Monday, May 12, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Coconut Cream Pudding

Vegan and gluten free potluck dish - a serious challenge. I wanted to use seasonal ingredients from my local farmer's market making it even trickier, but I came up with a riff on the classic Vanilla Wafer Banana Pudding that is vegan, gluten, free, low in sugar, and truly delicious. The Tupperware came back completely empty, which is always a great sign of a successful dish! If you like the idea but want to add some crunch, consider a layer of graham cracker or nuts on top.

Strawberry Rhubarb Coconut Cream Pudding
1 pound strawberries, sliced
5 large stalks of rhubarb, roughly chopped (approximately 1 inch cubes)
3 cans coconut milk, refrigerated over night (do not used reduced fat)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 bananas

Start the rhubarb puree first (this can be made the day before)
Pour rhubarb pieces into sauce pan on medium heat with 4 tablespoons of sugar and the cup of water. Gently stir as the stems breakdown eventually turning into an applesauce like consistency. Allow it to cool and then refrigerate at least 4 hours.

 While the rhubarb puree is cooling, slice the pound of strawberries and set aside. These beauties were acquired at the farmer's market a few hours before prep and the flavor was unreal, no sugar needed. If you're strawberries are slightly tart, consider a sprinkling of sugar over the top before assembling.

Coconut Cream: Remove the cans of coconut milk from the fridge without overly shaking or turning over (this will keep the coconut cream separate from the milk. After removing the lid, the thick creamy bit should be easy to scoop out of the can. Add this to your blender first along with both bananas, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk to think the mixture slightly. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and free of any banana chunks.

Remove the rhubarb puree from the fridge and begin layering with all ingredients handy. Start with a layer of strawberries on the bottom, then a layer of coconut cream, a layer of rhubarb puree (which ends up being more blobs, that's ok!), another layer of all three with sparser strawberries on top so some Jackson Pollack style swirls of rhubarb puree visible on top that I thought made for a pretty presentation. The longer it sits, the more the rhubarb mixes in with the coconut cream, which isn't at all a bad thing. It's very runny and has to be served in cups as more of a mixed up pudding, but it's a real crowd pleaser that is as healthy as a dessert gets.

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