For a long time I wanted to make a vegan version of Tiramisu, the classic Italian dessert. However, though, that required some planning as I had to make the cake or cookie base from scratch, and because I’m usually not so go at planning recipes ahead of time, I kept postponing and almost forgot about it. Almost.
The other day I was reminded of my Tiramisu mission while having dinner with my dutch friend Anne-Marie, who came to visit me here in Porto. We went to an Italian restaurant I particularly like and she ordered Tiramisu for dessert. We brainstormed a bit about what would be the best approach to veganize it (Anne-Marie is the ultimate Tiramisu connoisseur), and came to the conclusion that, instead of trying to mimic the regular version, by using whipped soy cream and the likes instead of the dairy cream, the focus should be on the core flavours and textures of Tiramisu: coffee, Amaretto and biscuits.
The creamy component of this dish is made by combining silken tofu and coconut cream, and I can guarantee you it’s quite a subtle combo, where you won’t either taste the tofu or be overwhelmed by the coconut flavour. As far as the biscuit part goes, I made a simple almond and amaretto cake that is then cut into thick slices and soaked with coffee. The final result is quite pleasant, not overly sweet and light in texture. Unfortunately, by the time I was making this dessert Anne-Marie have already returned home, but I’m positive she would give her approval. Guess I’ll make it next time we meet, we always happen to come up with creative food ideas when cooking together ;)
For the Almond Amaretto Cake:
175 g / 1 ½ cups almond meal, slightly toasted in a dry skillet
270 g / 2 cups white spelt flour
¼ teaspoon fleur du sel
2 Tbs. flaxseed meal
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ cup + 2 Tbs. brown rice syrup
125 ml / ½ cup soya or almond milk
2 Tbs. Amaretto
1 tsp. lemon juice
60 ml / ¼ cup olive oil
granulated brown sugar (1 to 2 Tbs.) and extra oil for coating the pan
For the Coffee Sauce:
185 ml / 3/4 cup boiling water
2 Tbs. coffee granules
2 Tbs. brown rice syrup
For the Coconut and Tofu Cream:
2 cans /400 ml full fat coconut milk, turned upside down and refrigerated overnight
1 package / 300 g silken tofu
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and added to the bowl of a food processor
5 Tbs. brown rice syrup
1 Tbs. Amaretto
cocoa powder for coating
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
To make the cake: In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients for the cake except the flaxseed meal. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients along with the flaxseed meal. Put the wet mixture over the dry one and mix everything until a thick batter comes together.
Grease a rectangular baking dish with olive oil and coat it with the granulated brown sugar. Add the cake batter, smooth the top with the back of a spoon, and bake in the pre-heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 1 hour before unmolding and slicing.
To make the coffee sauce: In a heat resistant bowl, whisk the boiling water with the coffee granules and brown rice syrup until thoroughly combined.
To make the coconut and tofu cream: Open the coconut cans and discard the water (you only want the creamy part). Simply put all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and run the machine until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
To assemble: Cut the cake into 14-15 slices (they will be about 1cm thick). Add 5 of the cake slices to the bottom of a rectangular pan and cover them with half of the coffee sauce. Add half of the cream mixture on top of that, followed by 5 more cake slices and the remaining coffee sauce. Finally, cover with the remaining cream mixture.
Refrigerate the tiramisu for at least 24 hours. I like mine well chilled, almost frozen, so I cover the pan with cling film and put it in the freezer for 1-2 hours before serving (but only after it has chilled in the refrigerator). Dust the tiramisu with cocoa powder and serve.