Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Pudding
In this contemporary rendition of bread pudding, cashew cream and coconut milk make the creamy custard and a healthy dose of chocolate provides the wow factor. I use protein-rich, easy-to-digest sprouted bread, but any bread you like will do. Serve the pudding warm right out of the baking dish, or make ahead and warm before serving. If you want to spice up brunch with Ms. or Mr. Sweetie, try the heart-shaped variation at the end. Recipe reprinted with permission from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts by Fran Costigan. © 2013 Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Photos by Kate Lewis.
Makes: 8 servings
- 6 slices sprouted wheat bread, or another bread
- 1/2 cup raw whole cashews, rinsed and soaked
in boiling water to cover for 1 hour
- 1/2 of a 13.5 to 14-ounce can unsweetened full-fat coconut milk,
well-stirred (do not use light)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (Grade B or dark amber) or agave syrup
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch or organic cornstarch
- 1 ripe medium-size banana
- 3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (any percentage), chopped into chunks
Cut the bread into roughly 1-inch 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 nondairy milk to equal 1 1/3 cups.
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. Oil the sides and bottom of an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
Spoon the bread mixture into the prepared pan. Coarsely chop the banana and mix 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. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly puffed and firm to the touch. Let cool slightly before serving.
Serve warm or refrigerate until cold. Reheat in the oven. The bread pudding is best eaten the same day but may be refrigerated in a covered container overnight.
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. Set the table while the pudding hearts heat in the oven back to melty, chocolaty goodness, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Enjoy more of VegKitchen’s Vegan Chocolate Desserts.