Saturday, February 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Tiramisu (Vegan)

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About BakingThey chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month.  Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Blue at Home and Baking Obsession.      
I was very excited to see that February’s challenge was Tiramisu because, not only have I’ve never made this before, I’ve never eaten it either!  I’ve been allergic to eggs for over 30 years, before Tiramisu became a popular dessert.  I can’t count how many times I’ve watched other people order and eat Tiramisu in a restaurant and wondered what it was about this dessert that made it so popular.  Now I know.  It’s delicious!     
Because I’d never tasted this before, I decided to try and make this as close to the traditional recipe as I could, removing the eggs, and dairy products.  
The first part of the challenge was to make the Ladyfinger, or Savoiardi biscuits.  I followed the regular recipe, replacing the 3 eggs with combination of water, sunflower oil, baking powder and cornstarch.  
I piped a few test biscuits on to a cookie sheet as instructed. As they baked, they spread out and were much too flat.  Other vegan recipes call for baking the batter in a cake pan and cutting them into finger shapes when they’ve cooled.  I knew I wanted to decorate the outside of the cake with the ladyfingers so I searched around in my kitchen for a few minutes trying to think of how to get that shape, when I came across my cornbread pan.  I piped the batter into the pan, only filling it about half way up.  This worked well, giving me the shape I was looking for.    

Next,  I searched around the web, looking for a recipe for a vegan version of the mascarpone filling.  They’re aren’t that many recipes considering how popular this dessert is.  I decided to use this one from the Insomniac Chef as the base.  After it had set up in the fridge for several hours, I folded in a cup of Soyatoo Rice Wip. because the original recipe has you fold in whipped cream.

When it was assembled and set up, I decorated it with more rice whip, some cocoa powder and a chocolate covered coffee bean.  It was delicious but I would make a few changes next time.  I thought I had some Khalua to use in place of the Marsala wine but when I was making the cream, I couldn’t find it.  Next time I would definitely use a few tablespoons of Khalua, so I included it in the recipe below.  It needs something like that to make the flavor pop.  Other than that, I might try making chocolate ladyfingers.  I think I may have new favorite dessert!

Vegan Tiramisu
Makes one 5” round cake - Use organic ingredients whenever possible
For the Ladyfingers:
3/4 cup unbleached cake flour
6 tablespoons unbleached sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon corn starch
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons expeller pressed oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (in a shaker can or a small strainer)
Preheat your oven to 350°
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and corn starch.
In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the oil, water and vanilla extract.
Pour the liquid mixture into the dry and stir until just blended.
Using a pastry bag and a 3/4 inch tip (I didn’t have one so I used the bag with a tip) pipe the batter into a corn bread pan, filling the sections only half way.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the Ladyfingers from the pan and let cool.
For the “Mascarpone” filling:
1/4 cup Silk or Wildwood plain non-dairy creamer
1 tablespoon agar flakes
8 oz Tofutti non-dairy cream cheese
1/4 cup Tofutti non-dairy sour cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Khalua
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup Soyatoo rice or soy whip
Put the non dairy creamer and agar in a small pot, stir and let it sit for a few minutes.
Slowly heat the creamer, stirring until the agar has dissolved.
Turn off the heat and let it cool.
Put the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, Khalua and vanilla in a bowl.
When the creamer/agar has cooled, add it to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
Using a hand electric mixer, beat everything at a high speed until it’s well blended.
Put the bowl in the fridge to set up for several hours.
Fill a one cup measuring cup with rice or soy whip and gently fold it into the chilled “mascarpone” mix.
For the Ladyfinger dip:
1 cup water
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1/4 cup unbleached sugar
Mix these together in a shallow bowl.
To assemble the Tiramisu:
Dip 3 ladyfingers in the coffee mixture, one at a time, very quickly, wetting one side and remove.  
Line the bottom of a 5” spring form pan with the dipped cookies. 
Cut about 4 or 5 ladyfingers in half and stand them on end, cut side down, around the inside of the pan.
Cover the cookies in the bottom of the pan with about one third of the “mascarpone” filling.
Dip about 3 more cookies in the coffee mixture and cover the filling.
Repeat this again so that you have 3 layers.
Chill the cake for at least 4 hours before you remove the pan.
Dust the top with cocoa powder and decorate.

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