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Vegan Tiramisu and Cream of Broccoli Soup

August 20, 2010

I’m afraid that it is unlikely that I will be able to post anything next week, since G and I will be venturing into Cologne/Köln for a workshop, and I am uncertain about how reliable our internet access will be. With that in mind, I thought I would temporarily leave you with a couple more experiments.

1. Tiramisu. 

After looking at a recipe, I thought I would attempt making tiramisu. I was half successful. Eventually.

I tried using this recipe:

But, unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me. I really don’t know what happened, since it obviously worked well for the person who came up with it. The cake turned out extremely gummy, and the filling just didn’t taste quite right. So, I made a few changes. I added to the filling:

-1/2 C more powdered sugar


-vanilla extract

Instead of using the suggested cake recipe, I just whipped up Moskowitz’s vanilla cupcake batter and baked it in a cake pan. I also used Cointreau instead of coffee liqueur. (Apparently our landlord makes sure that our apartment comes stocked with Cointreau–I won’t complain.)

The cake turned out very well, and was much easier (although not easy) to slice length-wise. It did fall apart a little bit, but in the end it was just going to be covered with other things, so it wasn’t the end of the world.

Unfortunately, even after trying to save it, the creamy filling just wasn’t thick enough. I think I need to learn to trust my intuitions a little more because, as I was putting it together, I thought, “You know, I really don’t think this will thicken much as it sets in the fridge,” and I thought correctly. However, this problem would be easy to fix using some agar agar. Next time, I suppose. Here are the most “solid” pieces I could muster:

The good news is that the final product tasted absolutely fantastic. The salt, sugar, and vanilla added to the filling made it really tasty, and Isa’s cupcake batter soaked up the coffee and alcohol perfectly. So, the one thing I’ll do differently next time is add a bit of agar agar to the filling. Then I won’t be forced to serve it in champagne glasses.


After corresponding with Mihl (the author of the original recipe), I think I know what went wrong when I made it. First of all, the flour needed for the sponge cake should have a very low gluten content, whereas my “standard” French type 65 flour has a fairly high gluten content, which makes for gummy cakes. I need to look for type 45 flour next time. Second of all, it’s quite possible that I may not have used enough cashews (since I’m still getting used to converting from grams). So, don’t let my failed attempt keep you from trying Mihl’s recipe! Just make sure you have flour with the proper (low) gluten content, and that you have a trust-worthy way of figuring out how many cashews to use, given that the measurements are in grams–perhaps invest in a kitchen scale!

2. Cream of Broccoli Soup

On a more successful note, I managed to make a pretty delicious soup! As usual, I don’t have a real recipe to share, since I’m often both lazy and in a rush, but I have a basic idea of how to reproduce it. It involves:

Soft tofu

Nutritional Yeast




Tomato paste



1 head of broccoli, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

1 onion, chopped

About 5 cloves of garlic, chopped

water and a bouillon cube

You first blend together the tofu through the tamari so that you get an alfredo-type of sauce. (So, the base of the sauce is the tofu, and the rest of the ingredients add some subtle flavors–making these sorts of sauces is pretty fun, since none of the ingredients, other than the tofu, are individually necessary–although you need to have some subset of them–and different proportions of different ingredients will make for different sorts of interesting “cheese” sauces.)

You then cook the onion in a pot with a bit of oil until it starts to brown, add in the garlic and cook for a minute more, and then add the broccoli and zucchini. You fill the pot with water until the water is almost covering the vegetables, throw in and stir around a bouillon cube, and pop a lid on the pot–now you can cook it until the vegetables are blendable, which will probably be about 15 minutes.

Once the vegetables are blendable, I would take out and reserve about a cup  and a half of the water (using a ladle), and then blend the broccoli using a hand blender. Add in the tofu sauce and blend more, and if it’s too thick you can add some of the reserved water back in. Season with salt and pepper and you’re done! 

I served this with some croutons I made out of old, stale bread, and they actually turned out  to be really tasty. I cut the bread into cubes, melted some margarine in a pan,  let the bread cubes brown in the pan, and then sprinkled them with garlic salt.

We’ll be back in a week, hopefully with some stories about drinking Kolsch in Köln!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Bosch permalink
    August 28, 2010 9:28 pm

    Can’t wait for the weather to cool off a bit so I can try the soup!

  2. September 5, 2010 3:13 pm

    I am really sorry the tiramisu recipe didn’t work out for you. I also don’t know what went wrong there. Other people have tried the recipe and it worked really fine for them. The cake is usually very light and the filling is already thick before it is transferred to the fridge. Sorry it went so wrong.

    • September 5, 2010 3:36 pm

      No need to apologize! It tasted absolutely fantastic, and I will definitely make it again. I wonder if some of the ingredients you get here in France are different from those you might get elsewhere, or whether I improperly converted some of the ingredients. I know, for instance, that there are many different kinds of French flour (with different numbers associated with them) that can have very different effects–I thought that I got the French equivalent to what I think of as “all-purpose” flour, but I could be wrong. I also tried to figure out how many cashews would yield 200 grams (I don’t have a scale), and again it’s hard to be certain. It’s also possible that our soy yogurt is different from yours. Moving overseas sometimes requires learning how to cook and bake all over again!

      So, I’m sure that it’s something on my end of things–I may just need to find a way of altering the recipe to fit the kinds of ingredients that are around here.

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