A Gluten-Free Holiday Progressive Dinner: Cherry Tiramisu for Dessert–and GIVEAWAY!

Cherry Tiramisu from Diet, Dessert and Dogs

Hi Everyone! Welcome to the last course of our gluten-free progressive holiday dinner party! So far, we’ve enjoyed Figgy Cocoa Wedges (an edible gift),Β  Four-Ingredient Simple Holiday Appetizers, Garlic Roasted Mushrooms with Herbs (side dish) and a gorgeous Veggie Pot Pie (main dish)! Now, I hope you’re not too full to eat some dessert (never been a problem for me. . . ). πŸ˜€

And don’t forget about today’s giveaway–see bottom of post for details and to enter!


I wanted to create something really spectacular that would “wow” your guests while still providing healthy, whole-foods ingredients in a gluten-free, sugar-free and vegan (of course) recipe. I’ve always been a fan of tiramisu, but on the anti-candida diet, I can’t have coffee, alcohol or sugar, all of which figure prominently in the classic recipe.

After searching high and low for frozen cherries a few months ago, I went a little wild and bought two 2-kilo (4.4 pound) bags. With lots of leftover cherries screaming out for use, I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate them in this recipe.Β  But how? Then I remembered a frequent interaction I have with the HH.Β  Whenever I offer him a brownie or cookies for dessert, his response is always an indignant, “That’s not a real dessert. A real dessert is light and creamy.”


Thank you, HH, for hitting on the “light and creamy” motif.Β  To me, a classic light, creamy dessert is tiramisu.

Cherry Tiramisu from Diet, Dessert and Dogs

Obviously, this dish isn’t “authentic” in that there is no such thing as fruit flavored tiramisu according to classic pastry chefs. However, just like the traditional dessert, this one features liquid-soaked, golden cake with a layer of rich, silky smooth “mascarpone” between the layers. I’ve also added soft, juicy black cherries as part of the decadence, and pomegranate arils for garnish (I’m on a pomegranate kick lately, obviously, but you can use cranberries, cherries, or more cream–whatever strikes your fancy).

This really does taste over-the-top good, the kind of dessert that anyone, gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free or not–will love. In this case, the HH happily accepted a big slice after dinner the other night. . . and then another.Β  I guess this one passes the “real dessert” test with flying colors!

Cherry Tiramisu from Diet, Dessert and Dogs

And now. . . this week’s holiday GIVEAWAY!Β 


You can win a package of ALL THREE of my ebooks (suitable for low glycemic, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, and anti-candida diets) by entering here! For more details about the ebooks (Desserts without Compromise, pictured above, plus two others) see this page.

This contest is open worldwide.Β  There are several ways to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post telling me which recipe you’d love to see made over as vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free.
  • Subscribe to DDD via RSS or email, here.
  • Follow me on twitter.
  • “Like” DDD on Facebook.
  • Follow me on Pinterest.

For each entry, be sure to let me know in the comments! The contest will close at 11:59 PM on Friday, December 21st.

Good Luck, Everyone–and Happy Holidays! (Oh, and be sure to come back Monday for another cool giveaway–open worldwide!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Never miss a recipe–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to RickiHeller.com via email. You’ll get recipes as soon as they’re posted, plus cookbook updates and news about upcoming events! (β€œWe love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”

Last Year at this Time: Black-Bottom Almond Mousse Pie with Chocolate Ganache (gluten free; ACD Stage 3 and beyond)

Two Years Ago: Rich and Creamy Chai Carob Latte (gluten free; ACD all stages)

Three Years Ago: Brazil Nut-Cilantro Pesto (gluten free; ACD all stages)

Four Years Ago:Β  “My Life in Balance” Buttery Spread (gluten free; ACD maintenance)

Five Years Ago: Spelt Pizza with Caramelized Onion, Artichokes and Chard (not gluten free; ACD maintenance)

Β© Ricki Heller

[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]



  1. My mom makes these amazing strudel cookies… A cream cheese laced pastry that’s rolled up with a sweet walnut mixture, partially sliced through, and baked…. Then you pull them apart to serve. They are divine! If you could make those over… Yum!

  2. You are amazing Ricki! This dessert looks incredible – I knew you’d wow us. I think I might just make the mascarpone for the sake of eating just that! Yum!

  3. What a stunner, Ricki!! I’m with the HH. Light and creamy does it for me every time. πŸ™‚

  4. This recipe looks amazing πŸ™‚

    Cannot wait to make it.

    The recipe that I’d like to see remade is SZARLOTKA. It is a Polish apple cake…and it is BEYOND amazing.

    <3 Merry Christmas!

  5. I am from Brazil, and Christmas there is during the summertime, so my favorite holiday dessert has always been fruits, and ice cream! I know, sounds completely odd, but when I think about Christmas desserts that’s what comes to mind: the beautiful tray filled with a variety of fruits (mangoes, kiwi, plums, etc) that my grandma (and now my mom!) always had on the table for the Christmas Eve Dinner. Then there would always be ice cream for those who wanted something more decadent.
    Now that I live in the US we always have something with chocolate, which is both my son’s and mine favorite dessert of all!

  6. I’m with Ricki on this one…I love ALL kinds of desserts (light and fluffy, gooey, fudgy, cake, cookies). Wow its only 10am and now I need to bake something! lol This recipe looks amazing! I will just have to make 2. One as is, and one with some cocoa powder in the cake part. Yum! Choc and Cherries…Now I DO have to go bake! Thanks for the awesome recipe.

  7. Thyroid Journey says

    I am recently new towards food choices. I try to heal my thyroid. Learned a lot the last months. One thing I really miss at the moment are quiches, would love to learn how to make them without gluten, dairy and egg products.


  8. Alfajores! Oh how I miss things with dulce de leche, and soft cornflour cookies covered in chocolate.
    Though all of your recipes are great and there are soooo many, you probably have something similar I just have to make time to make them πŸ™‚

  9. This looks divine! My favorite holiday dessert would have to be…either anything loaded with chocolate, or Russian Teacakes!

  10. Something I would looove to see made over would be classic chocolate chip cookies! It is so hard to find a sugar free, gluten free, vegan chocolate chip cookie that tastes like an authentic chocolate chip cookie!!

  11. how amazingly delicious!! i am going to have to try this, love cherries and anything made with coconut cream πŸ™‚

  12. Well then I guess the HH wouldn’t take a slice of decadent cheesecake or flourless chocolate cake? Not light and creamy but still dessert to me! I don’t discriminate though. I’d love a slice of this too πŸ™‚

  13. This looks absolutely divine and delicious!! Amazing presentation!
    I just pinned it to my Allergy Friendly Christmas board. I too have been missing tiramisu with the allergy restrictions. Yours looks so good, I wish I could have a piece of it right now!

  14. Yikes! Wow, this is amazing and impressive Ricki! Can you believe I’ve never had tiramisu?

  15. Looks lovely! I think it would be great to remake shortbread… sounds almost impossible!

  16. Anything pumpkin is always a treat. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  17. Wow–above and beyond, Ricki. That is amazing!


  18. I love chocolate checkerboard cookies! Thanks for the giveaway! πŸ™‚

  19. I really miss chocolate chip cookies and frosted sugar cookies. It’s a difficult time of year eating-wise. Thank you for the give away and all your great recipes!

  20. I must admit that, even before I found out I was lactose intolerant, I was never a fan of creamy desserts, but this does look so pretty! And very, very festive for me, coming from the hemisphere where cherries are in season at Christmas time, and ‘most every Christmas table will have a bowl of cherries out with the pudding πŸ™‚

  21. Hi Ricki!Gorgeous dessert!!! I already subscribe and like and follow you on FB, Twitter, Pinterest! The recipe I would like to see is for chocolate profiteroles, it was always a great favourite of mine which, even before we went GF was a great treat, to be able to make these GF, vegan and sugar free would be wonderful!

    Thank you for the opportunity to win, hope you have a lovely weekend πŸ™‚

  22. Billie Jean says

    Cherry Pie:)

  23. I am always looking for recipes for simple sauces and dressings, both sweet and savory. Thanks!

  24. This recipe rocks!! One dessert I woud love to see made ACD friendly is our good old fashioned New Zealand Pavlova. Considering it’s mostly sugar, I’ve been stuck on that one. πŸ˜€

    • Jessica, I think the egg white (meringue) aspect would be harder to reproduce than replacing the sugar! πŸ˜‰ But I will look into it–loved pavlova, too. πŸ™‚

  25. This tiramisu recipe looks wonderful! I don’t like regular versions but add in cherries and I am sold.

    One of the things I occasionally miss with vegan eating are ‘fluffy’ desserts – lemon meringue pie, fluffy mousse, those sorts of things. So a fluffy dessert would be one recipe I’d love to see made over πŸ™‚

  26. I’ve “Liked” you on Facebook! I would love to win these books, all your recipes are brilliant.

  27. I would love to see a remake of Baklava to a gf option. Thanks!

  28. Wow, these Cherry Tiramisu bars look almost too nice to eat! They really are picturesque. ~Aubree Davis

  29. My grandmother used to make Date Nut Pinwheel Cookies that were SO good but filled with sugar. I would love to be able to eat these again!

  30. Oh wow, what a stunning dessert! This would be awe-inspiring at any event. Plus, the make-ahead aspect makes it absolutely perfect for holiday dinners.

  31. Pecan pie!

  32. This looks amazing! I would love too see you make over a chocolate cream pie.

  33. Ooh, Mr. Rafflecopter, pick me! That is a fancy-pants Tiramisu! I am a cherry hater, unfortunately, but I’m sure strawberries would be a very suitable stand-in. Cherries always look so beautiful. Why can’t my taste buds like them? πŸ™

    My favorite Holiday dessert? Oh my. How do I choose one? I do make a batch of Fastelavnsboller (almond paste filled yeast buns) the first snowy day of the season every year. Does that count if it’s my own pretend holiday that I call “Flakemas”? πŸ™‚

  34. Well, this looks like the perfect “impress everyone” dessert to me, partly because it WILL impress everyone, and partly because it can be made way ahead of time. It’s very stressful trying to make a dinner and great dessert all at once.

  35. This tiramisu looks fantastic!

    I have a great vegan pizzelle recipe, but it is by no means sugar-free or gluten-free. The pizzelle maker always comes out at Christmastime in my family, and I’d love to have a recipe that conforms to my dietary needs/choices!

  36. Mini Cheesecakes with cherries on top πŸ™‚

  37. I’m not quite sure what I’d like to convert, yet.
    I’ve volunteered to help a family in the church to find recipes that their son can eat that are gluten free.

    He was recently diagnosed with autism, and they were told that it would be good to convert to GF. However, they’re getting no support from local nutritionists.

    Additionally, he’s a “texture” problem. There are some things that he won’t deal with, just because of the texture, and you never know until you try, often.

  38. My favorite dessert is Blueberry Pie. πŸ™‚

  39. would love a vegan coconut lemon cake with a very light coconut lemon icing.

  40. I don’t like tiramisu but if you had invented it then I would love it – what a great remake of a traditional recipe – cherries are in season here and I’d love to make something with them but they always disappear so quickly

  41. My favorite holiday dessert is spiced apple cake! Yum!

  42. I love cinnamon rolls! But I love many other desserts too…

  43. Oh my gosh this dessert looks sooo good! Thank you Ricki for sharing the recipe. I would love to give it a try. I’ve got most of the ingredients… just need to get some stevia (which our supermarkets here in the UK have just started to stock πŸ™‚ )
    I would love to win some of your wonderful ebooks πŸ™‚ One of the desserts that I’ve love to have veganised and made sugar free is fruit pavlova. This used to be one of my favourite desserts as a child. I’m not sure how we would go about making vegan meringue. Have you tried this before?

  44. My favourite dessert is cake, either Pound Cake (Lemon) or Angel Food Cake. But for Christmas we make Tembleque (Coconut Pudding, cornstarch based), Arroz con Leche (or Arroz Con Dulce, a coconut milk rice pudding) but my favourite is Majarete (coconut pudding, but this time made with rice flour).

  45. Would I be able to just grind up rice grains to make flour?
    Also, would agar powder work in place of the xanthan gum?

    • Cristina, I know it’s possible to make rice flour at home, but from what I understand, you’d need a grain mill because it’s so hard it would probably break your blender or coffee grinder. I don’t know about the agar because I’ve never used it for this purpose–if you know you can usually replace xanthan with agar, then it’s worth a try. Let me know how it turns out if you give it a try!

  46. Great recipe going to try it this Christmas

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