Easy Chocolate Chia Pudding

20180201_145246Cold and flu season is in full force this year and it does not seem to be ending any time soon. Whether you turn on the news, go to social media, run into friends, or get a call from family, the topic of colds, flu, and feeling ill is going to be seen or heard. Luckily, I have yet to get sick this year (knock on wood). It is a great achievement considering I have Crohn’s Disease, which automatically puts me at a disadvantage in the fight against germs due to a weakened immune system. I attribute my ability to avoid illness to my healthy diet and lifestyle. I initially learned about nutrition in culinary school then again when I went back to school for my medical degree. Pair that with many years of research about my disease and I have learned a great deal about nutrition and how to naturally prevent illness and disease.

The first step is to understand the immune system/gut connection. A lot of people are unaware that about 70% of your immune system is in your gut. In your intestines there are hundreds of billions of bacteria living there. Most of the bacteria is good while some of it is bad. Once the bad bacteria begins to outnumber the good bacteria, that is when your immune system gets compromised and you are at more risk to get sick. The good news is you can have a lot of control over the ratio of bacteria by ensuring there is more good bacteria (aka probiotics) than bad bacteria. Now this does not mean I am recommending you run out and buy a probiotic supplement. You have many opportunities throughout the day to feed your gut immune-boosting foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, yogurt, spices, fresh herbs, and this easy and indulgent chocolate chia pudding.

20180201_145134Although a sweet and delicious dessert or snack, this pudding contains a quadruple threat of four specific ingredients (kefir, cinnamon, honey, cocoa) known to either feed the good bacteria or directly increase its quantity. Fermented foods like kefir are naturally rich in probiotics. Cinnamon, honey, and cocoa are all rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. These properties help build up your immunity by lowering the release of arachidonic acid from the membranes that surround the cells. This process also helps lessen inflammation, which is the leading cause of many chronic health problems and diseases. If you want a sweet treat that will also benefit your health, give this easy pudding recipe a try!

Easy Chocolate Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Plain 1% Kefir
  • ¼ cup Chia Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. Unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tbsp. Raw Honey
  • Dark Chocolate Chips; for topping

Formula:

  1. In a medium bowl combine the kefir, chia seeds, vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and honey. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 12 hours).
  2. When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and spoon into small bowls. Top each bowl with a few dark chocolate chips and serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: ERIN MACDONALD & TIFFANI BACHUS
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

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Pumpkin Pie Pudding Bites

20171122_124753Thanksgiving is only a few days away which means holiday baking has already begun or is about to begin shortly. A staple of most American’s Thanksgiving feast is the pumpkin pie. Although I love a slice of traditional pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream I also enjoy developing desserts inspired by classic flavors. This year I chose pumpkin pie and created these pumpkin pie pudding bites to suppress my creative itch.

20171122_124734Despite my love for pumpkin pie I understand it can be a difficult pie to master, especially for novice bakers. Anything custard based can be tricky and the smallest mistake can be all the difference between the perfect pie and disaster. Of course you can always buy a pie from the bakery or supermarket but many families enjoy the baking process and passing a dish they made themselves with love. That is where these pumpkin pie pudding bites can help. If you do not want to take on the task of baking a pumpkin pie from scratch but also do not want to miss out on the great taste that is pumpkin pie, these bites are the answer to all of your problems.

20171133Not only do these bites channel all the flavor and texture profiles of traditional pumpkin pie (with half the effort), they are also extremely portable and the perfect size for little fingers or those prone to overindulging. Try making them in place of a traditional pie if you need a quick last minute dessert, as a portion controlled offering for the health conscious, a mess free treat at the kid’s table, or as an interesting addition to your classic offerings.

Pumpkin Pie Pudding Bites

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 1 ¾ cups Milk
  • 1 Large Egg
  • ½ cup canned Unsweetened Pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 pkg. Puff Pastry Shells
  • ¼ cup Chopped Walnuts
  • Dash of Salt
  • ¼ cup Heavy Cream

 

Preparation

  1. Combine 6 tbsp. sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan over medium heat. Combine the milk and egg and stir well with a whisk. Gradually add the milk mixture to sugar mixture, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.
  2. Combine pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl, stirring well. Slowly add the pumpkin mixture to the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Place pan over low heat and cook for 3 minutes, or until thoroughly heated (do not boil), stirring constantly. Transfer pudding into a bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap. Chill.
  3. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and coat foil with cooking spray. Place the remaining 2 tbsp. sugar, walnuts, and dash of salt in a small skillet. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves and is golden, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently to coat nuts. Transfer nuts to the prepared baking sheet and cool completely. Once cool, coarsely chop nuts.
  4. Prepare puff pastry shells according to package directions. Cool completely. Place cream in a bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fill shells with chilled pudding. Top each filled shell with a dollop of whipped cream and chopped nuts. Serve immediately (if not serving immediately, wait to whip the cream and top bites).

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: SUSAN RUSSO
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Skinny Roasted Banana Pudding

20170726_155542In the south, banana pudding is a quintessential summer dessert. It is a valued traditional fare like cheesecake is to New Yorkers. Despite all of its southern charm, traditional banana pudding harbors an enormous amount of calories and saturated fat. As much as I love traditional recipes they don’t quite fit into a healthy lifestyle I try to lead. I needed to find balance, a way to slim down traditional recipes without losing their classic flavors.

20170726_155602I usually have bananas on hand because both of my daughter’s love them. Problem is both of my daughter’s love them and the second I use them for a recipe they will request them all day and refuse to eat anything else. Thankfully, my preschooler has been particularly picky lately and has not been requesting bananas while my youngest has had tummy troubles from the formula to milk transition and definitely does not need anymore binding foods. This caused my bunch of bananas to hit the overly ripe stage and make them free to use for baking.

20170726_151850Now that I had bananas I had to figure out how to shave down the average traditional recipe’s 800 calories, 49 grams of fat, and 19 grams saturated fat without losing the taste everyone falls in love with upon first bite. My first idea was to enhance the banana flavor in order to compensate for the loss of richness sacrificed along with the heavy cream. I know from my culinary school days that when you roast a banana the naturally occurring sugars concentrate and take on a caramelized flavor. This would allow me to boost the flavor of the custard and reduce the amount of added sugar as well. The only problem with this approach is the texture of the roasted bananas becomes too soft to slice for the banana layers that adorn the custard base. My solution was to roast only the bananas needed for the custard as they would be mashed anyway and keep the sliced bananas fresh so they would retain their shape and texture.

20170726_152128To finish up my recipe makeover I swapped 2% milk for the heavy cream or half & half found in traditional recipes. The added richness from the roasted bananas more than made up for the taste lost along with the fat. For the topping I used light whipping cream over heavy cream to save even more calories and fat. Even though the whipped topping doesn’t hold a stiff peak like it would have if made with heavy cream, it is not necessary for this recipe. After all the tweaking, this recipe saves over 500 calories, 44 grams of fat, and almost 17 grams saturated fat per serving without losing a bit of good ole’ southern charm!

20170726_155634Note: If you are not serving the entire pudding right away you will want to prepare just enough whipped cream for what you are serving rather than spreading the full amount across the entire pudding as the final layer. This whipped cream is not stabilized in order to save calories and fat so it will lose its hold over time (approximately 2 hours of holding time). Rather than ruining the entire pudding due to weeping, simply whip up some fresh whipped cream with each serving.

 

Skinny Roasted Banana Pudding

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 ripe Bananas; unpeeled (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat Milk
  • 2/3 cup Sugar; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Whipping Cream
  • 45 Vanilla Wafers; divided

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 2 unpeeled bananas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Carefully peel and place roasted bananas in a small bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth or use an immersion blender. Peel and cut remaining bananas into ½-inch thick slices.
  2. Combine milk and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer but do not boil.
  3. In a medium bowl combine milk, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs. Stir well with a whisk. Gradually add the hot milk mixture to the sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return the newly combined mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add mashed bananas, butter, and vanilla, stirring until the butter melts. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 15 minutes or until mixture comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  4. Whip cream to stiff peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream into the cooled pudding mixture. Spread 1 cup of custard evenly into the bottom of an 11-x-7 inch baking dish or individual ramekins. Top with 20 vanilla wafers and half of the banana slices. Spoon half of the remaining custard over the banana slices. Repeat procedure by placing 20 vanilla wafers, remaining banana slices, and remaining custard. Spread the remaining whipped cream evenly over the pudding layers. Crush the remaining 5 vanilla wafers and sprinkle over the top. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: SIDNEY FRY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Skinny Citrus Pudding

20170216_134210We still have a few more weeks of winter before we officially hit spring despite many places across the country experiencing milder temperatures than usual. For many across the nation, winter is a time when it is harder to find fresh, in season produce to utilize. Citrus is currently one of the select finds currently in season across the nation and in abundance this time of year. If you find yourself with a lot of citrus and want to experiment with something new than this recipe is just for you.

20170216_133233Some of you may look at this and be confused thinking it is more like a citrus curd and not a pudding, but I assure you it is indeed a pudding. This pudding uses cornstarch as a thickener and a curd does not use cornstarch. If you begin eating this with the mindset of a traditional pudding you will probably be a little shocked. It is tart so be warned. Don’t be tempted to add more sugar. If you want it to be a little tamer than I suggest cutting back on the orange zest by ¼ tsp. If you are looking for a different type of light dessert that is inexpensive and easy to prepare than give this recipe a go. It surely will not disappoint!

20170216_133225Skinny Citrus Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Grated Orange Zest
  • 1 cup Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 cup Tangerine Juice
  • 3 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ cup Heavy Whipping Cream; divided
  • Mint; optional

Preparation:

  1. Combine the sugar and orange zest in a small saucepan; crush with spatula or a wooden spoon to excrete oils of zest into sugar (sugar will turn yellowish-orange in color).
  2. Stir in the tangerine juice, orange juice, cornstarch, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and butter. Pour the pudding into a bowl; cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap and chill.
  3. Place cream in bowl and beat with a mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold half of the cream into the pudding.
  4. To serve: Spoon ½ cup pudding into dessert bowls or glasses. Top each serving with 1 tbsp. of whipped cream and a sprig of mint (if desired).

 

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(½ cup pudding & 1 tbsp. cream)

 

citruspuddingnutritionlabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 9 Smart Points, 5 Points Plus, or 4 Traditional Points

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: DEBORAH MADISON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Lemon Pudding Cake

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Today I was trying to finish my family tree on Ancestors.com to one day give to my daughter and any other future children so that they will know where they came from. While taking a break from my research I decided to bake. Sticking with the theme of the past I chose to make a forgotten recipe I came across a few years ago called Lemon Pudding Cake. This cake is thought to have been a variation off of flour puddings from the late 1700’s like one found in Amelia Simmons’ 1796 cookbook “American Cookery”.

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Although the flour pudding recipe from Ms. Simmons is said to be an abomination to our modern taste buds, I must say this lost recipe is magical on so many levels. Not only does it taste great but one batter manages to create two separate layers… the top being airy like a souffle and the bottom dense and creamy as a custard. Although considered a cake, this dessert is somewhere between a cake and a custard.

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You may be wondering what causes such culinary sorcery.  Well it all starts with the batter, which is rather atypical. It contains very little flour, a ton of egg, and a lot more liquid than usual. It is the large amount of liquid that actually causes the magic. The water in the liquid ingredients actually sinks to the bottom of the dish and takes the batter with it. This leaves the egg whites to float to the top and give the airy souffle-like cake over the custard base.

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Although practically forgotten in our modern era this cake has proven to me to stand the test of time. I’m sure my grandfather would have loved to have tried this since he had such a love for Lemon Meringue Pie and this has all the same tastes of Lemon Meringue Pie but in a cake/custard hybrid.

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Notes: To have the most prevalent lemon flavor, it takes fresh squeezed lemon juice and a bit of lemon extract. Do nut use bottled lemon juice. Be sure to use the cornstarch and not substitute more flour as it firms the custard base without distracting from the lemon flavor. To prevent the top layer of egg whites from deflating, add the sugar slowly and evenly over the egg whites while whipping. This will help stabilize them and result in a high, fluffy golden cake. To keep the custard base from curdling like scrambled eggs while baking, it is essential to put the ramekins in a hot water bath. This keeps the base from cooking too quickly and results in a creamy custard. This formula serves 6 and is best served warm or at room temperature the day it is made.

Lemon Pudding Cake

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Cornstarch
  • 1 ¼ cups Sugar; divided
  • 5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 2 tsp. Pure Lemon Extract
  • ½ cup Fresh Lemon Juice; about 4 Lemons
  • 5 Eggs; separated
  • 1 ¼ cups Whole Milk; room temperature
  • Boiling Water

Formula:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position. Heat oven to 325°. Grease 6 Ramekins and place inside a large roasting pan.
  2. Mix flour and cornstarch together in a bowl. Set aside. With an electric mixer, beat ½ cup sugar, butter, and lemon extract on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in yolks, one at a time, until incorporated. Reduce speed to medium-low and add the flour mixture, mixing until incorporated. Slowly add the milk and lemon juice, mixing until just combined.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. As mixer continues to run, slowly and evenly add the remaining sugar until the whites become firm and appear glossy. Whisk 1/3 of the whites into the cake batter. Gently fold the remaining whites, one scoop at a time, until well combined.
  4. Spoon the batter evenly into each prepared ramekin. Carefully place pan on the lowest oven rack and pour boiling water into the pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the surface becomes golden brown and the edges are set. The center should jiggle slightly if gently shaken, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool at least 15 minutes. Serve while warm or at room temperature.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM KRIS WIDICAN

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

Chocolate Blackout Cake

 

chocolate blackout4As spring approaches here in Florida so does the increase in the number of Spring Break tourists. As I was driving home from work the past few days, I have noticed an abundance of New York State licence plates, so it is only fitting that today’s post focuses on a treat straight from Brooklyn. Chocolate Blackout Cake originated from Ebinger’s Baking Company, which opened its doors in 1898 on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. Arthur Ebinger, the creator of the first death by chocolate cake, named the confection after blackout drills conducted by the Civilian Defense Corps during World War II. As Navy ships were sent out to sea from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the streets of Brooklyn were “blacked out” to avoid silhouetting the battleships against the backdrop of Brooklyn and Manhattan. This cake is meant to resemble the blackout as it has dark chocolate layers which tower high to resemble the Manhattan skyline.

chocolate blackout5To make the cake layers dark and full of chocolate flavor, there are a few culinary tricks that are simple and totally worth it. Start with cocoa powder, and bloom it with some butter in a pan on the stove. Once bloomed, another culinary secret is added which enhances chocolate flavor… that being coffee. Perhaps the best part of all of this little process is not only am I starting the cake batter on the stove but will also finish it there, making for a quicker process, less dishes to clean later, and no messy transfers between bowls! As for the frosting…err I mean pudding (which is probably my favorite part of this whole cake as I am not a traditional frosting fan) the most important part is to ensure it has a velvety rich chocolate taste but also enough stability to cling to the sides of the cake and adhere the cake crumbs to itself. Using half & half plus milk achieves a satiny quality with a bit of sweetness which helps to prevent an over bitterness which can happen when too much chocolate is on the palate. Once the cake is completely cooled and the pudding chilled and set (be sure you allow enough time or  the cake will be gummy and the pudding will run) you can assemble the pastry equivalent of a New York City skyscraper.

chocolate blackout3After I assembled my cake, I realized that I had some extra crumbs and a generous amount of pudding. Since we are in the age of going green and I didn’t want to see any product go to waste, I decided to utilize my extra pudding and cake crumbs in a simple yet innovative way, perfect for parties or even dessert for a weeknight dinner. I shall call them, Blackout Parfaits. To make them you will need parfait glasses of your choice. I own the tall and thin variety but short and stumpy or even a shot glass would work just fine. To neatly fill the glasses, I filled a piping bag with the remaining chocolate pudding and piped it into the glass. For the topping, I used some of the extra chocolate cake layer crumbs and sprinkled them over the piped pudding. It’s as simple and quick as that!

Chocolate Blackout Cake

Ingredients:

*Chocolate Pudding*

  • 1 ¼ cups Sugar
  • ¼ cup Cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 2 cups Half & Half
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 6 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

*Cake Layers*

  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
  • 1 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¾ cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup Coffee, brewed
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Formula:

  1. For the Pudding: Whisk sugar, cornstarch, salt, half & half, and milk in a saucepan set over medium heat. Add chocolate and whisk constantly until chocolate melts and mixture begins to bubble, about 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla and transfer pudding to a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day. 
  2. For the Cake Layers: Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 325°. Grease two 8 in. cake pans. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Take off the heat and whisk in coffee, buttermilk, and both sugars until fully combined and sugars are dissolved. Whisk in eggs and vanilla, then slowly mix in the flour mixture. 
  3. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake approximately 30-35 minutes. Cool layers in the pans for 15 minutes, then remove and finish cooling to room temperature on a wire cooling rack for at least 1 hour. To assemble the cake cut each layer in half horizontally. Crumble one cake layer into crumbs and set aside. Place one cake layer on a cardboard round and set on a decorating table. Spread a generous amount of pudding over the first cake layer then top with another cake layer. Repeat with another generous helping of pudding and top with the final cake layer. Spread pudding evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the cake crumbs evenly over the top and sides of the cake and press lightly to adhere the crumbs to the pudding. Serve or store for up to 2 days. 

Special Thanks To:

Peter Mendoros – Photography

& Jeremy Sauer

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012