A few days ago I roasted a Kabocha squash with the intention of making a soup; however, when I tasted the pulp it was so sweet, I decided that I wanted to make a dessert. But what kind of dessert do you make with squash? As I was tasting the squash and thinking about how creamy it was, the squash spoke to me….pudding. Oh how I love pudding! So there you have it. Kabocha squash pudding was born.
The main ingredients for this pudding are squash pulp and almond milk. A little maple syrup is used as the sweetener and agar as the gelling agent. Because I used agar, the texture isn’t the same as pudding made with eggs and milk, but it is still very creamy and smooth. Bobby grabbed a pudding from the fridge thinking it was butterscotch. He took a couple of bites and then said “I have no idea what I’m eating, but it’s damn good!” Need I say more?
Because I only used 1 cup of pulp to make this pudding, I still had 2 cups left to make a small batch of Kabocha and Fennel Soup. A completely different use of the Kabocha and oh so good!
Kabocha Squash Pudding
Prep and cook time: 1.5 hours (includes 45 – 50 minutes to roast the squash)
1 cup cooked kabocha squash pulp
1 ¼ cup Vanilla Almond milk
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. maple syrup (or to taste)
modest dash of ground cardamom
modest dash of ground cinnamon
½ tsp. agar (also called agar agar)
Topping: Grated chocolate
To Roast the squash
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Cut the squash in half top to bottom. Leave in the seeds. Wipe the cut surfaces with olive oil.
- Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Place the squash on the foil cut side up and place in the oven. Bake for a 45 to 50 minutes until the squash is done. Test with a fork. If the fork goes through easily, it’s done.
- Remove from oven and let cool. Remove the seeds and strings using a fork. Discard.
- Scoop the pulp into a bowl. Measure out 1 cup for this recipe and save the rest for another recipe.
Making the Pudding
- Add 1 cup squash pulp, the almond milk and vanilla extract to a blender. Blend to smooth consistency.
- Transfer to sauce pan. Add maple syrup, cardamom, cinnamon, and agar. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly.
- Once it boils, continue to stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Divide between 4 pudding cups. Once cool, refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Before serving, grate your choice of chocolate on top.
Kabocha Squash – I discovered Kabocha a couple of years ago and fell immediately in love. It’s much sweeter than most winter squash and is definitely creamier. Because it is so sweet, I only needed 3 Tbsp. of maple syrup. Once blended with the almond milk, it had the perfect consistency for pudding. As far as substituting another winter squash, I can’t think of one that is sweet enough for this particular recipe. I’m sure other squash could be used, but you would need to add more sweetener.
Almond Milk – I always have Vanilla Almond milk in the fridge because it’s the milk we use for our chai lattes; therefore, I chose to use it for this pudding and it worked. Because it is vanilla flavored, I only used 1/8 tsp. of vanilla extract. If you choose to use plain almond, soy or whole milk, increase the vanilla extract to 1/4 tsp.
The spices – Just a touch of cardamom and cinnamon is all that is needed to enhance the flavor of the Kabocha without overpowering it.
The agar – 1/2 tsp. was perfect. I got the idea of using agar from Sissi of With a Glass. Sissi has made some great little creams using agar and I’ve always wanted to give it a try. Now that I have, I know that I’ll be using it more and more for quick and easy, creamy desserts. Thanks Sissi!
About agar (from With A Glass) – “Agar (agar-agar, “kanten” in Japanese) is a gelling agent very popular in Asia. Contrary to what one might think, this is not a gelatin substitute. It is prepared in a slightly different way and, most of all, gives different textures and consistencies. In Europe it is widely used in the food industry and is quite popular among vegetarians, since agar is produced from seaweed (not bones, like gelatin). Apart from gelling properties, agar has considerable health benefits. It helps digestion and is often consumed as a slimming diet booster.”
The chocolate topping – Any type of chocolate is perfect with this pudding. I tried milk chocolate as well as a dark chocolate and liked them both.