A unique dessert for a wonderful Abba


By Ilana Meiller

“I miss eating bread pudding,” my father suddenly told me on a recent afternoon. The timing of our conversation could not have been more serendipitous, as I immediately knew that I would surprise my Abba with his favorite dessert on Father’s Day (I hope he is not reading this.) In his honor, this recipe boasts ingredients that my Abba likes — walnuts, cinnamon, raisins — but it is easily customizable to each person’s taste.

Vegan bread pudding with chocolate sauce
Vegan bread pudding with chocolate sauce (Ilana Meiller)

Bread pudding is a decadent dessert enjoyed internationally for its simplicity and limitless variations of breads, add-ins and toppings. Basically, bread pudding is made with stale bread soaked in eggs, sugar, milk and butter. It is also baked with spices, dried or fresh fruits and/or nuts, and then may be served with whipped cream, ice cream or sauce.

I, however, veganized this dish and even tried it out with coconut sugar. This unrefined sweetener is made from the sap of coconut palm trees. And contrary to popular belief that coconut sugar tastes similar to coconut, its flavor is actually comparable to brown sugar.

Besides the coconut sugar and raisins, I am certain that this chocolate sauce will satisfy my Abba’s sweet tooth. Indeed, it is an optional accompaniment to the pudding, but I strongly recommend it — if you’re not inclined to the other toppings previously mentioned. Here, the vegan chocolate chips are natural and gluten free, which reinforce my family’s commitment to consuming the least-processed foods.

Speaking of family, I encourage you to taste test this recipe and dedicate it to your father, relatives or friends on this special day. Also, this bread pudding is so simple to prepare that your children will love helping you tear up the bread and will gladly add, mix, pour (and lick) these yummy ingredients.

Happy Father’s Day!

Vegan bread pudding with chocolate sauce

yields 4-6 servings

Ingredients for the bread pudding:

12 slices whole wheat bread (use stale bread if you desire a denser pudding)

2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

2 tablespoons olive oil for baking (plus for greasing)

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons oat milk (or any plant-based milk of your choice)

½ cup coconut sugar

1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup raw walnuts

1/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with some olive oil; set aside.

Tear each slice of bread into small pieces into a large bowl. Remember, children may volunteer to help out.

Add the ground flaxseeds, oil and milk to the bread and stir well to combine. Mash the bread with a fork; it’s fine if it’s a little chunky.

Now, add the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract to the mixture and blend thoroughly.

Stir in the raisins and walnuts. Once everything is incorporated, pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for 70 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Note: Allow the bread pudding to cool completely. You may also place it in the refrigerator.

Ingredients for the chocolate sauce:

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

4-5 tablespoons of any plant-based milk of your choice

While the bread pudding is baking, simmer the milk and chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat.

Stir constantly, making sure that it does not stick or burn. The chocolate chips should melt in about 3 minutes.

Allow to cool and drizzle on top of the bread pudding when ready to serve.

Ilana Meiller was born in Israel and works as a school-based mental health professional
in Baltimore County.

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