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I’m not a regular coffee drinker. A piping hot cup of earl grey is my drink of choice for most mornings: not too much caffeine, lively flavour and I don’t feel so jittery/panicky/weird after a giant cup of it. If it’s my day off however, I’m having coffee. I’m going to my local purveyor with purpose to drink a steamy, espresso-based beverage, guaranteed. I like the ritual and comfort aspects involved and it feels sort of, I don’t know… celebratory. I like it.

Coffee in a dessert is a no brainer though. I’ll always reply in the affirmative if offered a treat with the quasi-forbidden substance as its star ingredient. This pudding is a vegan version of one posted here. Coconut milk stands in for cream pretty well (in the actual pudding and the cream on top) and cornstarch fills in the thickening agent role. I know cornstarch isn’t exactly health superstar material, but there are organic and non-GMO brands available. If Whole Foods sells it, it can’t be that bad, right? (right?!)

I added some raw cacao powder for a slightly bitter, dark chocolate taste. It worked out perfectly, really enhancing the coffee flavour. The pudding isn’t too sweet and has lots of complexity happening. Then you top it off with an airy and rich cap of coconut cream. Is this description starting to sound familiar? If you serve it in clear glasses, it looks adorably similar to the layers of a sweet, little cappuccino.

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vegan coffee pudding with coconut cream
adapted from Not Without Salt
serves: 6
notes: Don’t forget the saran on top! Pudding skin = so gross.

1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk (1 can usually covers this, stir it up real good)
1/2 cup brewed espresso or very strong coffee
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder (I used raw, but any type is fine)

coconut cream:
1 can coconut milk, chilled overnight
1 1/2 tbsp agave nectar (or sweetener of your choice)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the pudding: combine the cornstarch, salt, brown sugar and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Whisk to remove as many lumps as you can. Set aside.

Combine the 1 1/2 cups coconut milk and espresso in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once it reaches a simmer, add the cornstarch mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Once mixture reaches a boil, let it go for 1 minute, whisking frequently.

Remove from the heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top to prevent a skin from forming. Place in the fridge until completely chilled.

For the coconut cream: open the chilled can of coconut milk. There should be a decent layer of completely solid, butter-esque coconut cream formed on top. Remove this layer with a spoon and place into a medium bowl, being careful not to take up any of the coconut water on the bottom. Beat the coconut cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form (I’ve heard this works in a food processor as well). This takes about 3-5 minutes. Fold in the agave and vanilla.

To serve: divide the pudding among 6 vessels and top with coconut cream. Add a pinch of cinnamon if you’re fancy.

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