Summer Tiramisu {gluten-free, wheat-free}

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As I type these words, I am no longer a student. I have handed in my final project. That’s it, done forever. I seriously doubt this is a case of ‘never say never’ because believe me when I say I do not wish to be a university student ever again. Too expensive, and too exhausting. I’m proud and thrilled and excited, and I’m relieved that chapter of my life is behind me because now there are new and other exciting things to look forward to. Job applications, for one. (Note the dripping sarcasm.) (If anyone wants to hire a freelance proofreader/editor/copywriter, look no further. (Don’t make me beg, please.))
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In all seriousness though, what a year it’s been. It had the intensity of the three years of undergrad study I did, in terms both of joy and stress. Crazy human being that I am, I’d do it all over again. A million times over. I’ve met and worked with a bunch of fantastic human beings, had the opportunity to work at two amazing Scottish publishers (and a third one this autumn!), went to the London Book Fair, created a book dummy (like, a real, palpable, holdable little book that made, all by myself), visited a book printer and a book warehouse (so many books in one place ermahgerd), and also the cutest book shop in the entire world (located in a repurposed train station = dream home, I kid you not).
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What’s next? I’m going to climb Dumyat again, and gaze upon this magnificent little town that I have called home for the past year. Start writing fiction again. Do some Netflix marathons while I apply for countless jobs. Get ready to release my next two e-books in October (!!!). Cuddle my cat till he can’t suffer me anymore. Read all my favourite childhood books all over again. Sleep in, and go to bed early. Skype my dad, who’s hardly heard of me through the Dissertation blackout. Prepare for my summer job: working at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (!). And eat summer tiramisu for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.
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Vegan Summer Tiramisu (gluten-free, wheat-free)

  • Servings: makes 12 servings
  • Print

This recipe is indulgent yet relatively healthy (cookies are healthy, right?). It’s so light and summery that I like to eat it for breakfast sometimes. Lemon cookies pair well with Amaretto to create a perfect summer dessert that is guaranteed to please anyone, even the most veggie-skeptic among your friends. Feel free to use any summer fruits available to you: chopped peaches, currants, blackberries, nectarines… This tiramisu will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days (covered with cling film).

Cookie layer:
300g (10.5 oz) Dove’s Farm gluten-free lemon zest cookies
125ml (1/2 cup) light coconut milk
3 tbsp Amaretto liqueur

Fruit layer:
150g (1 cup) blueberries
150g (1 cup) raspberries
150g (1 cup) strawberries, chopped

Cashew cream layer:
300g (10.5 oz) cashews, soaked overnight
125ml (1/2 cup) water
60ml (1/4 cup) maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

Coconut whipped cream layer:
250ml (1 cup) coconut cream (scoop the fat out from a can of chilled, full-filled coconut milk)
4 tbsp icing (confectioner’s) sugar

Toppings:
cashew pieces
cacao and cinnamon

1. First, prepare the coconut whipped cream: simply whisk the ingredients together, adding the sugar a little at a time to prevent a sugar dust storm, and chill in the fridge while you get on with the rest of the recipe.

2. Now make the cookie layer: place 12 cookies at the bottom of a 21cm x 26cm (8.5 inches x 10 inches) rectangular dish, then crumble the remaining cookies into the crevices. Whisk the coconut milk and Amaretto together in a cup, and pour over the cookies, covering them evenly. Set aside to let the biscuits absorb the liquid.

3. For the fruit layer you just need to cover the biscuit layer with the fruits.

4. Next make the cashew cream layer: in a blender or food processor blend the ingredients to a creamy consistency. Use a tamper if you need to, or add a splash of liquid to help your machine. Pour over the fruit layer. Chill in the fridge for about an hour to set.

5. Spread the coconut whipped cream over the cashew cream layer. Dust with a bit of cinnamon and cacao and sprinkle some cashew pieces over the top. Chill for another 1-2 hours to set.

Now devour that thing.

What do you recommend I do with all my free time now? 🙂

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Love and cookies,
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Ice Cream Sandwiches: Espresso Biscuits With Pistachio Ice Cream {sugar-free}

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When I was little my sister and used to spend school holidays at my maternal grandmother’s bungalow in Wallonia. It took hours to drive there but it was worth the trip because she lived on the outskirts of a golf course; in the evenings we would simply walk across the garden, through a patch of forest, and out onto the green, where we played amongst the sprinklers’ water jets like they were fountains. It was a good childhood.
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The best part was hearing the jolly tune of the ice cream van as he drove into our street. Bonne-mamie was not the type to spoil us but she never denied us an ice cream. Hearing our accents when we spoke French like only Flemish people do, he asked us where we from. ‘Ursel!’ we cried out proudly. Of course he didn’t where that was; it’s a teensy village in Flanders. ‘Could you come and give us ice creams there?’ Oh the naivety of children.
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My favourite flavour was pistachio and espresso. Odd choices for a child; most would choose vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. I never knew why I liked them; I just did, and that was good enough for me. I still do, in fact.
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Ice Cream Sandwiches: Espresso Biscuits and Pistachio Ice Cream

  • Servings: makes 16 sandwiches with spare cookies
  • Print

For the espresso biscuits:

300g (1.5 packed cups) spelt flour
2 heaped tbsp powdered stevia
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g (1/2 cup) vegan butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
a strong cup of espresso (i.e. espresso cup-sized, not US measures cup-sized)

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cube the vegan butter and add it to the dry ingredients, rubbing them all together using the pads of your fingertips. The mixture should begin to resemble wet sand.

Add in the espresso and knead together with your hands. Tip onto a clean surface and work the dough into a smooth ball. Cover with cling film, put it back in the bowl and leave to chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Unwrap the dough and, using a rolling pin, roll it out quite thinly on a clean surface. It should be just under half a centimetre thick. Using a cookie cutter 6cm (2.5 inches) in diametre cut out as many shapes as you can and place them onto the lined sheets. Roll up the strands of dough into a smooth ball, flatten again, and start over the process. Do this until there is no dough left; you should have about 30 biscuits.

Bake 13-15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown and crisp up. Cool on a wire rack; meanwhile, prepare the ice cream.

For the pistachio ice cream:

Double the recipe to cover all the biscuits. This makes enough to assemble 8 ice cream sandwiches, leaving you with 14 biscuits, which I like to nibble on as I have tea. 

200g (7 oz) shelled pistachios
250ml (1 cup) coconut cream, chilled
1 tbsp powdered stevia

Pulse the pistachios to a fine powder in a high-speed blender. Add the coconut cream and stevia and blend until smooth.

Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze for about an hour.

To assemble:

Freeze the biscuits for about 20 minutes before spreading ice cream onto them. To make 8 ice cream sandwiches you will need 16 biscuits and a generous tablespoon of freshly made pistachio ice cream.

If you left the ice cream in the freezer for longer than an hour, you may need to thaw it for half an hour before scooping onto your sandwiches. Use a spoon or ice cream scoop dipped in hot water if you have trouble cutting through the ice cream.

What was your favourite ice cream flavour as a child? Has it changed?

Love and cookies,
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