Tir-a-mi-su, the wonderful Italian dessert composed of heavenly layers of espresso-soaked savoiardi ladyfingers, cocoa, fluffy eggs, mascarpone cheese, whipped cream, sugar, and booze, often Baileys and/or rum. In short, you could say it’s a mouth-watering heart attack. But with this Durian Strawberry Tiramisu, I’ll show you how you can have your cake an eat it too. There is a prerequisite, however; you must first enjoy durians. Passed the test? Let’s move on.
I can think of no other fruit that boasts the same creamy texture as durians. Mix in a little milk and its thickness and richness is similar to that of cream. So why not use it as a substitute for mascarpone and cream? Of course there is the potent aromas (or pungency, depending on how you view durians), but fear not. The bitterness and slight alcoholic kick, especially in the mao shan wang (猫山王), XO or huang zhong wang (皇中王) durian varieties, actually does pair very well with the coffee and rum, and a very indulgent tiramisu. To cut through all the boozy and bitters notes from the durians and coffee, I thought the sweet and slightly tart strawberries would do the trick.
Instead of espresso-soaked ladyfingers, oatmeal cooked in coffee is used as the body. I used a blend of steel cut oats and oat flour. Oatmeal won’t give the traditional spongy texture of tiramisu, but in exchange, you get to delight in the contrast between the chewy oatmeal and ultra-creamy mousse-like durian.
Another crucial point that will make or break your tiramisu is the type of coffee the oatmeal is cooked in. In the original recipe by The Oatmeal Artist, coffee granules are added directly into the oatmeal as it cooks. However I decided to go one step further and brew the coffee with a moka pot, then cooked the oats in the espresso, along with milk and water. I believe this gives a stronger, more concentrated coffee flavour. Specifically, I used Hawaiian Kona coffee flavoured with macadamia, and it paired so well with all the other flavours. Not the mention the nutty fragrance!
Here is Tiramisu made healthy and vegan, but still bursting with a unique flavour. To my friends who don’t have access to durians, I’m sorry but until I improvise further, this will have to do. Otherwise, you could attempt The Oatmeal Artist’s version made with greek yogurt, which looks yummy too!
- 3 tablespoons steel cut oats
- 1 tablespoon oat flour (freshly ground from steel cut oats)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds
- 1/4 cup freshly brewed espresso
- 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon cacao powder, plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 scoop protein powder (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon chocolate extract (or vanilla, but I’m out of it!)
- 1/4 teaspoon rum essence
- 1/3 cup fresh durian puree
- 1 tablespoon chocolate sauce (I used melted Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter)
- 1-2 strawberries, sliced
- Ground cinnamon for dusting
- Cook steel cut oats and chia seeds in water until most of the water has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
- Pour in espresso and cook a further 10 minutes, until thickened again.
- Pour in milk and oat flour and cook a further 10 minutes, until thickened again.
- Add in cacao powder, protein powder (if using), chocolate and rum extracts. Give it a good mix, and turn off heat. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
- To make the tiramisu oatmeal parfait, layer alternately oatmeal and durian puree, then drizzle a bit of chocolate sauce. Halfway through, place the sliced strawberries against the glass and continue layering. The above recipe should give about three layers each of oatmeal and durian puree. The top layer should be durian puree.
- Dust with cacao and cinnamon.