June 17, 2011

Tiramisu -Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free


Made with sponge-like ladyfinger cookies, mascarpone cheese, chocolate and sometimes the almond liqueur Amaretto, this dessert ranks right up there with Zachary's Pizza as foods I miss most.  My passion for tiramisu was rekindled while staying with family for Christmas and I have been searching and testing for the perfect "safe" recipe since then.

After five months of making different recipes and plenty of eating and tweaking and trying to work off the weight gain, below is what I came up with.  This is at best an 8-hour recipe: the cream needs time to set before layering and the assembled dessert tastes infinitely better when the ladyfingers fully absorb the liquid and cream.  You might have to do on-the-spot adjustments (adding more corn starch) to get the texture of the mock cream filling to your liking.  But having said all that, the taste was delicious and definitely worth making for an insatiable craving or that extra special occasion.  Are the fathers in your life worth the effort?  YES...especially if you get to share the spoils!

Just want to note that, while the recipe I used is dairy-free and egg-free, it is not completely "vegan" as it claims.  Refined sugar, which is in the Tofutti products, is often processed with bone char so these ingredients might not be "animal-free". 

Tiramisu - dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free recipe adapted from Veggywood's vegan tiramisu recipe

Part I: Ladyfinger cookies:

2 cups flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup canola oil
1¼ cup water
2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease or line a 9" square pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  
  3. Making a well in the dry ingredients and add remaining ingredients (oil, water, and vanilla).  Mix everything well until there are few lumps in the batter.
  4. Pour batter into square pan.  Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  5. After the pan has cooled, cut halfway down the pan.  Then, perpendicular from the first cut, cut ladyfingers into approximately 3/4-inch thick strips. I'm usually able to get about 14 cookie strips out of this.
  6. Put strips on baking sheet, cut-side down, and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let cool.

Part II: Mock Mascarpone Filling:

1¼ cup soy creamer or soy milk (The original recipe called for Mimic Creme heavy soy cream.  I've used soy creamer and Soy Dream Original soy milk with success but have needed to up the thickening agent.)
1-2 Tbsp corn starch (you can use agar agar powder, too).  Have extra handy in case you want additional thickening power.
2 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cup (one and a half of the 8 oz. containers) Tofutti cream cheese
1½ cup (one full 12 oz. container) Tofutti sour cream
Between 2/3 cup and 1 1/2 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
  1. Combine soy creamer/milk and corn starch until corn starch is dissolved.  Cook over low-medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid clumps.  The liquid should gradually thicken.  Add more corn starch if necessary. (I always use more than 1 Tbsp but haven't taken an exact measure since I'm always quickly drizzling more in and stirring furiously to avoid clumping.)  I like the texture when it is somewhere between pudding and a thick alfredo sauce.  
  2. Remove mixture from heat and pour into a mixing bowl.  Let cool.
  3. Add vanilla, Tofutti cream cheese, and Tofutti sour cream to soy-cornstarch product.  Blend together using a hand mixer until smooth.
  4. Blend in 2/3 cup powdered sugar.  Taste the cream for sweetness.  Blend in a couple more tablespoons at a time until you get the sweetness you want.  (I end up using between 3/4 and 1 cup.)
  5. Cover and refrigerate cream filling for at least a couple of hours to set.

When your cream filling is set and your ladyfingers are cooled, prepare 2 cups of strong coffee mixed with 2 Tbsp sugar.  For coffee-free, kid-friendly tiramisu, prepare 2 cups hot cocoa. (Try this basic recipe with a splash of vanilla extract instead of salt.)   Pour into a bowl that is big enough for the ladyfingers to lie in.

Cream is set?  Ladyfingers and coffee/cocoa cooled off?  Let's assemble your tiramisu!

You will need:

Mock mascarpone filling
Cooled-off coffee or hot cocoa for soaking (if you are dairy-free or nut-free, double check if using artificially flavored varieties)
Cocoa powder
Semisweet chocolate bar shavings (optional)
  1. Dip ladyfingers in coffee.  I let them sit for a couple seconds on each side until they are heavy with liquid all the way through.  Place a layer of soaked ladyfingers at the bottom of your serving dish.  (I use Corningware square baking dishes which are about 6½ inches across.)
  2. Completely cover ladyfinger layer with cream filling.
  3. Drizzle cocoa powder on top of cream filling.
  4. Repeat steps 1, 2, and 3.  Using a grater or peeler, make semisweet chocolate bar shavings and top the final layer with this if you so desire.
I'm usually able to make a two-layered tiramisu for my husband and me and a one-layered coffee-free tiramisu for the kids using our 6½-inch square Corningware dishes.  Yes, I make more for the grown-ups.  No, I have absolutely no guilt in doing so.  

Another variation:  try a homemade berry sauce instead of coffee or hot cocoa.  I used frozen berries so my results weren't quite so pretty but it was definitely delicious!  With summer fruits ripe for the picking, I might try blueberries with a homemade cherry or strawberry sauce next time.

Happy Father's Day! 

1 comment:

  1. I cannot believe you pulled this off! Looks awesome. Definitely on my list of to-do's.