The Bread Pudding
1 cup "faux" coconut milk (make with 1 cup regular unsweetned soy milk + 1 tsp. high quality coconut) extract (like Silver Cloud)
1 15-ounce can organic pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar (can use maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves (I'm not fond of cloves, so next time I'll either cut this down, or leave it out)
10 cups cubed day-old Ezekiel-brand Sprouted Cinnamon Raisin Bread (about 10 to 12 slices of sandwich bread, depending on the thickness of slices) Leave the bread out, & unwrapped for a day to dry out.
3/4 cup non-dairy semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish with high-heat canola oil (eg Spectrum brand)
2. In a blender, process "faux" coconut milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt and spices until smooth. In a large bowl, then, toss the bread cubes with the pumpkin mixture and chocolate chips until each bread cube is coated.
3. Fill the 9 X 13 baking dish with the mixture and lightly press it down with the back of a spoon. Evenly sprinkle about 2 tablespoons brown sugar over the top of the bread pudding. The brown sugar will help the pudding to caramelize on the edges. (Steps 1 through 3 can be done up to three days in advance; store covered in the refrigerator.)
4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until top is lightly browned. Let the pudding cool a few minutes before serving. Cut into portions, then garnish with powdered sugar if desired and serve warm. The pudding can be baked right before serving or earlier that day and then reheated for 8 to 10 more minutes right before serving. Or warm up servings in the microwave--tastes great warm!
5. We liked ours topped with Vanilla Cashew Cream Sauce.
Yield: Serves 14.
Vanilla Cashew Cream Sauce (recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz' Vegan Brunch Cookbook, pg. 209)
1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
Water for submerging the cashews
1 cup of almond or other non-dairy milk (not low-fat)
1 TBS. pure maple syrup or agave
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1. In a small bowl, soak the cashew pieces in water for at least an hour & up to overnight to soften them up & make them easier to get smooth in the sauce. Drain well!
2. Combine the drained cashews with all the remaining ingredients (not the water!!! You're done with that) and blend well in a VitaMix, processor or blender.
3. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula.
4. Keep tightly sealed in a container, and refrigerate until ready to use. It takes about an hour in the refrigerator to thicken--and it's even better after 3 hours!