Put me on a desert island with one dessert, and I’ll pick bread pudding. Put me on a desert island with rhubarb and strawberries, and I might actively evade rescue. Strawberry rhubarb bread pudding is one of my all-time favorites dishes, and this vegan version is every bit as scrumptious as a full-fat dairy one–it’s a perfect mix of rich yet light, tart yet sweet, and humble yet titillating. And it’s easy as pie (I think someone should consider retooling that idiom to “easy as bread pudding”). It’s really just a glorified casserole, but ah, what a glorious casserole! My favorite trick with bread pudding is to bake it in a springform pan–instead of having a baking-pan dessert, you can instead unmold it for a slightly more glamorous presentation. You can also use a loaf pan and scoop it out with an ice cream scoop, or use a muffin pan to make individual puddings.
6 cups stale bread cubes (about 1 lb)
1 cup sliced rhubarb
2 cups sliced strawberries
2-2 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (rice, almond, hemp, soy)
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder or tapioca flour
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees and lightly grease a 9 by 5 loaf pan or a springform pan.
2. Place bread in a large bowl. In another bowl add 1 1/2 cups milk, maple syrup, and vanilla–whisk until combined. In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup milk and the arrowroot powder till no lumps remain, then add to other milk mixture and stir. Pour milk mixture over bread and stir to coat every piece; let sit for at least 15 minutes for liquid to saturate the bread.
3. If bread looks dry, depending on type and staleness, it might need more milk. If so, continue adding 1/2 cup milk at a time until all break is pretty soaked–it should be mushy. Fold in rhubarb and strawberries and put in pan.
4. Bake about 30 minutes, or until top is slightly browned and firm. Allow to cool a bit, then scoop, slice or unmold from springform pan, serve with strawberry rhubarb compote.
Makes 8-10 servings.
By Melissa Breyer, Senior Editor, Healthy & Green Living