Tiramisu is a gorgeous decadent Italian dessert. I can’t say that this raw tiramisu tastes exactly like the original version, but it’s delicious nonetheless. Sweet, yet a little bitter. Soft, yet a little crispy. Served cold, yet warmed with satisfaction.
I have always loved the aroma of freshly brewed coffee – rich, full, and luxuriant. Coffee smells like chocolate tastes. Unfortunately for me the taste of coffee has none of the depth, the subtleties, or the scope that the smell has. I only taste one flavor. Bitter.
It’s not that I’ve only tried ‘cheap’ coffee. I’ve had really good coffee. I’ve had light roast, medium roast, dark roast. Fine ground, coarse ground. I’ve had instant coffee, coffee machine coffee, k-cup coffee, percolator coffee, espresso, mocha, latte, cappuccino … you name it. Until recently, I also avoided coffee-flavored anything because I always thought that coffee-flavored desserts would taste, well, like coffee. Bitter.
That was before I had a bite of raw tiramisu at our local raw food restaurant and got hooked. The coffee flavor was rich without being overwhelming. Its bitter edge elevated the tiramisu from one-dimensional sweetness to refined sophistication. The delicate layer of sweet vanilla cream was contrasted with the darkly robust presence of espresso and sharpness of cacao powder. And the combination of coffee and high-quality chocolate was just incredible.
Tips for Making Raw Tiramisu
CREDIT: The raw tiramisu recipe has been inspired by Raw Tiramisu from Unconventional Baker.
There are so many ways you can add coffee to desserts.
- Whole beans pack the most flavor since coffee loses its flavor and aroma exponentially after being ground. For the most intense coffee flavor, I recommend roasting the coffee beans in the oven first (to encourage their flavorful oils to emerge) and then grind them in a coffee grinder right before use.
- Instant coffee and instant espresso add flavor quickly. Since I don’t drink coffee, I always keep a jar of this instant espresso powder in the fridge for making coffee-infused desserts, like this raw tiramisu.
- Brewed coffee works best when you don’t want an overpowering coffee flavor (because brewed coffee as the only coffee flavoring in a recipe doesn’t pack enough coffee flavor). To get the most flavor out of brewed coffee, I recommend using espresso because it has a strong, dark flavor.
The great thing about coffee is that it pairs well with many dessert flavors. Coffee and cacao, for instance, is a very common pairing. In fact, coffee-chocolate combination has its own name – mocha. Cinnamon is also delicious with coffee; cappuccino often comes sprinkled with it. I also like to pair coffee and caramel-y Medjool dates because they’re both strong flavors that play well off each other.
Besides these traditional coffee combinations, a few others stand out. Rich nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, or cashews round out the sharply intense flavor of coffee. The coffee flavor is less pronounced, but the addition of nuts creates a new and delicious flavor altogether. Adding vanilla to coffee desserts produces a similar result.
One of the things I love about this raw tiramisu is how sophisticated it looks with all those layers. Yet, it’s so simple to make. All you need is a food processor. (I used a blender for the vanilla cream layer, but you can make it in a food processor as well). Here are just a few quick tips for making this raw tiramisu incredible.
First things first, I highly recommend soaking the nuts overnight (or for at least 4 hours) for both the chocolate mousse and the vanilla cream. When the nuts are re-hydrated and plumped up, they blend into a beautiful smooth, cheesecake-like consistency. I’ve tried blending unsoaked nuts into creams and was never able to achieve completely smooth consistency even when I was blending the nuts in my Vitamix. So soaking the nuts is key.
Another tip I have is to use a small springform pan. I usually go with a 6-inch pan. This raw tiramisu is so rich and filling that you really don’t need much of it to feel satisfied. Of course, the ingredients for raw desserts aren’t the cheapest either. So, a smaller cake is a win-win. I now actually use a 6-inch springform pan for most raw cakes, including cheesecake and carrot cake.
Finally, make sure you freeze the chocolate mousse before adding the vanilla cream. If you don’t, the chocolate mousse will mix with the vanilla cream and you won’t get the pretty layer effect. To even out the layers, I always use a spatula AND I also tap the springform gently on the counter. Tapping the springform not only evens the layers out, but it also helps to get rid of any air bubbles that might have formed when blending the ingredients.
Now that you know all my tips and tricks for making flawless raw tiramisu, you can dive into the recipe.
Tools You’ll Need
1. Food Processor (Breville Sous Chef) | 2. Blender (Vitamix Pro 750) | 3. Spring-Loaded Pan (6 Inches. Wilton, Coated Steel) | 4. Measuring Cup (4 Cups, Pyrex, Glass) | 5. Mesh Strainers (Set of 3, Cuisinart, Stainless Steel) | 6. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Bellemain, Stainless Steel) | 7. Offset Spatula (Wilton, Stainless Steel) | 8. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel)
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