Feb 7, 2013

Sponge Pudding with Vegan Custard

This pudding is a real winner just when you thought you had lost this kind of dessert forever by becoming vegan. There was a time last winter when Theresa and I were searching all cafe and restaurant menu's for old-fashioned English puddings with little success. At that time we weren't exclusively vegan, but factor that in and you'd just never find this kind of thing. Anywhere. I think it speaks for itself. It's healthy and comforting on a cold winters evening and, although, I'm sure I've said it before, one of the best things Ive ever made.
I tried harder at presentation here but it still looks a bit odd

The custard was inspired by an Australian chef I met in a yoga retreat kitchens years ago. You wouldn't expect it to be so good, but just try it and you'll be amazed. The cake is loosely based on a vanilla cake in Peter Berley's book, which is a fantastic vegan-inspiration if you don't have it already. The blueberries..they're completely my idea as we had some frozen ones to use up. As is the polenta In the cake come to think of it. I'm just quite into polenta recently and I think it makes the cake more moist and pudding like, a little denser, a little more pudding-stodgy in a good way.

You can cut the cake in a round using a pastry cutter or not; whatever you do, this is one you could do for the regular eaters amongst your household and friends and they won't notice they're missing anything. The whole thing could take you 40 minutes from start to finish, yet it seems quite a 'treaty' a la Hugh Fernley-Wittingstall  'nursey-pud' style.

Sponge Pudding with Vegan Custard
(makes 4 servings)

For the Cake

1 cup all-purpose white flour
1/2 polenta 
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup maple syrup or agave
1/4 cup canola or sunflower oil
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 tbs cider vinegar
1 tbs vanilla essence

1. Preheat your 350 degrees and line a small cake-pan with baking parchment.
2. Sift the flour and polenta with the baking powder, soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.
3. Using a hand held blender or whisk, blend the syrup, oil, milk, vanilla and vinegar.
4. With deft quick strokes combine the wet ingredients into the dry and transfer to your prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes whilst you make the custard.

For the Custard

2 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 cup polenta
2 tbs maple or agave syrup
1 tbs vanilla essence
1/2 tsp almond essence

1. Combine the milk, polenta and syrup in a pan over a medium low heat. Whisk well until smooth for the first 10 minutes,  then stir regularly for about 15 minutes  more over a low heat until the custard is your desired consistency and really smooth. Add the essences.

For the Blueberry Sauce

1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup water
1 tbs maple or agave syrup

1. Whilst you are getting on with the custard, in another small pan place all the ingredients and bring to the boil. Now turn the heat to medium-low and semi cover for another 15 minutes, until the blueberries have partially broken down and the sauce has thickened.

To Serve...Cut a slice of cake and pour the custard over the top in the desired quantity (lots) then add over this lots of sauce. make sure everything is hot, but making the custard and sauce as you bake the cake.