Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dare to Bake - Challenge #2

I would like to start out by apologizing for my tardiness, but I happened to have just returned from Vancouver, BC!!! I love the Olympic Games!

Anywho, this month on Daring Bakers, I was posed the challenge of creating a vegan tiramisu. Now, this is the dessert I most strongly regret not trying while in Italy. However, I pledged to make a concerted effort under my re-imposed dietary guidelines. Here goes my Vegan Pear Hazelnut Tiramisu:

Lady Fingers (Adapted from chocolate lady fingers in "Love, Eric")
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp baking soday
1/4 cup vegetable or nut oil
1/3 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup maple syrup, agave nectar, or brown sugar simple syrup (cooled!!!)
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1. Mix wet ingredients together with a whisk.
2. Sift in dry ingredients. Mix together with the whisk. It will be thick, but if must be spread add a tad more oil and milk.
3. Pipe batter into about 4-inch long fingers onto a baking pan (use parchment paper or a silpat).
4. Bake at 325F for 20-30 minutes until set. Cool and store in an air-tight container.

Notes: These were a lot denser than I had anticipated. They tasted really good, but weren't the light and fluffy cookies that they are supposed to be - if you have any tips for vegan lady fingers, I'd be glad to hear it.

Pastry Creme (Inspired by mascarpone recipe in "Nonna's Vegan Italiano" and tofu cream in "Love, Eric")
12 oz silken tofu (completely drained)
2/3 cup raw or toasted hazelnuts (depending on your flavor preference)
2 tbs lemon juice
1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar + 2 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs tapioca starch
1 tbs tahini
pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp hazelnut extract (if the nuts are untoasted)

1. This is super easy. Food process everything until smooth!

Pear Compote
2 ripe pears, any variety
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbs brandy

1. Bring water and pears to boil in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Simmer all the ingredients over low heat until pears are super soft. Continue to add water as it boils away. Mash/blend to smooth-ish.

Assembly

1. Take a glass casserole dish. Dip lady fingers in brandy (I used pear brandy, because it is more mild. Line bottom of dish with cookies (I had to cut them to fit).
2. Thinly slice another half of a pear and place around the edge of the bowl.
3. Spread a thick layer of the pastry creme. Spread a thin layer of the pear compote. Add another layer of spiked lady fingers. Repeat.
4. Refrigerate for at least a day. Garnish top with pear slices and crushed hazelnuts.

The results, tasty, but not tiramisu. As usual, the creme was too tofu-y. The flavors melded nicely, but I have to say I think I would prefer the classic, with a hint of chocolate! Still, fun challenge - and definitely a challenge! See the blogs below for the original, and far more complex, recipes.
The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Homeand Baking Obsession.

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