A Dairy-Free South American Delight
If you love coconut and treasure its taste and health benefits as I do, this dessert is one you'll add to your list of easy favorite healthy treats.
TEMBLEQUE gets its name from the Spanish word tiembla which means to shake—also likened to the Spanish word temblor which is used to describe an earthquake or trembling—very appropriate for Ecuador known for its earthquakes. It's a pudding thickened with cornstarch resulting in a slightly firm pudding with a custard texture that has a little jiggle when shakenâ€”similar to Mexican flan but with its own unique flavor and texture.
This healthy (and admittingly habit-forming) delight is creamy, cool and most of all intensely coconut. The pudding can be poured into individual molds or into a 9 x 9 square pan and served in slices. I like to do the individual servings if I'm making them as a daily snack or serving to dinner guests. However, if I'm taking it to a party I make it in a pan for easy slicing and serving. It's very versatile because you can top with any fruit.
Tembleque (Coconut Pudding)—Serves: 6
- 4 cups coconut milk (canned works best)
- 1/2 cup of cornstarch or arrowroot
- 2/3 cup of Lakanto (monk fruit).natural sweetener
- 1/2 teaspoon fine natural salt
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier liqueur or essential oil of orange or tangerine
- Ground cinnamon to taste (I use 1 heaping teaspoon)
- Lubricate the inside of six 4-oz ramekin molds with softened coconut oil, set aside.
- In medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except cinnamon and whisk until well blended.
- Place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a slow boil and is smooth and thick, about 5 minutes. DO NOT allow it to reach a roaring boil.
- Pour the pudding into prepared molds.
- Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.
Health Benefits of Key Ingredients:
Coconut milk—Coconuts are highly nutritious and rich in fiber,
vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron,
selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
Unlike cow's milk, coconut milk is lactose free so can be used
as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance.
Cornstarch—strictly used as a vegetable source for thickening,
has little food value and is a carbohydrate; doesn't essentially
add food value. If you are avoiding corn products you can use
Lakanto (Monk fruit) Sweetener—an all-natural sweetener
used in the same quantity as sugar in a recipe. It comes in
Original (white like refined sugar) or Golden (like brown
sugar). Over a thousand years ago, in remote mountain
highlands of Asia, a group of Buddhist monks, called the
LoHan, achieved enlightenment through meditation, prayer
and pure living. On the slopes of a primeval forest, the monks
discovered and cultivated a rare fruit prized for its sweetness.
This sacred fruit was named Monk Fruit, or LoHan Guo, after
its devoted caretakers and was used in elixirs to increase chi,
or life energy.
Monk Fruit was used for centuries in eastern traditional
herbalism to increase chi and well-being, earning it the
nickname "The Immortals' Fruit." We still grow and harvest
Monk Fruit for LAKANTO® in the same pristine area and
according to traditional and environmental methods.
Born from a proprietary mixture of the high-purity Monk Fruit
extract and Erythritol, LAKANTO® is a delicious, all-natural,
zero calorie, zero glycemic sweetener with the sumptuous rich
taste of sugar. Unlike most fruits, whose sweetness comes
from fructose, Monk Fruit's sweetness comes from natural
mogrosides that are much sweeter than sugar. Modern
research shows that Monk Fruit extract does not elevate blood
sugar or insulin, making it a perfect sweetener for blood sugar
and weight management. And it does NOT feed yeast or
induce inflammation as sugar does.
Grand Marnier—an orange-flavored liqueur created in 1880 by
Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle. It's made by blending cognac
brandy, distilled essence of bitter orange, and sugar. Yes, it's
liquor. If you are avoiding liquor you can substitute pure
essential oil of orange.
Cinnamon is a powerful spice used medicinally around the
world for thousands of years. This ancient spice was once so prized that civilizations went to war over
it. History dates the use of cinnamon to
over 4,000 years. In the 1800's, supplies
of cinnamon were discovered and planted
in the Indonesian islands; later, trees
were successfully grown in South America
where it once was the spice of the elite.
Today it is used daily in many cultures,
specifically Latin and Asian cuisine
because of its widespread health benefits,
not to mention its distinctly sweet,
warming taste and ease of availability and
According to researchers, out of twenty-six
of the most popular herbs and medicinal
spices in the world, cinnamon actually
ranks number one in terms of its protective
The unique smell, color, and flavor of
cinnamon is due to the oily part of the
tree on which it grows. The health benefits
of cinnamon come from the bark of the
Cinnamomum tree—the bark contains
several special compounds responsible for
its many health promoting properties—including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid,
Researchers concluded that the health
benefits of cinnamon can be obtained in
the form of its pure bark, essential oils, in
ground spice form (which is bark powder),
or in extract form when its special phenolic
compounds, flavonoids, and antioxidants
are isolated. These compounds make
cinnamon one of the most beneficial
spices on earth, giving it antioxidant,
anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antimicrobial,
immunity-boosting, cancer and
heart disease-protecting abilities.