Warm Chocolate Cashew Cream Pudding from Vegan Chocolate
October 4, 2014

Warm Chocolate Cashew Cream Pudding // Choosing Raw

Four years ago, I was at a party celebrating the premiere of Forks Over Knives when I crossed paths with Fran Costigan. I’d heard her name before–she’s the reigning queen of vegan pastry and dessert–but I’d never had the pleasure of meeting her. Before I could even find her in the crowd, I ended up standing next to her near a crowded appetizer plate. I introduced myself, and before I knew it we were chatting like old friends. Fran told me all about her work, her journey to becoming a chef, her grandchildren, and the several decades she’s spent sharing vegan activism through sumptuous, yet healthy desserts. I was totally charmed, and we’ve remained fans of each other ever since.

Fran’s new book, Vegan Chocolate, is in many ways a culmination of her incredible talents as a chef and a recipe developer. Fran is classically trained; she’s a graduate of the New York Restaurant School and the Natural Gourmet Institute. She has worked as a pastry chef in both traditional and vegan kitchens, and she’s been in the teaching kitchen for about 20 years. I’ve come to expect nothing but perfection from her recipes, and that’s what the new book delivers: 300 pages of chocolate bliss.

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I can’t tell you how often I’m asked whether or not chocolate is vegan. My response is that it is, thank god! Most (or much) dark chocolate is delightfully vegan-friendly. Vegan Chocolate is a one-stop primer in all things chocolate: cake, brownies, truffles, puddings, ice creams, and more. Some of the most creative selections from the book include Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles (with a variety of flavor variations), a Brooklyn Blackout Layer Cake, a Sacher Torte, even chocolate Moon Pies!

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There are two particular features I love about book: first, Fran emphasizes ethical chocolate, recommending ingredients that are fair trade and organic. She’s also highly sensitive to food allergies and specialized diets, so virtually everyone, including folks who have soy or gluten or wheat allergies, will find plenty of recipes to make and love in the book.

Most importantly, Fran treats each recipe as a chance to teach you something new about working with vegan chocolate. Her years of culinary teaching experience were so evident to me as I read the book. I’m no pastry or dessert expert, and I can assure you that I’ve benefited from her meticulous instructions, her detailed explanations of methodology, her extensive glossaries and suggested resources, and even her carefully assembled reading list. So much love and effort has gone into this book; I suppose that chocolate deserves nothing less!

The recipes in Vegan Chocolate range from quite impressive and fancy to very simple. I could have shared countless selections with you — the Chocolate Cake to Live For, Magic Cookie Bars, Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Pudding, or Mocha Creme Brûlée. But I wanted to share a recipe that jives with my style of dessert making (and my cooking style in general), which is to say quick, easy, and tasty. The following pudding is all of those things, and it also features cashews, which are of course one of my favorite ingredients. The pudding is rich, creamy, and everything that chocolate pudding should be.

Warm Chocolate Cashew Cream Pudding

 

Warm Chocolate Cashew Cream Pudding from Vegan Chocolate

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Ingredients

  • For the Pudding:
  • 1 recipe about 1 3/4 cups / 420 mL Basic Thick Cashew Cream (below)
  • 2 tablespoons / 12 grams Dutch-process cocoa powder sifted
  • 2 tablespoons / 26 grams organic granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces / 57 grams dark chocolate 62-68%, finely chopped, or use vegan chocolate chips for a sweeter pudding
  • 1 teaspoon / 5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • Dark chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)
  • For the basic thick cashew cream:
  • 5 ounces about 1 cup / 142 grams whole raw cashews, rinsed and soaked 3-4 hours, or overnight
  • 2/3 cup / 160 mL water at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup / 60 mL agave or maple syrup grade B
  • 1 teaspoon / 5 mL vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon guar gum

Instructions

  • Prepare the cashew cream. Drain the cashews in a strainer. Put the rinsed nuts into a blender and add the water, agave or maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend, starting on low, and quickly increase the speed to high. Blend for about one minute, or until the cream is perfectly smooth. Push any unblended pieces of cashew down into the cream and blend for one minute longer. Add the guar gum directly into the cream, making sure it doesn't land on the sides of the container. Blend on low for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to high and blend for 1 minute. Pour the cream into a container, cover, and refrigerate for for up to three days or freeze for up to two months.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the cashew cream gently over low heat until it's just warm to the touch. Add the cocoa powder and sugar, and stir until dissolved. Remove the saucepan from heat.
  • Add the chocolate and the vanilla and stir until the chocolate is melted.
  • Spoon the warm pudding into small dishes and serve immediately, garnished with some chocolate shavings. The pudding can be made ahead and refrigerated in a covered container for up to three days. It tastes good chilled or at room temperature.

Vegan Chocolate is an elegant, sumptuous book. It’s got a large trim size, evocative and beautiful photography, playful fonts, and tons of other touches that announce: this book is a celebration. And that’s as it should be. Few ingredients connote indulgence, opulence, or luxury (at least in the realm of dessert) more than this one. If you’re a chocolate lover, vegan or not, or a dessert lover, chocoholic or not, then I can’t recommend this essential resource more highly.

Warm Chocolate Cashew Cream Pudding

In order to bring you all a little closer to her work, Fran has offered one of my lucky readers a copy of Vegan Chocolate. You can enter to win below. The giveaway winner will be announced in two weeks. US and Canadian readers only, please. Good luck!!

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I think that’s a nice note on which to begin the weekend. See you on Sunday, for Weekend Reading!

xo

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    102 Comments
  1. Hi dear:

    Its Marilyn from way back. How are you. I am on a quest to become vegan and of course first things first desserts!

    Love seeing you here!

  2. My favorite chocolate desserts is silken tofu chocolate mousse pie. (or maybe just chocolate chip cookies)

  3. A fabulous chocolate hazelnut mousse I had at Botero at The Wynn Las Vegas. Don’t know how they made it. Would love a silky vegan chocolate cream brulee.

  4. Mine is a vegan tiramisu (using soaked cashews for the mascarpone instead and a few other sub-ins). Espresso, ‘cream’, cookies, liquor, and of course….dark chocolate….heaven in a bowl!

  5. It’s really hard to answer this question, but I’d say a dark chocolate-flavored pudding or custard (much like the recipe you have shared here), either in a dish topped with some kind of non-dairy whipped cream or served pudding pie style in a crust. Yum : )

  6. I am drooling over the keyboard as I type this! I think I just died and went to heaven! Even if I don’t win, I plan to purchase this immediately.

    Thanks to you and Fran for the giveaway 🙂

  7. Can there be only one favorite chocolate dessert, LOL? One of my favorite special chocolate desserts is Sachertorte, so I immediately perked up when I saw that there’s a recipe for vegan Sachertorte in Fran’s cookbook! I would be in heaven!

  8. Loooovve blondies. I realize chocolate only plays a small part in blondes, but… they MAKE the dish!

  9. I think my favorite chocolate dessert is a decadent multi-layer chocolate cake! I would absolutely love to try out recipes from Fran’s book – they look fantastic!

  10. After years of rejecting dark chocolate, have finally come to appreciate the flavor and health benefits! 😉

  11. My favorite chocolate dessert…oh man is that a tough one. I have to go with anything that has loads of fudgy chocolate frosting in/on it 🙂

  12. Favorite Chocolate Dessert? Proof Cake. I don’t know where I found the recipe, but it’s a vodka cake with chocolate ganache and chocolate filling. I have not made I started experimenting with veg**ism, but I think I could probably get the components I need from this book.

  13. My favorite is Sour Cream Chocolate Cake, which was always my birthday cake growing up. A few years ago my mom went ahead and veganized it for me! Perfect.

  14. I love the chocolate pudding made with avocados. I’ve never used cashew cream before, but this looks amazing!

  15. I have to pick a favorite! That’s so hard–chocolate is my favorite! But let’s go with anything chocolate peanut butter.

  16. Hmm, a favourite dessert.. . I would have to say chocolate vanilla cupcakes.

    This book sounds delicious. Are any of the recipes in the book gluten-free?

  17. My favorite chocolate dessert has to be good ol’ fashioned vegan chocolate chip cookies or a rich and decadent chocolate cake! (Birthdays especially)

  18. I think my current favourite chocolate dessert has to be chocolate avocado pudding so easy, so versatile!

  19. I love Fran an have a great story with this book! I borrowe it and made my Austrian Grandma the Sachertorte. At 89 she had her first ever eggless, butterless cake and couldn’t believe it! She loved it of course and reckoned it’s pretty authentic (she has VERY high standards and has tried almost every Sachertorte in London on her quest to replicate her Viennese childhood). I tweeted Fran but I hope she knows what a feat she pulled off!
    WIsh this giveaway could get me my own copy 🙁 International competitions pleeeeeese
    h xx

  20. I had the good fortune to sit beside Fran on a bus ride from the Berkshires in western Massachusetts to New York City over 20 years ago. As you said, Gena, Fran is one of the nicest, most talented people I’ve ever met. I was once at a party where Fran brought a frosted chocolate layer cake. I never got to try it because everyone else hoovered it right up. Kudos Fran. You are a goddess in the kitchen!!!

  21. Favorite chocolate dessert sounds gross but is really good– pumpkin , maple syrup, dark cocoa powder, vanilla, and a pinch of salt, all swirled together and chilled. Like pudding!

  22. I looove this chocolate torte from The Vegan Plate by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. This pudding sounds like a must try! It’s only 9 am but I’m craving it after reading this post.

  23. Asking what my favourite chocolate dessert is is a silly question–I don’t believe in having dessert UNLESS there’s chocolate in it! And I’ll eat pretty much anything with chocolate!

    This book has been on my “must buy list when I get the money” for too long now. Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. Omg this looks sooooo good! I’ll be purchasing this book ( I purchased yours on my iPad and I love it btw!)

    I want to make the pudding but I believe you left out some directions, Gena. You don’t mention what to do with the vanilla extract and 2 oz dark chocolate (I assume you stir them in until they melt after the sugar has dissolved, but please update)

  25. there are so many favorite chocolate desserts that I love. it really depends on my mood. probably one of the best discoveries I’ve made is a pan of ooey gooey vegan and gluten free brownies made with pumpkin!

  26. i just added this book to my wishlist on amazon, but since i am not working, winning would be the best bet of actually getting one! thanks for the wonderful blog!

  27. Vegan Chocolate cookbook? YES, please!!!! This sounds like a fantastic idea for a cookbook. If I don’t win the giveaway, I’m sure I’ll just go buy it ;p
    So glad you could share a recipe with us – I want to make it right now =)

  28. This looks luscious. When does the 2 oz dark chocolate go in? I think that is missing from the instructions.

    • Karen, sorry! Just updated the instructions. You whisk it in (along with the vanilla) right after you remove the cream base from heat.

  29. Just ONE favorite? Hmmm….that’s a toughie. Probably fudge, because they’re bite-sized and are great to-go items! 😉

  30. I’m drooling as I read your post! Thanks for sharing this recipe! Can’t wait to try it!

  31. Ooh, thank you for this recipe! It’s so nice to see a vegan chocolate pudding recipe that doesn’t involve avocado (sorry, Gena!) or tofu. Looking forward to trying this!

  32. The cookbook looks AMAZING!! My favorite chocolate dessert is virtually any type of chocolate cake.

  33. I love homemade chocolate truffles, especially with a little bourbon added to them…so yummy!

  34. Does just eating chocolate count as a chocolate dessert? ha. I’ve become pretty obsessed with Taza chocolate – it’s stoneground, and I love the texture! I have a few squares of their 70% dark chocolate (vegan!) three or four times a week.

  35. A good quality dark chocolate with sea salt bar makes me very happy. Thanks for the giveaway, I had this book from the library and was drooling over the gorgeous pictures.

  36. I’ve never been that girl that experienced intense chocolate cravings…..until recently. Now morsels get devoured straight from the bag. Perhaps a book of recipes would help me enjoy chocolate slightly more elegantly. I say “slightly” because I really plan on inhaling it with a spoon.

  37. Mmm. Lately I’ve been whipping up an avacado with a bit of maple syrup, raw cacao and tossing in some blueberries to satisfy my sweet tooth. Would love to try these recipes.