Not long ago I attended a cooking class about a particular healthy eating theory. The theory didn’t suit me or what I can eat, but one of the items was a pudding-y dessert with cashews as the base. Since I can’t have wheat or dairy and have been substituting ingredients in desserts for years, I was intrigued by the idea of desserts that just don’t use flour or dairy products.
I didn’t receive any of the materials for the class for some reason, so I started doing research; began looking in the land of cashews. Found a variety of recipes and figured out that, as with many recipes, there are wide variations and theories on how to make a pudding from cashews. Some people soak them. And the soaking theories run from half an hour to overnight–plus one who then freezes them for a while. Some don’t add any liquid other than some melted coconut oil, vanilla and agave syrup. Others put some sort of liquid in. Most use dates but some claim other unsulfured dried fruits can be used, especially apricots.
I’ve now found out that you can use many kinds of nuts and some seeds.[see below for update] though soaking and processing times are VERY impacted by which type you use. I tried one of the no soak/no added liquid versions first (the fewer steps the better for me). It came out so thick and grainy that I added liquid. Still had trouble with the grainy factor so the next time I soaked the cashews as well; and then more liquid the next time. Soaking for a longer period (like several hours) seems to get you a silkier texture. I didn’t much care for the version I made with apricots; I think dates are much more helpful for both taste and texture.
I tried quite a few recipes and wound up putting several ideas together and then tweaking:
2 cups whole, raw cashews (or almonds, hazelnuts…) and water to cover
2 Tbs melted coconut oil
3-4 Tbs agave syrup (or honey or pure maple syrup)
1/2 to 1 c. unsweetened almond milk (or water or some other nut or bean milk)
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
Soak the cashews for at least an hour (soaking time varies with type of nut or seed). Drain. Place all ingredients in a food processor or heavy duty blender (15 minutes for almonds). Pulse or blend till smooth Refrigerate for at least an hour. It really does taste different after chilling for a while.
With 1/2 cup of liquid it comes out pretty thick, as you can see in the above picture. I like it a little thinner so I now put 1 cup in.
Makes 5-6 servings.
Yummy and SO delicious and SO easy to make! After every serving I could eat more. Even though this is touted as a good-for-you dessert, I imagine the fat content with all those cashews is pretty high, though, so I don’t… . I might experiment next with leaving out the cinnamon and adding cocoa powder.
I’ve been doing trials with avocado chocolate mousse recipes too–WOW! As soon as I try another tweak or two I’ll post a recipe.
UPDATE: When I tried almonds I discovered they require much longer soaking and much longer processing and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoy the cashews. See post. And the Chocolate Avocado Mousse pudding recipe is here.