Warm, soft-centred chocolate pudding is a luscious treat – especially on the grey, grizzly days we have been having this week. My husband makes a gorgeous chocolate pudding at every restaurant he works at and it is one of my favourite desserts. However, I don’t fancy consuming white flour and sugar just to tickle my fancy for pudding. I like to think that my sweet treats can support my nutritional health as well taste gorgeous. So this recipe uses cooked quinoa (yes, trust me!) in place of flour which makes this recipe one of my few gluten-free recipes made without nuts. The quinoa adds an earthy flavour which sits well with the rich cacao and hints of coffee, cinnamon and vanilla. As an added bonus, quinoa provides protein, fibre, iron and magnesium – so you can have your cake and eat it too. Deceptively rich, you would not guess that the pudding contains just over 2 teaspoons of sugar per serve.
I particularly like this mix poured over bananas and baked, although it is delicious made with soft, ripe pears. The bananas do add to this dessert’s comfort factor and, to gild the lily, marry well with a dark chocolate sauce.
chocolate quinoa pudding
1/4c melted butter, olive oil or coconut oil
1c cooked quinoa (from 1/3c raw)
2/3c rice malt syrup or maple syrup
1/2c raw cacao powder
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp instant coffee or finely ground coffee (optional)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 soft ripe pears, peeled, cored, quartered or 3 large bananas, sliced thickly
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Arrange your choice of fruit in a small, shallow oven-proof dish and pour over the pudding batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 175’C until the edges are cooked but the centre is still a little soft. Allow to cool slightly before serving with chocolate sauce or cream or both. Serves 8.
Notes: for a simple chocolate sauce, heat 1/2c cream and pour over 100g of chopped 70% chocolate. Stir until smooth.
After years of cooking in restaurants and crafting dishes of increasing complexity, I truly get the most pleasure now from recipes as simple as this crumble. A crumble is everything that is good about winter – warm, ripe fruit, a nutty crumble topping and the contrast of cold cream or ice cream.
This crumble celebrates the natural sweetness of pears and the spiced topping is a mix of whatever nuts you may have in the cupboard. We had this for dessert a couple of nights ago and I have eaten it for breakfast since with some gorgeous Clevedon Valley buffalo milk yoghurt.
nutty pear crumble
4-5 sweet, ripe pears, cored, diced (I used Buerre Bosc pears)
splash white wine
1 tsp vanilla extract
40g butter, unsalted, room temperature
2 tb (40ml) rice malt syrup or maple syrup
1/4c almond meal
1/4c oats (traditional or quick) or quinoa flakes
1/4c coconut flour
1/2c nuts (I used half pistachio, half pine nuts)
1/4c pumpkin or sunflowers seeds
1/4tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 lemon, zest of
Place the diced pears in a saucepan and add a splash of wine and the vanilla. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat until the wine starts to simmer. Remove the lid and continue cooking until wine has almost evaporated and the pears have softened. This should take only minutes. Pour into a baking dish. Cool to room temperature.
For the topping, place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the mix comes together but some of the nuts and seeds are still in large pieces. Sprinkle the crumble evenly all over the pears and bake at 175’C for 20-25 mins until the topping is golden brown. Delicious served with good yoghurt, cream or ice cream. Serves 6.
Note: If you can’t find coconut flour, simply process some dried coconut until a fine powder. This recipe could also be made with apples but you may need to sweeten them if they are more tart than sweet. The topping is gluten free if using certified gluten free oats or quinoa flakes and would make lovely biscuits, I think.