Summer is here and that means cherries are beginning to pop up on the grocery store shelves. I found a bag of beautiful dark sweet cherries on somewhat of a sale during my last shopping trip and since cherries are my favorite, naturally I had to get them.
I love to eat cherries by the bowl full just the way they are, but every now and then I like to try something a little different. I kicked around a few ideas and finally settled on this Cherry Maple-Vanilla Pudding Parfait.
I started with a basic vanilla pudding sweetened with Grade B maple syrup so you get a nice maple-y flavor and there’s no need for refined sugar. I also added a little coconut oil for richness, but it’s optional.
Next I made a very simple compote with my lovely sweet cherries. Most compote recipes involve a list of ingredients including alcohol and quite a bit of sugar, something I wanted to avoid. So, I whipped up this easy 2 ingredient compote made with just cherries and apple juice. Be sure to taste the cherries you are using to make sure they are sweet enough. If they are sour you can add a couple tablespoons of coconut sugar, maple syrup, or other sweetener when you add the cherries and juice to the sauce pan. I found my cherries were sweet enough for my tastes so I didn’t need to add any sweetener.
Are you familiar with amaranth? This tiny seed has been cultivated for thousands of years and was a food staple for the Aztecs. It is a complete protein containing all of the essential amino acids and is also a good source of fiber, and iron. The flavor is earthy and slightly nutty and it is naturally gluten free.
There are a number of ways in can be used such as making porridge or popping it into a cereal. For this recipe we’re popping the little seeds. Popping the seeds is quick and simple, but does take a little trial and error if you have never done it before. The thing to know about popping amaranth is it burns very easily. So, work in small batches and have a bowl ready to transfer the popped seeds to. You will likely to need to adjust the heat to find the perfect temperature to pop the seeds without burning them. You may lose a batch or two while you figure out what works best, but have patience because when you get it, it’s a breeze. Now if popping the amaranth seems too daunting you can simply substitute granola in your parfait.
If you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out! Leave a comment below or snap a pic and tag it @weelittlevegans on Instagram so I’ll be sure to see it!
Cherry Maple-Vanilla Pudding Parfait
For the Pudding:
- 1 ½ cup + an additional ½ cup almond milk
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil optional
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
For the Cherry Compote:
- 2 cups cherries, fresh or frozen that have thawed, pitted and chopped
- ½ cup apple juice
- 3-4 tablespoon popped amaranth or granola
- chopped almonds
For the Pudding:
- Whisk cornstarch and salt with ½ cup milk until dissolved.
- Heat 1/1/2 cup milk and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles begin to form around the edges. Do not boil.
- Lower temperature to medium low and stir in cornstarch mixture.
- Stirring continuously, heat pudding until thickened. It should coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and coconut oil, if using.
- Transfer to bowl and allow to cool.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours of until thickened to a pudding consistency.
For the Cherry Compote:
- In a small sauce pan combine prepared cherries and apple juice.
- Heat over medium high heat until boiling and then reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
- Continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Cherries will stain so be sure to use a spoon you don't mind getting stained.
- With the back of the spoon lightly muddle the fruit as it cooks.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.
- Heat a pan over medium high heat. A drop of water should dance and quickly evaporated when pan is hot enough.
- Add no more than 1 tablespoon amaranth to the pan, cover with lid, and gently shimmy the pan around. The amaranth should begin to pop within 1-2 seconds and should be done within 10 seconds. Amaranth burns very easily so remove it from heat as soon as the popping has slowed down and most of the amaranth has popped. You may need to adjust the temperature if you find the amaranth is burning. Slightly higher than medium worked well for me.
- Pour popped amaranth into a bowl and continue the process until you reach the desired amount.
To Assemble the Parfait:
- Begin layering pudding, cherry compote, and additional toppings into small dish any way you like.