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Is it tiramisu or ti-raw-misu?

I can still recall the first time I made tiramisu, I followed a recipe from Lorenza Di Medici ‘s “Italy the Beautiful Cook Book”. It was a labour of love separating the eggs and making the perfect zabligione. I had no masala so I used cognac as the recipe suggested. The cognac was not subtle and my dinner guests were concerned about driving home. I still used this recipe for years, with notably less liquor and it has always been popular. However, as the years have passed my growing interest in nutrition has dominated my kitchen as has my own dietary needs.

Lorenza Di Medici ‘s “Italy the Beautiful Cook Book”

I am a diagnosed Ceoliac. Many Ceoliacs also need to avoid dairy as lactose intolerance is often part of the condition. Even for those who are not avoiding gluten and dairy will feel better enjoying a small serve of my tiramisu after a meal than a rich creamy version.

I must admit that this version of the Italian classic is quite different to the one that my family expect. Once again I was met with resistance and disappointment. “Why can’t you make a proper tiramisu? Everything you make is so healthy, it’s so annoying!”.

For the record I do still make the traditional tiramisu for my family but I do like to mix things up. I enjoy the culinary challenge of removing refined sugar, gluten and dairy from a recipe. Following a strict gluten free diet, I am often looking for alternatives to many of the traditional Italian classics. I tried using the Schar savoiardi biscuits, they just didn’t work for me. To be honest I would rather do without, they taste too sweet and have the texture of cardboard. Experimenting with raw desserts and combining the key flavours of the classic tiramisu fulfils the indulgence without the refined sugar and that processed flavour that comes with many gluten free options.

As with all my desserts, portions are key, just because they are free of all the nasties doesn’t mean that you have an extra slice. This little wonder should make over 12 serves.


(Gluten free, dairy free, vegan)



  • 8 dates soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes

  • ½ cup of organic shredded coconut

  • ½ cup of raw or activated almonds

  • ½ cup of dry roasted or activated hazelnuts

  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil, melted

  • Pinch of sea salt


  • 2 cups of raw cashews soaked overnight or minimum of 4 hours

  • ½ cup of coconut cream

  • ¼ cup of extra virgin coconut oil

  • Shot of expresso coffee

  • ¼ cup of pure maple syrup

  • ¼ cup of raw cocoa, plus extra for dusting

  • 2 tablespoons of masala or Frangelico (optional)

  • Pinch of sea salt

Combine all the base ingredients into a food processor and blend until mixture is well combined.

Press mixture down on a cake tin and refrigerate while the filling is made.

To make the filling combine all remaining ingredients and process until very smooth. Depending on your food processor this can take a while.

Scrape down the sides and make sure it is evenly smooth.

Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours and dust with raw cocoa powder.

Cut into small pieces and enjoy.

For further information and consultation on your diet and nutrition make an appointment with Holy Mackerel Health today.

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