Pudding Serves: 4
Prep: 30 mins
Chilling Time: 20-180 mins (*Depending on how cold you like your pudding!)
‘Caramel’ Serves: a minimum of 12 (2 tsp/serving based on 12 servings)
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, small pot, food processor, silicone spatula, resealable container(s) and/or serving dishes
Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamins E, carbohydrates, protein, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, is low in salt and (per serving) has a moderate amount of sugars and fats!
There is something nostalgic about eating pudding…or maybe not?! I did grow up in North America after all, so it does explain some (but not all!) of my food choices. #recoveringpeanutbutteraddict #exkoolaidkid #cheddarisntreallyorange #whatdidijusteat !!!
We made this recipe last week because sometimes we all just crave something ‘sweet’, but it’s just about being responsible. Moderation and fibre are key, but so is informing yourself regarding food labels, portion sizes, healthy foods and enabling yourself to follow a healthy lifestyle (more days than none)… such as avoiding excessive amounts of ‘free sugars’* and kick starting a realistic exercise regime. Click here for some other ideas and healthy eating advice.
Luckily I kicked the ‘what’s for dessert’ phase a while ago! In about a week’s time I will have resided in the UK for sixteen years; mostly spent in London.This cultural journey has contributed to my ever-changing palate/sweet tooth, as did being exposed to various ailments, experimenting with loads of foods and recipes and of course pursuing a degree in human nutrition.
Anyways, switching this conversation back to the recipe….
This pudding goes down all too well, so I’m really glad that we only made a small portion! Unlike ‘old school instant puddings’, there is no ‘chill/setting’ time; you can eat this pudding faster than you can say “asafoetida”! Personally we prefer this type of dessert cold; we refrigerated ours for three hours before serving, but you could also try popping it in the fridge or freezer for 30 mins instead.
The elements are fab! The avocado and peanut butter give this pudding a great texture (without having to add dairy products, emulsifiers, gelling agents or oils) and more importantly for me- integrity. The problem with some plant-based desserts is that the texture is questionable and they can fall apart all too easily… which is why some recipes love using coconut oil or vegetable-based shortenings (were not a big fan of either).
The ‘caramel’ topping makes eight heaped tablespoons, so you have plenty for the foreseeable future (next time we won’t be making so much)! Just stir a little into your pudding once its cooled or just before serving- it’s delicious and very rich! We added one heaped teaspoon/each into our desserts. It’s currently in our fridge and I am hoping it keeps for 2-3 wks (minimum) but we’ll let you know how we get on! Oh, if you want a thinner consistency, add add more water when you purée the dates.
We hope that you enjoy this gem as much as we did (in moderation of course)!
C’mon, were not going to give you a dessert recipe like this without a disclaimer- it’s all about helping you to make informed choices about your health!!
A few months ago The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) released a report in the UK on Carbohydrates where they gave new recommendations in line with WHO that ‘free sugar’ intake should account for no more than 5% of daily energy intake.
The SACN official definition of ‘free sugars’ stated that:
‘Free sugars’ comprises all monosaccharides* and disaccharides* added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices. Under this definition lactose (the sugar in milk) when naturally present in milk and milk products and the sugars contained within the cellular structure of foods (particularly fruits and vegetables) are excluded.
*Monosaccharides are single sugar units (glucose and fructose) and disaccharides are two single units joined together ( sucrose).
…But we’re sure most of you’re wondering what does 5 % of ‘free sugars’ actually mean?
…So how does your ‘free sugar’ intake currently weigh up??
If you have a sweet tooth and/or eat a lot of processed or packaged foods (e.g. fruit drinks, soups and cereals), it can quickly add up!
‘Free sugars’ can be added into our foods by manufacturers and unfortunately at the moment, the UK’s food labels do not account for ‘free sugars’ (just total sugars), making it hard for anyone to distinguish between the ‘natural occurring sugars’ from those that have been added.
Free sugars include but are not limited to: unsweetened fruit juice, coconut or table sugars, hydrolysed starch, molasses or treacle, honey, or any sort of syrup that contains sugar in its food label, e.g. agave syrup/nectar, corn syrup, rice malt syrup, natural date syrup, maple syrup etc. Sugars naturally occurring in fruit, vegetables, grains, cereals or dairy products (lactose!) do not count.
…Until things change some things you could try include:
- Familiarising yourself with the ‘names of sugar’ and limiting them on a daily basis, e.g. sucrose, maltose, glucose syrup etc.
***Check out one of our previous sugar posts for info on names of ‘sugars’ found in everyday foods.
- Looking at food labels more frequently. Remember that ingredients are listed in order of quantity, e.g. having sugar listed as the first, second or third ingredient in a list of ten ingredients shows that it will make a bigger proportion of the food item in question.
- Comparing similar food products for sugar info. Your favourite brand might not all of the information you are looking for, but a similar product might give a full nutritional breakdown; you can use this for an educated guess.
- Cooking from scratch. Homemade meals always taste better and this will allow yourself to have full control over what goes into them; no one really wants or needs 10g of sugar and 2.7g of salt /serving in their pasta sauce!
- Swapping sugary drinks (including juices) for plain water, particularly if you drink a lot of them. NB: Some tins of soda can contain at much as 52 grams of sugar!
- Opt for whole fruits instead of fruit juices/smoothies; that way our bodies benefit from its fibre and the fruit sugars are absorbed more slowly into our bodies.
That’s enough talking for now… on with the recipe!
1. Destone the dates. Place them into a small pot with 200ml of cold water. Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat. Allow them to soak for 20 mins.
2. In the meantime, chop the avocado into two halves; peel and destone. Place 12g cacao powder, the avocado, 50g peanut butter, 16g agave syrup,1.5 tsp of vanilla paste and 170ml almond milk into a food processor. Pulse until smooth, creamy and thoroughly combined. Tip: Use a spatula to scrape the pudding off the sides of the food processor back into the base as you go.
3. Transfer the mixture into a resealable and air tight container (or some ramekins/small serving dishes) and refrigerate it in the coldest part of your fridge for about 3 hrs or until you’re ready to partake in an ultimate dairy free chocolate experience!
4. Meanwhile, add a pinch of cinnamon and sea salt and 1/4 tsp vanilla paste into the pot with the date mixture. Blend with a stick blender until smooth and creamy. If you do not have a stick blender, quickly wash your food processor and transfer the date mixture into it. Add the cinnamon, sea salt and vanilla paste. Blend until smooth; adding extra water if a thinner consistency is preferred. Transfer the ‘caramel’ into a clean, air tight and resealable container. Keep refrigerated until you serve the pudding.
5. Serve the pudding in a small dish. Add and stir through a little of the ‘caramel’. Top with some fresh/whole fruits (banana or berries would work well), nuts or a dollop of plain/unsweetened almond-based yoghurt!
- Try using almond or hazelnut butter instead of PB (it will help to reduce the s/fat content)!
- It would also be fun to experiment with fruits or maybe even cooked vegetables (instead of nuts!); try adding banana, strawberries, or some purred sweet potato or pumpkin into the pudding mixture for a unique flavour experience!
- Omit the agave and just use the ‘caramel’ to sweeten the pudding instead!
- Try transferring this pudding mixture into a small/medium-sized popsicle mold for a great homemade, vegan popsicle experience; freeze overnight. #latesummerdessert
SACN 2015 Carbohydrates and health report
Public Health England – Why 5%? Explaining SACNs reasoning behind sugar recommendations