hot hawaii and cold desserts

Though Hawaii is a nearly tropical climate, there are still distinct seasons, and summer is most definitely here. Though it took longer than necessary to arrive, not warming appreciably until early may, it is here in full swing and now the water is warmer, the days are sunny clear and hot; or the vog blows in from the big island and makes the days hazy and still.  Either way, it is HOT, and I have been craving cold desserts. I am also kind of overloaded on flour-based goodies, since I am always experimenting with cupcakes and breads, as well as working at a French bakery with rustic breads and decadent pastries.

I am also trying to do more wheat-free, soy-free desserts. Both recipes call for soymilk, but I substituted hazelnut milk and coconut in the nutty vanilla pudding, and used half soy, half hazelnut for the second, from vegan with a vengeance (VwaV).  Though I generally love anything Isa writes or creates, the chocolate pudding was not exactly what I wanted, though my boyfriend and friend courtney really liked it. It reminded me of handi-snacks, the little pudding cups from school lunch boxes; there is definitely some nostalgic love for this pudding, but I really prefer the nutty vanilla pudding. Both could be adapted for chocolate or other flavors with some simple additions/substitutions.

My next project is the mocha hazelnut mousse from vegan cupcakes take over the world.

nutty vanilla pudding

1 cup hazelnut milk (or use almond, soy, oatmeal)
1 cup coconut milk
5 tablespoons organic cornstarch
½ cup sucanat (or sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla-bean paste*

combine all ingredients in a saucepan and whisk smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens, about 10 minutes. Chill for at least an hour. This pudding will keep for about four days in the fridge.

*Vanilla bean paste is cool because it gives pudding or frostings a pretty little speckling of vanilla beans seeds; it also has no alcohol and is very thick, so I think it is best for things that need to be thickened, like pudding or frosting. It is a bit more expensive than extract, but it is totally worth it.  It can be used 1:1 in recipes calling for vanilla extract.

chocolate pudding (from VwaV)

2 cups soymilk
3 tablespoons arrowroot
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract (or more vanilla)

whisk soymilk and arrowroot in a saucepan until smooth and dissolved. Add sugar and cocoa powder and place over medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens, about seven minutes. Once it starts to bubble and is quite thick, turn the heat off. Mix in the extract(s) and then ladle into small bowls. Put the bowls in the fridge for at least an hour; if keeping overnight be sure to cover the pudding so a skin doesn’t form on the top.

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