Last St. Patrick’s Day, I actually spent in Ireland and believe me it was pure insanity. The streets of Dublin were lined wall to wall with crazy partiers (most of them tourists), every pub, bar and restaurant was packed to the brim and there was even a parade to top it all off! I found the insanity a little much to cope with (I much prefered Arthur Guinness Day- like St. Pats but only for Irish people lol- in September), but the arrival of the holiday this year has me feeling nostalgic for good old Irish hospitality and humour. I mean how could I not miss a country with scenery this amazing:
When I was perusing many of the blogs I like to keep up with, within the last week and a half I noticed lots of green foods popping up. And for what else but St. Patrick’s Day! Much of the foods were peppermint and mint themed, which makes sense given the colour choice. But when I got to thinking about the foods I remembered in Ireland, peppermint is definitely not one of them. In fact I honestly can’t remember eating anything minty the entire year I was there except after-dinner mints and a couple peppermint mochas from Starbucks. So for my St. Patrick’s day post and recipes I decided to go a little more traditional.
Irish desserts and food in general tend to be centered on homey, down-to-earth, and comforting flavours. Some of the most popular desserts are trifle, bread pudding, caramel slices and banoffee pie (a banana, cream and toffee concoction). At first I wanted to do a banoffee pie, because since the banoffee pies on menus were never free of dairy or eggs, I never tried one and it looked sooo delicious. But I did a little research and found out it’s actually English! Seems funny to me since most people in Ireland at least have a mild dislike for the English, but I mean it is delicious sounding so who can blame them. I will have to save this recipe for another day.
I ended up deciding on bread pudding with an irish soda bread base for my St. Patrick’s Day post. It’s usually filled with eggs and cream so I never got to indulge. I also decided to serve it with Irish coffee (another thing I never got to have in it’s purest form!). And of course I decided to healthify it a bit, veganize it, and rid it of gluten. And it was a stunning success!
I mean I’m no bread pudding expert but I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who would be able to tell this dessert is vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free. It’s just so rich, sweet and caramelly. I think I’ve fallen in love with bread pudding.
It’s a little bit of a process. I split it up into 2 days. I made the irish soda bread first, cut it up and stored it in the fridge, then made the pudding the next day. It’s really easy despite the very long instructions, I promise lol.
Gluten-Free, Vegan Irish Soda Bread Pudding (also Refined Sugar-Free)
First make your bread….
- 1 cup vegan buttermilk (I used 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar + almond milk to equal 1 cup)
- 1 tbsp ground chia mixed with 5 tbsp water (for the egg/binder)
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 cups gluten-free flour blend (I used this one- the basic version)
- 1 tsp
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup currants
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil it.
Make your buttermilk and set aside, giving it time to curdle, then make your chia egg and allow it time to gel.
Combine the buttermilk, chia egg and baking soda in a bowl and give it time to work.
Add the flour blend, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix it. Then add the 2 tbsp coconut oil and process until it has the consistency of small pebbles.
Transfer the flour mixture to a large bowl and add the currants stir until mixed evenly. Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined. You should get a fairly thick batter that will hold it’s shape when you put in on the baking sheet. If you don’t, add a little more flour until you get the right consistency.
Scoop the batter onto a baking sheet and shape into a round disc. Score it into 5 segments (to allow steam to escape and for aesthetics ;)). Put the baking sheet in the oven and turn the temperature down to 375ºF. Bake for 55 min, rotating once halfway through baking. Mine was starting to look a little brown at the halfway point so I covered it with aluminum foil for the last half of baking.
Let it cool before cutting!
At this point, when I tasted the bread I wasn’t sure I liked it…it tasted a little beany from the the flour blend I used. I didn’t eat too much of it except for a small slice to test it. But I figured since I was converting it to bread pudding form it would be fine and it sure was :)
So I cut up the bread into small cubes and stored in the fridge. You can do this the day before you make the pudding.
- 6 cups cubed irish soda bread (or bread of choice- raisin bread like the Ezekial Sprouted kind would probably be awesome if not GF)
- 4 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 10 tbsp water (for the eggs)
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups almond milk (I used plain, unsweetened)
- 1 recipe Raisin Jam: (1 cup raisins, 2 tbsp orange juice, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and nutmeg, 1/8 tsp salt)
First you want to make the raisin jam so it can cool. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 10 min. It should leave you with only a small amount of liquid. Allow to cool slightly them blend until you get a thick, but spreadable jam. Set aside to cool.
Now make the bread mixture. Put the flax mixture, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg , salt and vanilla in a bowl and mix together. Then add the almond milk and mix until the sugar is dissolved. In a separate large bowl, put the cubed bread, then pour the milk mixture on top. Press down on the bread to make sure it is all covered by the milk. I used a potato masher to do this, but use whatever you have! Let this sit for 40-50 min so the bread can absorb the milk mixture.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a square baking tin with coconut oil. Put half of the bread cubes in the bottom of the baking dish. Spread with the raisin jam, leaving a small border around the edges of the tin. Top with the remaining bread and then add some of the remaining milk mixture. I added about 1/2 cup to the baking pan.
Put in the oven and bake for 50 min. About halfway through rotate the pan. Mine looked like most of the liquid had been absorbed at this point so I spooned about about another half cup into the pan and put it back in the oven. It should be nice and golden brown with the liquid absorbed when it’s ready. Allow to cool on a rack for at least 10 min before slicing so all the componenets can gel.
Now this is not required but I highly recommend creating a “caramel sauce” to drizzle overtop- super simple recipe. Take 3 tbsp agave and 2 tsp chia seeds and whisk together very well. Let sit for several minutes, whisking every so often. You could just drizzle agave, but the chia seeds sneak in a little more nutrition :)
Enjoy with an Irish coffee if desired ;). I made mine with cold-pressed coffee since I’ve been loving it so much these days, but feel free to use regular old brewed! Brown sugar is normally used but coconut sugar makes an excellent replacement as it has a rich, sweet caramelly flavour like brown sugar. I replaced the heavy cream usually used with canned coconut milk (full fat) that had been in the fridge so it got super thick :)
Vegan Irish Coffee (Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)
- 1.5 oz cold pressed coffee + 4.5 oz hot water (or 6 oz hot coffee)
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- 1.5 oz. Irish whiskey (or your favourite whiskey, optional)
- coconut milk/cream to top
Mix the first 3 ingredients in a glass then scoop coconut cream on top. It should sit on top of the coffee and not be mixed in until ready to drink (the Irish are VERY picky about the way their traditional beverages are served, especially Guinness lol).
Millions of people all over the world are/have already indulged in the name of St. Patricks day, ranging from the Irish, to those with Irish-heritage, to those with no connections whatsoever and just want an excuse. I plan to indulge as well, just maybe with less Guinness, and more bread pudding and Irish coffee. Enjoy the festivities!