Eggless Boozeless Tiramisu
I promise it's still great.
When you can't have gluten, it's really hard to find tiramisu in the wild. Since developing an allergy, I've found it in two places (neither of them where I live)- one is a vegan take on tiramisu that's tasty, but its honestly an entirely different dessert, and the other was good! I used to make it a lot. It's actually one of the first things I learned how to make. There's a recipe in this children's cookbook that I got from a home and garden store in St. Louis with my grandparents about 700 years ago that became the base of the recipe that I still use now.
But the thing about making tiramisu is that you need ladyfingers. Or you can make a sponge cake, but that's a lot of added effort and time. A few times time I've made a pseudo-tiramisu with whipped coffee and almond sponge, which was delicious, but it mostly made me miss what I used to make. What I'm trying to say is that I has never heard of gluten free ladyfingers before.
Enter Schar. This company. I just...I just love them so much. They are in no way sponsoring this post, I am just a big fan. They make frozen gluten free puff pastry dough. That's in actual grocery stores. I literally cried when I found that out. Speaking of grocery stores, their website has a nice little pdf you can download with check boxes next to all of their products and a prewritten script to give to grocery stores to ask them to stock things you'd like. They also make gluten free versions of popular candy bars (I just finished a Chocolix, which I'm assuming they are not allowed to say is their take on Twix; I've also had their take on KitKats, and they do not disappoint) and cookies, plus croissants and a massive variety of breads. They're great about marking other allergens, and they differentiate between wheat and gluten. I mean, everything they do is gluten free, but a lot of their products are also free of other allergens. And their website has all sorts of fabulous information about gluten, different gluten free flours, Celiac Disease, IBS, wheat allergies, and tons of other stuff. Oh, and recipes and general tips for how the loss of gluten impacts ingredients! It's a surprisingly great resource. If you have a second, I'd strongly recommend taking a little tour of their site.
So when I saw that they made ladyfingers, you can bet I was EXCITED. I bought four packages.
I was a little surprised by a couple of things. First, there are only 12 ladyfingers per package. If I'm comparing that to any others I've purchased, that's not very many at all. That's because these things age huge! Like 2-3 times the size of what I'm used to. The texture was also surprising. They seemed almost freeze-dried? Or dehydrated? Very crisp and a little brittle. Almost like if you took Nilla Wafers if they were half air. So before I put the whole dish together, I wanted to test a bit to make sure I knew how to work with them and um. UM.
It just...inflated. And I was worried it had just taken on too much liquid too quickly because of how delicate it was, but nope! It felt like a strong-but-moistened spongecake. A beautiful texture that held up after days of letting the finished product settle. Only two came apart the entire time (which is unheard of for me tremor-wise). Amazing. Absolutely worth it. If this is something you've been considering, do it!
A few things about this tiramisu:
There are no eggs, raw or otherwise. So it's safe if you're concerned about immune function or if you don't want to deal with the stove or with whisking up a custard.
There is no alcohol. You can add it if you want, it's just not my thing. I don't think it's necessary, and I don't think it looses anything by omitting it. As you know, alcohol doesn't mix well with my meds or with my medical conditions, so I usually just find it best not to mess with it. Plus I may or may not eat this stuff for breakfast, so alcohol's probably not the best bet anyway.
The coffee. I used the instant decaf Greek coffee I had on hand (that I use for whipped coffee, etc.). I've previously only made tiramisu with brewed coffee, espresso, or coffee made from espresso power. But honestly? It turned out really well. The depth of flavor took me by surprise. It wasn't a punch-you-in-the-face-with-coffee effect that I'm used to, it was much more mellow than that (even though I used a LOT of coffee), but it was also a much more sophisticated flavor profile than I was expecting. My point here is you can really just use whatever you have on hand, it's going to be great.
You have a lot of options with the cream layer. You need the mascarpone. But beyond that, you just need a dairy that will make it, well, creamy. I used creme fraiche this time, which is not my favorite. You can also use fromage frais, whipping cream (I don't love this option, just because I don't think it adds much in the flavor category, you have to whip it a lot, and it can lose volume while it sets), double cream, or even sour cream (this honestly might be my favorite- it's thick and smooth, with a tang that compliments the mascarpone beautifully).
This recipe is easy to multiply or divide. I should have used a smaller pan, but this is the only one I had with straight sides. But mascarpone comes on 8oz. containers, so basically- 1 mascarpone container means you also use 1 creme fraiche or fromage frais container, or fill the same mascarpone tub with whichever other dairy you're using, 1 container of Schar ladyfingers, and the other ingredients to taste.
Chocolate! You can use unsweetened cocoa powder or dark chocolate. I like to put dark chocolate in a food processor and then shave some over the top so the top layer is prettier.
First, make sure your dairy is room temperature. It's not totally necessary, it just makes it easier to work with. Then make your coffee and put it in a shallow dish. You need it to be cool enough to put your hands in. Once you've done those things, gather the rest of your ingredients and set up your layer-building stations.
Combine dairy, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl. I used a stand mixer because my hands were hurting, but you definitely don't need to. Just get it to a point that it's no longer grainy.
Then the most time consuming part.
Dip each ladyfinger into the coffee one at a time and put them into the bottom of a baking dish. Don't worry about being neat! Once you've fully covered the bottom of the dish in coffee-soaked ladyfingers, cover them in a layer of cream. Smooth it out to create an even surface. Sprinkle the top with dark chocolate. Then repeat those steps! You can choose to pipe the cream on top to make it pretty, but I like the look of even stripes, and just using chocolate shavings to beautify it.
Cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours before consuming. And then consume as much as possible because it is delicious!
For the Tiramisu:
🥄🥄; makes 1 9x13 platter
2 8 oz. containers mascarpone
2 8 oz. containers creme fraiche (or equal amount of other dairy)
2 tsp vanilla
2+ cups coffee
2 packages Schar Gluten Free Ladyfingers
1. Bring mascarpone and dairy to room temperature.
2 Brew coffee and bring it to room temperature.
3. Combine mascarpone, dairy, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl, and stir together until it is no longer grainy.
4. Set up a tiramisu assembly station.
5. Dip ladyfingers into coffee one by one and put them on the bottom of a 9x13 serving dish.
6. When the bottom is fully covered, add on a thick layer of cream. Smooth out the top of the cream so it's flat.
7. Sprinkle on a layer of dark chocolate.
8. Repeat all layers, ending with chocolate. Decorate the top as you'd like.
9. Cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours before serving.