24 October 2008

vegan MoFo: quince chestnut bread pudding with orange cranberry sauce

quince and chestnut bread pudding with orange cranberry sauce

I've never made bread pudding before, but I was knew that this needed to be rich. I figured omitting eggs, butter and cream and subbing low-fat plant-based alternatives (although that would make it healthier), would drastically reduce the quality. So, I decided to use rich alternatives (although still plant-based and still healthy). I did use 2 T margarine to cook the quince, but I think that could be easily substituted with coconut oil or apple juice without effecting the result.

Quince and Chestnut Bread Pudding:
1 (9 oz) baguette, cut into 1" cubes (about 7 cups)
1 cup cashews*
1/3 cup hempseeds*
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons margarine
2 quinces, cut into 1/2" dice (about 3 1/2 - 4 cups)
7-8 fresh chestnuts, or 1/2 cup roasted, peeled and chopped

*I used this combination of nuts and seeds to give a creamy taste and consistency with only a slightly nutty flavor. Feel free to use other nuts or seeds as you feel suits your recipe.

To roast chestnuts, use a sharp knife to cut an X through the shell of the chestnut to allow steam to escape. Place on a baking sheet and roast at 425F for about 20 minutes. The shells will pull apart at the X and should be able to peel off easily. Remove all of the shells and chop the insides; set aside.

roasted chestnuts

Place cubed bread in 2 quart baking dish and set aside.

In medium/large saucepan, melt margarine over medium heat and stir in quince, sauteing for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine cashews, hemp seeds and water and blend until completely smooth (this may take a couple of minutes). Add the next 6 ingredients (maple syrup through nutmeg) to blender and process. Pour contents of blender over quince and add sultanas. Cook for a couple of minutes and then pour over diced bread. Sprinkle with chestnuts and gently stir to combine. While the oven is preheating to 325 F, allow the bread to soak up some of the liquid for about 15 minutes. Bake for about 45 minutes until center is set and top is golden. Alternatively, bake individual-sized portions in lined muffin tins for about 30 minutes. Serve with Orange Cranberry Sauce (recipe below).

orange cranberry sauce
Cranberry Sauce:
12 oz fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon orange zest

Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin popping. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes. The sauce will still be a little runny, but it will thicken more as it cools.