This may be my favorite dessert EVER. Did I just write that? I think I did. I could erase what I wrote in less than a few seconds, but that would be a big mistake. It should be known that this is one incredible healthy dessert. Yes, healthy! The key to making this tiramisu taste as excellent as it looks is to make ladyfinger cookies first and use them in preparation of the recipe.
Ladyfinger cookies date back to the eleventh century France when they were enjoyed as delicate sponge cakes by the wealthy. They are pretty old even though my healthy version is very new! The traditional recipe has changed little in nine hundred years and was carried throughout Europe by the marriages of the numerous daughters of Bertha of Savoy to the scattered thrones of Europe.
Flash forward to today and Ladyfingers are viewed as a delicacy and, by many, to be one of the rarest of the bakers’ arts.
The name Ladyfingers is self-explanatory as they are biscuits roughly shaped like fingers. Traditionally they are made using far from the healthiest ingredients as the classic recipe contains egg whites egg yolks, sugar, flour, powdered sugar and other ingredients never found in my recipes. Hence, I decided to create my own delicious healthy version! You can shape these cookies into the traditional shape of ladyfingers, which is to make them look like a lady’s “fingers” (see photo ~ mine look a bit like bars) or shape the cookies into round cookies. It’s up to you!
There is undeniably timeless beauty (and tastiness!) in whichever version of this recipe(s) you decide to make. I did find my emotions taking flight as I sunk my teeth into each bite. Enjoy everything you may, creative treats included, and sink your teeth into the simple pleasures of being human!
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 50 minutes
Ladyfinger cookie ingredients:
13 medjool dates, pitted and softened
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1/3 cup your favorite nondairy milk or nondairy mocha
2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
½ very ripe, large banana or 1 small banana
2 tablespoons vegan butter or coconut butter
¾ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or ½ cup raw cashew butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground vanilla or vanilla extract
2 cups buckwheat, spelt or oat flour (or a mix of them)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a tinfoil-lined cookie sheet with coconut oil, olive oil or cooking spray. Soften medjool dates by soaking them in warm water overnight or by soaking in water and heating in the microwave for 30 seconds. Once dates are softened, discard water and place pitted dates in a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. I recommend pouring in the nondairy milk (I used almond milk!) into the food processor first so that the liquid is on the bottom, which makes blending easier and smoother. Process until all ingredients have been combined. You may need to turn off the food processor and mix with a large spoon before turning on again, but it should blend easily. If it is too thick in some areas, add a few tablespoons of water.
Using roughly three tablespoons of batter, with your hand, mold into Ladyfinger cookie shape (long and thin is key) and place on the cookie sheet. Do this until there is no batter left. I found this is easier to do with damp hands. The batter is less sticky this way. Bake for 20 minutes or until they become slightly golden. I recommend placing them on the top level of the oven vs. the bottom level to avoid burning the bottom of the cookies. Remove from oven and allow them to cool. Note: Keep an eye on them in the oven, as they can burn easily if you are not careful given they are rather thin cookies. Their final color will be someone darker than traditional Ladyfingers. Once the cookies have completely cooled, enjoy them as is or use them to make tiramisu! These cookies will last up to five days stored in the fridge and 3-4 weeks stored in the freezer.
Coconut Cream Tiramisu
Tiramisu originated in Italy in the 1960s. I thought it was older than that, but we can simply be thankful that it is now in existence for our dessert enjoying pleasure! In fact, the word tiramisu in English translates to “pick me up”, “cheer me up,” “wake me up” or “lift me up.” Obviously, my version of tiramisu doesn’t contain any ingredients such as animal products or sugar found in most traditional recipes and I do believe it is one of my most delicious creations. Most accounts of the origin of tiramisu is in a restaurant called “Le Beccherie” in Treviso, Italy. A confectioner named Roberto Linguanotto, owner of the restaurant and his apprentice, Francesca Valori, whose maiden name was Tiramisu, are purportedly the inventors. I wish I could thank them myself! However, debate on this does persist. What we do know for sure is that tiramisu is almost always delicious. Very likely, my recipe is one of the few tiramisu recipes in the world that is actually good for you! You only have one life and one body, so if you are going to enjoy tiramisu, and you should, making this recipe helps your body to be healthy and prevents disease rather than contributes to it.
This is likely one of the few tiramisu recipes in the world that is actually good for you. You only have one life and one body, so if you are going to enjoy tiramisu, it should be one that is helps your body be healthy and prevents disease rather than contributes to it!
12-15 ladyfinger cookies will be used for this recipe.
Dipping sauce ingredients*:
1 cup freshly brewed coffee
2 tablespoons amaretto
*You can also use prepared nondairy mocha. I made this using soy mocha too and it was wonderful.
Coconut cream icing ingredients:
8 medjool dates, pitted and soaked for at least 2 hours in water
½ cup raw cashew butter or ½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
2 tablespoons ground coffee of choice (I used French dark roast)
2 tablespoons amaretto
1 teaspoon ground vanilla or vanilla extract
3 (15 oz.) cans coconut milk, refrigerated overnight and liquid removed
Melted dark chocolate
Organic fresh berries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 8×8 inch baking pan (or line with parchment paper). Set the greased pan aside. Use 12-15 Ladyfinger cookies and soak them one by one in the dipping sauce. Soak them for about 30 seconds ~ 1 minute each. Don’t worry, they will not crumble or become overly mushy
Place all of the coconut cream ingredients (except for the two cans of refrigerated coconut milk) in a food processor and process until the mixture becomes completely smooth. Pour these ingredients out of the food processor and into a medium-sized bowl.
Use the two cans of refrigerated coconut milk to prepare coconut whipped cream! Make sure the coconut milk has been refrigerated overnight and the liquid removed from the can. Chill a large mixing bowl for 10 minutes before whipping! Place the hardened coconut cream in your chilled mixing bowl and beat for 30 seconds with either an electric or manual hand mixer. If you use an electric hand mixer, this should take you less than 1 minute! It will take you slightly longer if you use a manual hand mixer but not much longer. Stir the rest of the cream layer ingredients into the bowl with the whipped cream.
To make the cake, use a glass baking dish and line it with parchment paper or tin foil. Prepare the bottom layer using half of the soaked ladyfinger cookies and add a nice layer of the whipped cream layer on top. Smooth down the whipped cream layer using a spatula or very large spoon. Place the remaining Ladyfingers on top, creating a second layer. For the top layer, add more of the coconut cream icing and then place the bars in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, garnish with your favorite toppings such as cacao powder, melted dark chocolate, shredded coconut and/or fresh berries, cut up into square slices and enjoy! The cake will last up to 4-5 days in the fridge and up to three weeks if stored in the freezer.