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Pumpkin Coconut Pudding

November 19, 2011

Pumpkin pie is essential at any Thanksgiving feast, but to be honest it is not the part of the meal that I look forward to.  After a heavy meal of turkey, gravy, and of course stuffing, I find it hard to rally excitement for pie.  Generally I enjoy a few bites of the filling and leave the crust lonely on the plate.  This is what got me thinking about skipping the crust completely and making a pumpkin pudding in its place.

Pumpkin Coconut Pudding is a thick, silky coconut milk based pudding seasoned with traditional pie spices.  This rich pudding is familiar enough to satisfy the expectation of a Thanksgiving pumpkin dessert, yet different enough to stand out as something special.  Using coconut milk means that the pudding (without the whipped cream) is actually vegan, so you can safely serve to a mixed crowd including those lactose and gluten intolerant folks who seem to be cropping up in every family.  This pudding could not be simpler to make.  Heat the coconut milk and pumpkin, then stir in a slurry of spices and cornstarch to thicken it.  For a casual fare, spoon it directly from a serving bowl and let guests add their own toppings.  For a fancier presentation, spoon hot pudding into beautiful dishes or glasses and decoratively top before serving.  This may be a break in tradition, but who knows, perhaps I am not the only one who is happy to leave the crust behind.

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Chocolate Pudding

February 13, 2011

Originally I was planning on making a decadent chocolate mousse for Valentine’s Day.  I craved the over-the-top chocolately richness of a mousse, but at the store with cream in hand, I reconsidered.  Valentine’s Day or not, I wasn’t feeling like I could justify my family and I consuming a pint of cream.  Then I remembered pudding! Chocolate pudding may be the ultimate chocolate comfort food.  Each bite sings of childhood, yet by using dark chocolate and  the optional addition of liqueur, it can be quite the adult indulgence as well.

This chocolate pudding is very rich.  It incorporates both unsweetened cocoa and semi-sweet chocolate.  As with all chocolate desserts, it will only be as good as the chocolate you use.  I like Ghiradelli, which is widely available in supermarkets.  Feel free to cater to your personal craving.  If you want something even more rich, use bittersweet chocolate in place of the semi-sweet.  If you want a milder chocolate flavor, more akin to the kid-friendly box pudding mixes, cut the semi-sweet chocolate in half.  You can experiment with low-fat milk as well.   It would probably work fine, but I haven’t tried it myself.  You really can not go wrong.  Plus, if you have only made pudding from the box, I imagine you will be fully converted to this method.  It is super easy and quick and the result is tremendously satisfying, just look at my happy Little Miss!

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