A Zero Waste Lemon Tiramisu-inspired Dessert


I wrote 100+ recipes for Zero Waste Cooking For Dummies®, yet I just keep creating more.

That’s how Zero Waste Cooking works, and that is the goal of the book. I want you to learn more about food waste, and then get comfortable “sorta following” a recipe as you unleash your own creativity.

Zero Waste Desserts

As a special treat to my son, I made an authentic Tiramisu over the Easter holiday this year. I even made the lady fingers from scratch (I’m not super mom, it was just that I couldn’t find packaged ladyfingers in any local grocery store – yes, you can bake your own, and yes they are so much more delicious).

A few weeks after the holiday, it was my husband’s birthday, and I wanted to make him a special dessert. He loves lemon desserts, so I thought I could create something that used up a box of instant pudding that I had in my pantry.


Zero Waste Lemon Cream Dessert

In a classic tiramisu, you cook a homemade custard, tempering egg yolk mixture in a double boiler. Instant pudding mix makes this one quick and easy. Of course, tiramisu uses coffee as its primary flavor, and the cookies are soaked in espresso. This version skips the coffee, and uses lemon as its star flavor. The creaminess of the mascarpone is still there. Below, you’ll see the substitutions you can make to create your own Zero Waste Dessert.

Author Rosanne Rust MS RDN, www.rustnutrition.com


  • 1 1-ounce box lemon (or vanilla) instant pudding
  • 1 cup lowfat milk
  • 16 ounces mascarpone cheese or light cream cheese (or neufchatel)
  • 1 Zest and juice from one lemon
  • 6 ounces lemon flavored vodka or limoncello
  • 1 packaged lady fingers
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp cocoa


  • Add the pudding mix, milk, lemon zest, 2 ounces vodka and cheese to a large mixing bowl. Mix until combined and creamy.

  • Combine juice from lemon and 4 ounces lemon vodka in small bowl. Soak ladyfingers, one at a time, as you assemble the dessert. You’ll make 3 layers of soaked ladyfingers and cream, ending with cream.

  • Add the first layer of soaked ladyfingers to bottom of a 3-quart baking dish, spread 1/3 of cream gently over this layer, add another layer of soaked ladyfingers and cream. Repeat, ending with cream.

  • Mix powdered sugar and cocoa together in a small bowl. Using a fine strainer, sift the sugar mixture lightly over the top. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight before serving.


This type of dessert truly works well for zero waste cooking because you can mix this up using more or less cream cheese, and making a larger or smaller dessert. You can also use leftover pound cake or angel food cake, cut into cubes, in place of ladyfingers. If you have ripe berries, you can definitely put them into a layer. Enjoy!


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