We had dinner with some very special friends on the weekend. Although we had decided to just have take-away for the main part, I couldn’t resist throwing together a little dessert experiment to try out on them. I wanted to keep it light & healthy-‘ish’ & needed to cover a few dietary preferences including being vegan friendly & of course, fussy child friendly.
When our friends come to visit, it is such a delight for the kidlets. They have adopted them as ‘Aunty’ & ‘Uncle’ & spend the whole time going out of their way to get their undivided attention! Seth has the biggest crush on his ‘Aunty’ Nat & gets so gushy & giggly when she arrives that it makes your heart melt. I cannot tell you how much it means to have such gorgeous people in our & our children’s lives. I think sometimes as a parent, particularly with small children, you can fall into a routine of isolation just trying to keep up, so having friends who are on your doorstep to break that routine is just so important to your sanity & survival! To have friends who so openly & genuinely love our children is just the icing on the cake, or in this case, pudding!
So after an evening of games, laughter & lots of ‘Lalaloopsy’, (a belated & now much loved birthday present for our Maisie), fun, I disappeared into the kitchen to finish off this little creation with hopes of everyone enjoying the result. Thankfully, they did & Seth even asked the next day if there was any left!
There are a lot of chia seed pudding recipes out there, just Google & you will see the list is long! So, while this recipe is not particularly unique, it is easy to make, can be made well ahead of time & makes a fantastic sweet fix for those avoiding too much sugar in their diet. Chia is a powerful little seed, packed with lots of nutrient goodness, makes a crunchy addition to salads & cereals, &, if you are not into eggs, makes a fantastic alternative to bind a recipe together. Just add water & watch as the chia turns to gel – it is quite impressive! You can also smooth the texture to make it mousse-like & thus perfect for pudding. Add a little cocoa, throw everything in a blender & not only do you have pudding, you have a healthy chocolate & chia pudding.
To top off this little wonder, I went with making a whipped coconut cream. Having never made this before, I was a little skeptical about it working, but, it really does come up light & fluffy. You just have to be sure & chill the can & your mixing bowl before you attempt this, or is will definitely not work. Given the pudding is not overly sweet, I felt the cream needed a little extra sweetness to compliment, so added some vanilla extract & coconut sugar. This was exactly what it needed & if you are not a huge fan of coconut flavour, adding these tempers that quite effectively. One thing to bear in mind here is, while coconut cream is an alternative to dairy cream, don’t see it as a ‘healthy’ swap. Coconut cream is high in saturated fat & like all products like these, needs to be eaten only in moderation. Also, if you are a dairy eater, then you could always substitute with whipped cream if you prefer.
As a garnish, I went with passion fruit. I love the tart sweetness of the pulp, the crunch of the seed & the aroma of a freshly cut passion fruit is just divine. We have some very healthy vines growing in our back yard & while they are yet to produce any fruit, with each season there are more flowers, meaning we will hopefully be able to pick these decadent little morsels from our garden before too long. When added to the chia pudding & whipped coconut cream, the acidic bite of the fruit cuts through the dense creaminess of the dessert & brings the whole dish together to make your taste buds sing with delight!
Here’s how I put this one together;
- 1 cup unsweetened rice milk - (or milk of your choice)
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 10 pitted dates or 5 - 6 pitted medjool dates
- 1 - 2 tablespoons maple syrup (to taste)
- WHIPPED COCONUT CREAM*
- 400 grams full fat coconut cream - chilled
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 - 3 fresh passion fruit to garnish
- Soak the dates in boiling water for about 30 minutes to soften.
- Place all the ingredients, milk, chia seeds, cocoa, dates & maple syrup, in a blender & blitz on high speed until smooth & glossy.
- Pour into serving dishes & refrigerate or freeze until set - (at least 2 hours).
- WHIPPED COCONUT CREAM
- Chill the coconut cream overnight before attempting to whip - it will not work if you don't.
- To keep everything cold, it is also important to chill the mixing bowl before whipping the cream - it will only need about 10 minutes in the freezer.
- Turn the can upside down & use a can opener to remove the base. The coconut cream will be a solid lump at the top of the can, with the water having separated at the bottom. By opening the can from the bottom, you can drain off any excess coconut water, which will prevent the cream from whipping.
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk the coconut cream on increasing speed until it fluffs up & thickens - (about 5 minutes).
- Add in the coconut sugar & vanilla extract & continue mixing until well combined & whipped**.
- * - if you don't like coconut cream, you can use dairy if you prefer.
- ** - the coconut cream will not whip with as much volume as dairy cream.
I hope you like this as much as we do!
What is the key to a good friendship for you? Are you like me & experiment with new recipes on unsuspecting visitors?
I love hearing from you, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment!