Chocolate Pudding Fantasy

     My food philosophy is simply that no matter who you are or what your constraints you should be able to enjoy what you eat. Over the years that I have been modifying recipes for people there was never a challenge such as the one presented to me by Rita. She described her ‘thou-shalt-nots’ for her Candida diet and then requested that I concoct for her a milk chocolate pudding. You can actually make a simple gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free pudding using a common brand of pudding mix available at nearly any grocery store. It doesn’t do well with soy or almond milks but is quite yummy with canned coconut milk, also easily available.
    But not so easy, it also had to be free of chemical sweeteners and Rita’s preference was a brand named Lakanto. Because Lakanto is currently VERY pricey the early experiments were done with regular sugar while trying to duplicate the taste of brand-name chocolate pudding. There were experiments and research on cocoa (plain, Dutch process) and chocolate (dark, darker, and even darker, domestic, imported) before moving on to milks and thickeners.
    Thickeners: Coconut milk already contains fat (although in a healthy way) so eggs were out, cornstarch, rice and tapioca each had their own issues. On a Romanian recipe site that I have since lost there were recipes for milk puddings made with gelatin and this became the thickener.
    Pity the poor husband helping me through all of the taste-testing. Finally the result was good enough to warrant switching to the Lakanto and besides, Rita was due in town.
    If it’s not one thing it’s another as the saying goes. At that point we discovered that one of the components of Lakanto tends to crystallize out in the presence of fat. This called for melting, chilling, and beating several times as the mixture chilled and set similar to the way you make ice cream in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator. But finally, we had pudding.
Chocolate Pudding Fantasy
Adapted for a Candida diet from Jeleu de Ciocolata

2 tablespoons water
4 oz. milk (from almond milk below)
3 envelopes gelatin (enough to gel two pints of liquid + 1 extra)

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (Ghirardelli)
2 teaspoons GF vanilla
2 cups almond milk – take out 4 oz. for above
2 cups coconut milk
4 oz. (1/2 cup) Lakanto sweetener
oil (for a molded pudding)

    Soften the gelatin granules in the water in a 2 quart saucepan. Add the 4 ounces of almond milk and place the pot over low heat. Slowly apply more heat while stirring until the gelatin begins to dissolve. Then add the chocolate. 

    When the chocolate has melted you should add the Lakanto to the pot and mix well. Continue to stir while heating. Add the remainder of the 2 cups of almond milk and then the coconut milk. Increase the heat and stir until the mixture is hot and steaming slightly. Remove from the heat. Cool in the pan and then refrigerate until it begins to set up. The Lakanto has a tendency to crystallize around the edges so stir every now and then to prevent this from happening. The chilled mixture may be whipped with electric beaters if you prefer a lighter texture.

    Set up eight small dessert dishes or 1 large bowl, fill with the pudding mixture and refrigerate until set.


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