This past week flew by so fast that on Friday afternoon, at about 4 pm – I actually realized that it was Friday…and that my weekend was about to start. It also went so fast that my menu planning was more last minute versus my usual planning that includes browsing pinterest, reviewing the post it note marked pages in my cookbooks and scouring the cabinets to inventory what I have on hand. The one thing I knew for sure – I was making this Tiramisu.
Now – I am notorious for finding elaborate recipes with steps on steps and requiring like a day and a half notice before making…and then rushing it last minute and still making it work. This one called out immediately, like hey – take note, you need a day ahead of time to prepare and you probably don’t want to screw that up. I read this and thought….challenge accepted. Could I actually prepare a recipe that needed prep work the day before? Would I remember to do all of the things I needed to? I mean, I can’t even remember to pick the kids up from school and that is something I do everyday Monday – Friday. Who am I kidding? But guess what – this time I was determined.
A couple of the steps that you will want to do the night before include – soaking nuts, soaking dates and refrigerating your cans of coconut milk. I managed to put not one, but two cans of coconut milk in the fridge the night before (yes, that’s right, I wasn’t taking any chances). I started soaking both the cashews and the walnuts very early that morning, and they worked out just fine. In fact, better than fine – they were perfect. This recipe also uses coffee and cacao. How could you go wrong?
The best part however, didn’t hit me until it was completed. Maple Syrup. Before adapting my vegan diet, I had the same maple syrup as many of us did as kids. Aunt Jemima, Ms. Butterworth, and most often the generic knockoff of either or. When I first shopped for pure maple syrup I initially had a little sticker shock. Bottles varied from $9 to $13 or more and it was such a big difference from that good old bottle of syrup for $1.99. In fact I put off purchasing my first bottle of pure maple syrup for more than a couple of weeks…somehow thinking that the ingredients of the cheap stuff would change. Guess what – they didn’t.
I paid $9 for a bottle of maple syrup and I cringed from the checkout until I placed the bottle in my fridge. I remember opening the bottle and sticking my finger in it to get a taste. What is so magical about this syrup that it could cost so much?
I tasted it. I thought about the taste of it. Suddenly, there I was – at Cumming’s Nature Center in Naple’s NY, back in 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th grade. Yes, that’s right. We studied syrup for four years straight, I think in part because our teachers enjoyed the field trip to Cumming’s Nature Center, where they tap maple trees and make good old syrup that isn’t bottled to be shaped like Aunt Ethel. Let’s just say that stuff is amazing.
So amazing in fact that I already threatened both of my children that if I caught them with waffles or pancakes swimming in this liquid gold that I would disown them. Ok – maybe not disown them, but something equally as threatening.
The second best part of this recipe has to be the vanilla cashew cream. When you can take a handful of cashews and create a rich, vanilla/maple/coffee cream that is so smooth and so decadent that you wonder how in the world it started with cashews…it is just nothing short of amazing.
While this recipe does take a couple steps of prework, it is worth every second spent. The texture is smooth, rich, and chocolatey. If you closed your eyes, you might think you were in a gourmet restaurant, with a specialty dessert and a warm cup of coffee. It was delicious as an after dinner dessert and it was delicious this afternoon for lunch as well. Don’t judge.