Dessert for a special dinner or an occasion like Valentine’s Day can be a big challenge when there are food intolerances or dietary restrictions. One option is this flavorful fresh pudding with mangoes and bananas. It’s made without the eggs, flour, grains, and refined sugar found in so many desserts. (However, it’s not vegetarian because it uses gelatin.) The vanilla-coconut topping adds richness and a firm layer over the soft pudding that “cracks” into pieces when you dig in.
Coconut butter (also known as coconut manna or coconut cream concentrate) is used for the crackle topping. In my opinion the best tasting brand is Tropical Traditions. Prepared coconut butter is expensive at $11 to $14 for 16 ounces, but you can make it from scratch using dried coconut.
Uses for coconut butter: any way you’d use butter or nut butter. I love it for breakfast flaked or drizzled over apples, berries, melon, or other fruit. (It hardens below 75°F, so consistency varies with the ambient temperature.)
|Mango-Banana Pudding With Vanilla-Coconut Crackle Topping||
- 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 packets unflavored gelatin (scant 2 tablespoons total)
- 2 ripe mangoes (about 12 ounces each)
- 2 ripe bananas, broken into 3 or 4 pieces each
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 6 tablespoons coconut butter (optional)
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (optional)
- Place 1/2 cup orange juice in a small saucepan or large metal measuring cup. Sprinkle the gelatin onto the orange juice and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Place saucepan or measuring cup over low heat, stirring, just until hot and the gelatin is dissolved.
- Peel mangoes, then slice off as much of the fruit as you can. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, place the mango and the banana pieces. Add lemon juice, the remaining 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, and honey. Process until smooth and all fruit is incorporated.
- Add gelatin-orange juice mixture and process until blended. Pour mixture into 6 serving dishes. Refrigerate until set—at least 8 hours and preferably 24 hours.
- When puddings are set, add the optional coconut butter topping. Coconut butter softens at 75 degrees, so if your house is warm, it might be pourable already. If yours is solid, place 6 tablespoons in a small saucepan or large metal measuring cup. Warm over lowest heat just until runny, swirling occasionally and watching it carefully to make sure it doesn’t get hot. When it’s softened and pourable, remove from heat and stir in optional vanilla bean scrapings.
- Spoon 1 tablespoon topping onto each pudding, allowing topping to spread over the top. Leave puddings at room temperature until topping is set. Put puddings back in refrigerator, loosely covered with a sheet of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Serve chilled soon after puddings are set and within about 2 days, as the pudding can darken slightly over time.
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