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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Pudding with Coconut Whipped Cream

I have a funny thing I like to do. When I am planning vegan cooking classes I like to give them a theme (Vegan Valentines,  Thai Vegan, Summer Vegan, etc) and next month’s class is a St. Patrick’s Day themed vegan cooking class.
My go to dessert for St. Patrick’s day is this super rich chocolate pudding. Normally I would make it with Bailey’s Irish Cream to up the Irish factor, but it’s not vegan (although there are a few online recipes to make a vegan Bailey’s Irish Cream).
Yesterday spent the day toying with recipes, to convert my chocolate pudding into a vegan recipe. Here is what I found
1)    Please don’t use the recipes on the internet that call for “egg replacer” and “cocoa powder” – they are awful!
2)    Semi-sweet baking chocolate has no dairy and makes a super-rich pudding
3)    Adding egg replacer to my recipe (1 tbsp) makes the pudding super thick (like Jello instant pudding thick), not my favorite to sit down to a bowl of in front of the TV...but would be amazing in a “pudding pie” recipe.
Here is the recipe that I liked best, it taste like thick rich chocolate. You will love it And I topped it with a little Coconut Whipped Cream.

Vegan Chocolate Pudding
Serves 4 to 6
4 oz             Semi-sweet baking chocolate, broken into small pieces
¼ cup          Coconut cream
¼ cup          Agave nectar
2 tbsp          Corn starch
1 cup          Almond milk
2 cups         Coconut milk*
2 tsp           Vanilla
¼ tsp          Instant espresso powder
 Coconut whipped cream for garnish (optional) 
In a double boiler**, over medium low heat, combine semi-sweet chocolate, coconut cream and agave nectar. Melt over barely simmering water, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat while a couple of pieces are still visible.
Whisk together corn starch, almond milk, coconut milk, vanilla and espresso; dissolve cornstarch completely.
Pour almond milk mixture into a sauce pot and heat over medium low heat. Whisk and scrape with a rubber spatula, constantly. If you don't keep on stirring, the mixture will turn clumpy, but you want it to be smooth and creamy.
Once it is thick, turn off heat and add melted chocolate. Pour into serving bowls or cups and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour, but best if done a day ahead. 
Garnish with coconut whipped cream, and enjoy!

*I recommend Golden Star Coconut Milk
** To heat the liquid for your double boiler- start by placing a small amount of water (making sure that the water does not touch the bowl that will be inserted later) into a sauce pan.Bring water to a boil over high heat.Turn off heat and insert a bowl just small enough to rest inside of the pot. 
Vanilla Coconut “Whipped Cream”
Makes1 ½ cups
1 cup                    Coconut milk, COLD (golden star)
½  tsp                   Vanilla extract
½                          Vanilla Bean seeds, split down the length and seeds removed
2 tsp                     Agave nectar or sugar (optional)
½  tsp                   Agar agar
½ cup                   Coconut milk
2 tbsp                   Coconut milk
Using a hand mixer, whip 1 cup coconut milk, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds and agave nectar; whip at high speed for a minute or two until it becomes fluffy and whipped cream-like.
Cover and refrigerate.
In a sauce pot combine agar agar and ¼ cup coconut milk. Cook over medium heat to dissolve agar agar (or until the majority of flakes dissolve), about 7 minutes .
Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons coconut milk.
Strain coconut milk with agar agar into whipped coconut milk. With a hand mixer, whip together agar agar and coconut milk with the already whipped coconut milk; till light and fluffy. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (best if done the day before).

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