Lent is the season of reflection and preparation before the chocolatey celebrations of Easter. This time of year always inspires me to dip my toe into some form of foodie deprivation. I’m not going as extreme as fasting but thought a stint of veganism might give me that middle ground. How wrong could I be! Hardly feels like penance, I’m enjoying some creativity around dairy free. Here is my version of Jamie Oliver’s vegan take on an old time favourite.
50 g dairy-free margarine , (suitable for baking – I use Pure Soya spread)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp of ground ginger
1 small orange , zest of
5 large thick slices of whole-meal bread
40 g dried cranberries or goji berries
20 g sultanas
2 tablespoons quality apricot jam
For the custard:
2 drops of vanilla essence
400 ml organic soya milk , unsweetened
2 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Combine the margarine, cinnamon, ginger and orange zest in a bowl. Use a small amount to grease a medium ovenproof dish, then spread the remaining margarine onto the bread.
2. Halve the bread slices diagonally, then place roughly a third into the dish in a single layer. Scatter a third of the cranberries into the dish along with a third of the sultanas. Cover with another layer of bread, scatter with more dried fruit, then cover with the remaining bread. Set aside, reserving the remaining dried fruit for later.
3. To make the custard, add custard ingredients and 150ml of water. Whisk well until smooth and combined, then place over a medium–low heat. Simmer gently for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the custard is almost boiling and is of custardy consistency.
4. Pour the custard over the bread then scatter the remaining dried fruit on top. Leave to soak for around 20 minutes. Then place in the hot oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until lightly golden and starting to set.
5. Meanwhile, gently warm the jam in a pan over a low heat. Once the pudding is ready, brush over the warm jam, then return to the oven for a further 5 minutes, or until golden and sticky. Allow to cool slightly. Divine!