chocolate banana pudding, vegan.

I’ve always enjoyed pudding. Since transitioning to a vegan diet, I hadn’t had any pudding – until yesterday.

Yesterday I set about hatching some kitchen experiments with pudding in mind. It goes without saying that I’ve always loved chocolate so this seemed like the logical flavour to go for.

I have tried many a vegan recipe for ‘cream’ topping, the pale, tofu-based sort, meant to approximate cool whip or whipped cream. I have always embarked on making these with great anticipation but, regretfully, have always been disappointed. It’s the tofu I think – it’s just not neutral enough of a base for me for such delicate flavours. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big tofu fan – it just falls short in this area in the humble opinion of my palate. I have tried blanching the tofu to remove some of its inherent beaniness but I still find that subtle flavours are not adequate enough to supersede the tofu-ness.

So I was thinking something like tapioca might make a great pudding base, which could then be flavoured with chocolate or something else. Tapioca has its own flavour of course, lovely as it is – and I’ll take the taste of tapioca in my dessert over tofu any day. Tapioca was nowhere to be found in my pantry however so what to do in its stead? I had an awful lot of tofu in the fridge. Hmmm. I grabbed a package of silken tofu (drained) and blanched it for 5 minutes for good measure. After letting it cool I tossed it in the food processor.

Time to put the thinking cap on.

I had my heart set on chocolate. I had no actual chocolate on hand but I did have cocoa so out of the pantry it came. Normally I’d aim to sweeten this concoction with maple syrup or agave nectar – but fearing an expensive culinary failure I opted for plain old sugar (bone char free). A little pulse here, a dash of that there. Oh tofu, you still want to make your presence known. When I had made the mélange as chocolatey as it could possibly be I knew I still needed something more to add to the mix. What compliments chocolate and has a good strong flavour of its own?…my gaze wandered about the kitchen…aha, banana. I tossed my last banana into the processor with the chocolate tofu and blended until very smooth and creamy.

I turned the pudding into some glass bowls and tossed them into the fridge to cool. An hour later I had some decent chocolate pudding, who knew? Next time around I’ll try melting some actual chocolate in lieu of cocoa and try sweetening with maple syrup. I’m still determined to figure out how to make a delicately flavoured vegan cool whip.

I’ll get back to you with that one.