Unfortunately it still wasn’t great. I took a pouding chomeur recipe and made it refined sugar free. Basically I knew I’d be eating it late at night and a cup and a half of brown sugar, or two cups of maple syrup were not my idea of a night cap. So, I took a bunch of fresh dates and puréed them with water and a few dried dates for the cake part, and then took a whole lot more dried dates and puréed them with water for the syrup. I had a strong feeling it was going to taste watered down, but I did it anyway. I tried to keep the water-sugar ratio decent, but I kind of figured I’d add too much water because my blender is not the greatest, so to get anything resembling a purée you need to add more water than you would hope.
This was a mini disaster, the likes of which I’ve not had since my mousse days. Basically I puréed fine a few times, and then the third time I’d forgotten to tighten the blender bottom all the way and didn’t realize somehow that all the liquid I was adding was just flowing out of the blender all over the counter – under the toaster oven, under the drain board, into my teas. Fortunately my counter top is not perfectly even so it got kind of stuck in small date water reservoirs. A lot of towel-ringing later, and a little bit of swearing, I’d cleaned up the mess and puréed my dates. I’d made a double batch of my version of this delicious dessert because I wanted to make it in the slow cooker. Generally, small batches of things burn in the slow cooker, so better to super size and freeze portions for later. Not a problem as long as it’s delicious. Oh, I also made this dairy-free and gluten-free. I made another gluten-free flour blend, this time with mostly sweet white sorghum flour and brown rice flour (plus some tapioca flour, potato starch flour, sweet white rice flour and guar gum to cover all my bases) and used almond breeze for the milk. These didn’t make the recipe bad. The flour blend you would barely taste. It wouldn’t really mess up the consistency of a pudding cake since it’s supposed to be so liquidy anyway. The almond milk would only make it better by giving more flavour, but I was worried about not having enough salt and enough addictive sugary taste that you’d normally get from brown sugar. What happened was my pudding kind of ended up tasting like my hollow granola – lots of cinnamon, but no sugary bite. This time I had no one to resent but myself. There was certainly no physical activity involved that I could give up.
So I made this for my parents and warned them in advance that there was a 60% chance that the pudding would be good and a 40% chance that it wouldn’t. I wouldn’t be offended if they didn’t like or if they wanted to skip dessert. My mom liked it, but I didn’t, so before my dad could try it I poured over some syrup. It’s supposed to be a maple syrup dessert anyway (according to some recipes) but I don’t do maple syrup for anxiety attack reasons. Basically my body freaks out, and it’s not exactly the most sane body (or mind) when uncontaminated with the liquid.
Anyway, long story short, the pudding actually came out pudding-like. There was some liquid and some cake, and the colour was darker than normal, but that was because of the dates, so it was fine. The taste, though, left a lot to be desired. There’s a reason we use sugar. Real sugar. Honey would ahve been fine. Maple syrup would have been fine, but there’s nothing like brown sugar. I should have at least added some molasses and white sugar substitute, but I feel like sends my body conflicting messages, like a mom and dad fighting in front of a child. Who do I listen to? Who do I believe? Who do I ask for candy?
Anyway, moral of the story is use less water. I think I could get away with using dates if I used more of them, and for that I need a better blender or a few days’ worth of patience while the water dissolved from the purée. Pictures to come.