 8 hours in the fridge.
  • Storage: Store leftovers wrapped in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 100mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 789IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian, Jewish
Keyword: Matzo Misu, Matzo Tiramisu, Matzo Tiramisu Recipe, Tiramatsu, Tiramatzu

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Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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