Though I may not identify with the raw food label anymore, I still find myself using techniques and ingredient combinations I learned from my exploration of raw food on a regular basis. This is especially true when it comes to desserts. What I love about raw (or raw-ish) desserts is that they’re so simple; with such plain ingredients as nuts and dried fruit, you can create a whole spectrum of remarkably creative and satisfying treats. And there’s often less guess work, prep time, and precision involved than there would be with, say, a cake or a tart. During the holiday season, when so many of us have so much cooking to do, an easy dessert can feel like a serious boon.
This easy pumpkin cashew pudding isn’t raw, but it is inspired by a lot of the puddings I experimented with in my raw food days. The base is a simple combination of raw cashews, pumpkins, a little melted coconut oil, and maple syrup–along with complementary spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg.
I made the pudding a few weeks ago, with a nutrition client of mine. I was doing a private cooking lesson for her, and I wanted to demo a dessert that would feel decadent without requiring any complex technique or previous experience. She had warned me that she’s new to homemade desserts, and I could see she was a little nervous. I assured her that, if you can operate a blender, you can make this pudding. It was such a treat to watch her eyes light up upon tasting the creamy finished product!
The pumpkin pudding is perfect on its own, silky and sweet. But in order to show my client yet another easy vegan dessert idea, I created a little parfait, using coconut whipped cream as the topping.
I’m sure that most of you have seen this technique in other recipes, so I won’t say too much about it, but the idea is that, if you whip up the solid part of coconut milk (what rises to the top and solidifies in a can of the full fat milk) with a little sugar, you can create a simple and delicious vegan version of traditional whipped cream. If you haven’t tried it yet, this is great time of year to experiment, since whipped cream is such a good accompaniment for pies, tarts, creamy hot cocoa, and other holiday treats.
Finally, I made the parfait extra special–and gave it some nice texture–by adding a bit of my favorite buckwheat granola to the top. You could add any granola you like–homemade or store-bought–to this recipe. You could also sprinkle on toasted nuts, plain toasted buckwheat, dried fruit, or some chopped dark chocolate. Get creative–anything sweet and crunchy will work!
This isn’t a light dessert, and it won’t please those of you who don’t care for cashews! The finished product is very rich and sumptuous, as you can see. But isn’t that what dessert is all about?
One final and practical note: both the pudding and the whipped cream can be prepared in advance; the coconut whipped cream will keep for a whole week, and the pudding will keep for up to six days. This means that you can enjoy any leftovers you have in a leisurely fashion, and it also means that this is an ideal dessert for preparing ahead of time, if you’re planning a holiday get-together. It’s nice when the dessert portion of a meal takes care of itself so easily.
On this sweet note, I wish you all a great night!
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Absolutely fantastic! Made it exactly as the recipe dictated. Thanks!
So glad you enjoyed!
I’m planning on making this but don’t want to use coconut oil. How about chia seeds or arrowroot instead?
Thanks in advance!
Hi Maureen! I can’t say for sure because I haven’t tested it, but I think that ground chia could work. Hope it turns out well!
I will report back. Thanks for posting! Have a wonderful holiday resting and enjoying TN!
We JUST found out that my partner who was allergic to many nuts as a young adult, has grown out of ALL of them (supposedly: so says the blood work, but they’ll have her test each at the office to be sure). A vegan that cannot eat nuts and has a soy and wheat (not gluten) sensitivity.
Life is about to change in our kitchen as we speak…er, type. And this might be an awesome start beyond cheese buys. Nice — thanks!
What size can of pumpkin puree? Thanks!
i look forward to making this recipe tomorrow. quick question – perhaps i missed it, but how long do you suggest i soak the cashews? i’ve only done almonds for almond milk and soak those overnight – not sure that’s necessary in this case. i imagine i cover with water, leave on the counter for x minutes/hours, and then strain? thanks in advance! i’m new to this game.
No worries Lizz! That’s a good question, and I should have addressed it. Soak them for 4 hours at least, and up to overnight. That’ll do it 🙂
for the pudding, did you intend to use more cashews than pumpkin? Rather than only 3/4 cup of pumpkin, i would suggest 2 cups. Aside from that, this recipe was great. Thanks.
That was intentional, Barry, for the sake of a thick texture, but you should certainly modify in whatever way works for you!
I caramalize nuts and seeds with maple or rice malt syrup for the granola mix, really delicious
Oh, just a note. I did not have plain pumpkin puree, but instead I had pumpkin pie mix. It turned out perfect,but in case with pumpkin pie mix you should omit maple syrup otherwise it is going to be too sweet. Enjoy!
Great tip, Irina, and I’m so thrilled you like the recipe!
It is delicious!!! I made three times yesterday. Just cant’ get enough!
Wonderful recipe and perfect for fall., thanks!
What a beautiful yet simple dessert! I bet your client loved it. 😀
Hi Gena–I’m with Jaime on this about making it easy! (But I also agree with Kyle this would make a great pie filling.) I had to laugh because we must be on a similar wavelength because I have been making a one bowl pudding that’s even “lazier” than this one and trying to decide if I should post it on my blog. You’re nudging me in that direction.
I LOVE the presentation in the little tiny canning jars–they are perfect for this!! And I don’t know how i missed your buckwheat granola recipe. . .that might make a good Christmas treat for a certain son of mine. . .:) xo
I had to laugh reading Jaime’s comment praising the simplicity, because when I read the recipe, I immediately wanted to make it (just a bit) more complicated by putting it in a raw crust for pie! It looks delicious; I can’t wait to try it!
Kyle, this would make a fabulous pumpkin pie. Just sayin’ 😉
this is so clever! honestly, i love eyeing all those beautiful raw cheesecakes but the necessity for chilling/freezing and forming in a fancy pan has always managed to dissuade me from trying my own. your pudding removes all of the (admittedly minimal) fuss of those cheesecakes and turns the cashew base into something even more approachable. the toppings make these so special! loving this, gena. xo
So glad, Jaime!