gluten free diet

Naturally Gluten Free Dessert: Chocolate Orange Pudding

In today’s email I want to give you an example of how you can use dairy substitutes to make a naturally gluten free dessert. Last weekend I took the Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding recipe from Joy of Cooking and made a few substitutions.

I wanted to take the dairy out of the recipe, but I also wanted to make the pudding extra special – something that you couldn’t buy in a store.

The recipe calls for 1 3/4 c. milk, so I substituted unsweetened almond milk instead. And I added 1 tsp. of orange extract to turn this chocolate pudding into an extra special dessert treat.

Next time I want to try this with almond extract because chocolate and almonds are a wonderful flavor combination.

Have you ever made homemade pudding? It’s very easy and very interesting. You start by heating the milk, chocolate, sugar and salt. Then you add cornstarch that has been mixed into a small amount of milk.

As you stir the pudding over the heat, the mixture will come to a simmer. You then turn the heat way down and keep stirring while the previously liquid mixture turns into a pudding.

I know I’m a bit of a cooking geek, but I think it would be terribly interesting science project to figure out exactly what is going on chemically to cause this transition. Maybe that will be a high school science assignment if we’re still homeschooling our kids in ten years. =)

Here’s the finished recipe, if you’re in the mood for a quick and naturally gluten-free dessert:

Chocolate Orange Pudding

1 3/4 c. unsweetened non-dairy milk (tested with almond milk)
1/2 c. sugar
2 oz. dark chocolate (62% or higher chocolate solids)
1/8 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cornstarch (tapioca starch would work too)
1/4 c. unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange extract (this is not orange coloring, it’s orange flavoring!)

1. Combine the milk, sugar, chocolate and salt in a saucepan and heat over low-heat until the chocolate has melted.

2. Now, thoroughly mix the cornstarch with the 1/4 c. milk and stir it into the saucepan. Turn the heat up to medium, and stir constantly, but slowly until the mixture comes to a simmer. Be sure your spoon is scraping the sides and corners of the saucepan, as well as the bottom.

3. Then, reduce the heat to low and stir the pudding cook for 1 minute using a whisk. If you use an electric stove, take the saucepan off the burner briefly since the heat doesn’t reduce instantly like it does with gas stoves.

4. After one minute has elapsed, remove the pudding from the heat and stir in the extracts. Pour the pudding into the serving bowl or cups and cover with plastic wrap. The wrap should be pressed down on to the surface of the pudding so that it doesn’t form a skin.

Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours if you’re serving the pudding in a dish. If you’re going to unmold it onto a plate, then refrigerate for 4 hours. The pudding will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days.

– Mary Frances