Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts by the “queen of vegan desserts”, Fran Costigan, offers recipes for chocolate cakes, brownies, truffles, puddings, ice creams, and more that will appeal to every chocoholic — vegan or otherwise. And while committed vegans already know it can be difficult to find truly indulgent desserts that accommodate their diets, this breakthrough book will delight them and unite everyone and anyone who madly, deeply and truly loves chocolate.
Cut the bread into roughly 1-inch / 2.5-cm chunks. Put the chunks into a large bowl and set aside until needed.
Drain the cashews and put them into a blender. Add the coconut milk, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend, starting on low and increasing the speed to high for 1 minute or until the liquid is perfectly smooth. (If you have a high-speed blender, this will take about 1 minute. If using a standard blender, blend the ingredients in 2 or 3 batches until perfectly smooth.)
Add the tapioca or cornstarch to the blender and blend for 1 minute. Pour the liquid into a 2-cup measure and add enough water or non-dairy milk to equal 1⅓ cups / 320 ml.
Pour the liquid over the bread and set aside to soak about 15 minutes, stirring gently with a silicone spatula a couple of times, until the bread is soft and has absorbed most of the liquid.
While the bread soaks, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375° F / 190° C. Oil the sides and bottom of an 8 x 8-inch / 20 x 20-cm baking pan.
Spoon the bread mixture into the prepared pan. Coarsely chop the banana and mix it into the soaked bread. Sprinkle the chocolate chunks over the top. Press some of the chocolate into the bread mixture.
Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Immediately reduce the heat to 350° F / 180° C. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly puffed and firm to the touch. Let cool slightly before serving.
Recipe reprinted by permission from 'Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts' by Fran Costigan. Photographs by Kate Lewis. Published by Running Press, A Member of the Perseus Books Group.
Serving: Serve warm or refrigerate until cold. Reheat in the oven.
Keeping: The bread pudding is best eaten the same day but may be refrigerated in a covered container overnight.
Variation: Bread Pudding Hearts After the pudding has baked and cooled, refrigerate it until firm. About 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, remove the pudding from the refrigerator and cut small heart-shaped portions, or one large heart to share. Place on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350° F / 180° C. Set the table while the pudding hearts heat in the oven back to melty, chocoaty goodness, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Fran Constigan’s bread pudding version included easy-to-digest sprouted bread and cashew cream, coconut milk, and starch to make a creamy custard and loads of healthy chocolate. The recipe is very easy to tackle. If you have never worked with sprouted bread before, it’s a little more dry and resilient than most breads so it doesn’t get as soggy. These qualities make it great for this bread pudding but also ideal for things like my favorite vegan chick’n salad. You might need to soak the bread for longer than 15 minutes in Step 4, depending on how dry your sprouted bread is.
For the sprouted bread, I used Trader Joe’s Soy & Flax sprouted bread. For the unsweetened full-fat coconut milk, I used a 13.5-ounce Natural Value Organic Coconut Milk. For the chocolate chunks, I only had Trader Joe’s the Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar , containing 85% cacao. The chocolate worked well for the pudding, but I only used less chocolate, about 2 ounces rather than 3 1/2 ounces.
Running Press has been so kind enough to host a giveaway for one copy of Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts to one of my amazing readers. This giveaway is open to US residents only and will run until Thursday, March 6th, 2014 at 12:59pm PST. Please use the box in the end of the post to enter the giveaway. Click here to enter the giveaway!