desserts,  prepare now, eat later,  vegan

Vegan tiramisu (that tastes close enough to the original)

I’m a big fan of vegan cooking – it’s sustainable, cheap, and often easier than preparing animal products. Actually, most of the food we eat at home is vegan. Despite the awesomeness of veganism, one of my biggest pet peeves is vegan recipes claiming that the taste is going to be “exactly like the original”, and then failing to deliver on this promise. 

This vegan tiramisu tastes like tiramisu. And it’s good. It’s that simple. Does it miss the exact taste of egg-based ladyfingers? Yes. Is the slight taste of coconut detectable in the cream? Yes. But it still has the most important features of the classic Italian dessert: coffee, cocoa, silky cream, soaked bits of cake, and that’s enough to make it delicious. 

Before making this one, I’ve read a lot of vegan tiramisu recipes, and unfortunately, I was disappointed. Many of them were more of a creative re-imagination of something sweet with cream and coffee rather than actually a tiramisu. This version is as classic as it can be, given no use of animal products.

Technical notes: use coconut cream (at least 80% of coconut, full fat), chilled in the fridge for a day or two, so the white part separates from the liquid. If you plan to use coconut milk, three to four cans may be needed.

Vegan tiramisu (4-6 servings)

For the sponge cake:
200g flour
150g sugar
200ml water
40ml neutral oil (e.g. canola, rice or grapeseed)
1,5tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla extract

For the cream:
2 cans of coconut cream, chilled
1tsp vanilla extract 
1tsp lemon juice
1tbsp powdered sugar

Additionally:
1 cup of strong coffee
1tbsp of cocoa powder
1tbsp of amaretto (optional)

To prepare the sponge, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, pour in a rectangular baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes (check with a toothpick to see if ready). Cool, cut into ladyfinger-sized bits.

For the cream, whip the white, solid part of the coconut cream with vanilla extract, lemon juice and powdered sugar. The consistency should be similar to regular whipped cream (it will become thicker in the fridge) – to loosen it, you can gradually add a couple tablespoons of water or plant milk. 

Assemble by layering cut sponge cake pieces soaked in coffee (mixed with alcohol, if you decide to use it) on the bottom of your dish (I used a 23cmx15cm one). Pour over half of the cream, level it out and generously dust with cocoa powder. Repeat for the second layer and put in the fridge at least overnight. 

You can keep it in the fridge up to 4 days (but I’m pretty sure it won’t last that long). 

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