I've been known to experiment with some unusual or less common ingredients in my baking, like beets, daikon radish and chickpeas. Sometimes these experiments turn out well (in the case of my raw beet cheesecake and chickpea granola bars) but other times they've sadly ended up in the garbage.
Another "abnormal" ingredient that I've been wanting to incorporate into a dessert for a while now is avocado. I've seen many versions of avocado pudding around the blogosphere lately and I've been curious to try it, but a couple of factors have prevented me from making it so far:
1) Most of recipes I've seen are for chocolate pudding, and I'm not a big fan of chocolate desserts
2) I don't often make dessert just for myself and I wasn't sure how my family would feel about me serving them a pudding made with avocado for dessert!
But last week, I had a ripe avocado that I had no plans for, and I was craving a cool and creamy dessert, so I decided to go ahead and make my own single-serving version of avocado pudding.
Instead of making a one-dimensional chocolate pudding, I wanted to try different variations and flavours that I could layer on top of each other like a parfait. I decided on a simple avocado-banana version with lemon as one flavour, and a carob version since I find carob a bit milder and sweeter than chocolate. To separate the two avocado layers, I made a banana pudding with a bit of peanut butter, which I thought would go well with the carob and avocado.
This pudding actually came together really quickly and since I used frozen bananas, it was already thick and cold enough to eat without needing to chill in the fridge first (although you could still make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you're ready to eat it).
The texture was so smooth and creamy from the avocado, and I loved each of the flavours - both separately and combined! I liked that the carob layer had a hint of chocolate flavour without being too rich, and I loved the burst of lemon and coconut in the top layer. Finally, a garnish of shredded coconut and raw cacao nibs adds some welcome texture and crunch.
And in case you're worried about eating avocado for dessert, I actually thought it contributed more in terms of texture rather than flavour - I probably wouldn't have guessed it was made with avocado if I hadn't known!
Now that I've finally tried avocado pudding, I can't believe I waited so long! I ate half of my "dessert" in the afternoon immediately after I photographed it and had to stop myself from eating it all at once because I wanted to save some for a second dessert later. And I even think I could get away with serving this non-traditional vegan pudding to my family without any complaints!
Triple Layer Avocado Banana Carob Pudding
1.5 frozen small bananas
Half a ripe avocado
1/4 cup + 1-2 tbsp non-dairy coconut milk beverage (or almond milk)
1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tbsp carob powder
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp coconut extract (optional)
1/2 tbsp peanut butter
Shredded coconut and cacao nibs for topping
Place 1 small frozen banana and the avocado in a food processor. Add ¼ cup coconut milk and 1 tbsp agave and process until all chunks are broken down and mixture is smooth.
Divide mixture evenly into two small bowls. Add carob powder to one bowl and whisk until incorporated. Add lemon juice and coconut extract to the other bowl and stir to mix. Place both bowls in the fridge while you prepare the other layer.
Rinse out the food processor and place the other half frozen banana in the small bowl of the food processor. Add 1-2 tbsp coconut milk beverage, 1/2 tsp agave and 1/2 tbsp peanut butter and process until smooth. Place in the freezer to chill.
When ready to serve, layer each of the three mixtures into a parfait glass or bowl (I put the carob on the bottom, the banana in the middle, and the avocado-lemon on top). Sprinkle with shredded coconut and cacao nibs if desired. Serve cold.
Makes 1 large serving or 2 small servings.