Yesterday, while reading a blog post about the health benefits of kuzu root (I can’t remember on which site), I recalled a fabulous chocolate hazelnut pudding I made in a cooking class at the Natural Gourmet Institute located at 48 W.21st Street in New York City. I have enjoyed many wonderful vegan cooking classes at the Natural Gourmet Institute, but this particular pudding was made in a class called “Mineral Rich Sea Vegetables” taught by the fabulous chef, Jill Gusman. I remembered that the delicious pudding had kuzu root as an ingredient, so I searched through my recipe collection and found what I was looking for. I decided to try it again for dessert last night, and it was as yummy as I remembered it to be. By the way, if you are visiting or live in the New York City area, I highly suggest that you try one of the public cooking classes at the Natural Gourmet Institute. They have so many different types of health-supportive cooking classes to choose from, not just vegan. They also have a chef’s training program and serve Friday night dinners to the public.
Anyway, here is Chef Jill Gusman’s wonderful pudding recipe using two types of sea vegetables, kuzu root and agar flakes, as ingredients. I know you will enjoy this fine dessert as much as I did! For the record, my local Whole Foods ran out of the Pacifica brand hazelnut-chocolate milk, so I mixed Pacifica’s hazelnut milk with Rice Dream’s chocolate rice milk and it was fine. Please note that some brands of chocolate hazelnut butter have skim milk powder in them. I used Justin’s brand of chocolate hazelnut butter because it is vegan.
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT PUDDING WITH ROASTED HAZELNUTS
Yields 6 (1/2 cup) servings
1/2 cup hazelnuts
3 well rounded tablespoons agar flakes
4 tablespoons water
3 cups hazelnut-chocolate milk (Pacifica brand)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons chocolate hazelnut butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons kuzu
1 tablespoon water
Pre-heat oven to 325 degreesF.
1. Roast hazelnuts on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes. Take out and wrap nuts in small towel. Roll the nuts, helping to remove their skins. Coarsely chop nuts and set aside.
2. Combine the agar and 4 tablespoons water in a bowl. Let sit 5 minutes.
3. Pour the hazelnut-chocolate milk into a saucepan; add the soaked agar flakes and maple syrup. Gently bring to a boil, whisking often. Lower flame, simmer 10 minutes.
4. Put the hazelnut butter into a small bowl. Ladle enough of the hot milk to soften the nut butter. Add this back into the pot, stir well.
5. Dissolve kuzu in 1 tablespoon water; add to pot. Stir. Simmer 5 minutes. Pour into a deep baking dish, about 10×10 inches (I used an 8×8 dish and it was fine). When steam has stopped rising, place in refrigerator until firmed up, about 45 minutes.
6. Put firmed up milk mixture into a food processor and process until creamy (I used my Vitamix blender).
7. Ladle into serving dishes and garnish with roasted nuts.