Today’s recipe is a rich, velvety dessert, much healthier than most, with delicious ingredients you never would guess from tasting it. It’s got a surprise – don’t tell anyone what is in it and have them try to guess. It is fun to watch their faces when you tell them the secret ingredient is avocado! I have modified the recipe a bit to make it less complicated and easier to put together.
The first time I had a version of this dessert was when it was served at the opening night of the annual IACP conference in one of my favorite cities, Austin, Texas. In the soaring rotunda of the State History Museum there were tables filled with samples of Texas regional cuisines. From Frito Pies and salmon with salsa on tortilla chips to braised short ribs, it was a feast for the eyes and palate.
We wandered around the hall, sampling all the treats, but when we got to the team from Whole Foods’ (headquartered in Austin) there was a huge line. They were serving a chocolate dessert that was one of the big hits of the night. A creamy whipped chocolate pudding with fresh berries and spiced pecans. Just when you think you know exactly what you are eating, you get a look at the ingredient list, and WHOA, there is avocado in there! You would never know by the taste, but it helps create an amazingly smooth and creamy mousse without needing any dairy. One bite and you will fall in love just like I did!
When you look at an avocado, you have to wonder who the first person was that figured out that this ugly, bumpy, fist-sized lump was edible. Some brave soul no doubt. They are easy to peel, but you have to know the tricks to safely get the pit out of the center. I’ve outlined it in today’s Kitchen Skill below. Another option is to get one of OXOs Avocado 3-in-1 Slicers. I don’t normally go in for gadgets, but this is one that works really well and if you are eating avocados regularly, it is a good investment.
Avocados are one of the best things for you to eat. They are packed with Vitamin E, oleic acid, monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, are good for eye and heart health, they lower your cholesterol and risk of strokes, and are a key ingredient in the fight against prostate, oral, and breast cancers.
Don’t be afraid of the fat content of avocado because it is the beneficial type of fat that boosts your good cholesterol. If you are going to cut back, cut out fried foods or other less healthy options and leave the avocado in your diet. Adding avocado to a salad greatly increases the absorption of lycopene and beta-carotene, two key carotenoid antioxidants. This is a great, healthy fruit to add to your menus.
You can top this pudding with anything you like, from fresh seasonal fruit to nuts, whipped cream, or even crumbled bacon. Whatever suits your fancy is the perfect choice!
Give this mousse a try and you will be amazed at how creamy, luscious, and satisfying it is!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
To ripen an avocado, place it in a brown paper bag and leave it on the counter for a day or two until it gives slightly when gently pressed. If you are short on time and need ripe avocados quickly, add an apple to the paper bag. Apples give off ethylene gas, which hastens the ripening process.
This is naturally gluten-free, but as always, double check the labels on the processed ingredients and if you have any questions, contact the manufacturer. For dairy-free, make sure you are using dark chocolate and non-dairy whipped topping or other options.
Kitchen Skill: How to Slice and Pit an Avocado
Cut the avocado in half lengthwise, sliding the knife around the pit. Twist the halves apart in opposite directions, and holding the one with the pit in the palm of your hand, smack the pit with the blade of a heavy-duty chef’s knife. Twist the knife and the pit will come right out of the meat. If this method scares you or you have children helping in the kitchen, you can use a small spoon to scoop under the pit and pop it out. Use the largest cooking spoon you have, and run it between the meat and the skin, scooping it out in one motion. You can then slice or dice it as needed.
- Date Paste
- 1-1/2 cups dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup peanut butter, almond butter or other nut spread
- 1-1/2 cups date paste (from above)
- 1 avocado, split lengthwise, seed removed, scooped out of shell
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract or paste
- 1-1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 to 4 cups coconut milk or coconut water, as needed
- Toppings - optional
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream
- Whipped coconut milk (chill thoroughly, whip just the solidified portion, discarding the watery liquid)
- Shaved dark chocolate or dark chocolate chunks
- Dark Chocolate covered coffee beans or nuts
- Fresh seasonal berries
- Spiced pecans
- Mint sprigs
- Prepare Date Paste: Place the dates and water in blender. Blend until it becomes a smooth, thick paste. Add a touch more water if needed. Use a flexible spatula to scoop the paste out of the blender and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
- Make Chocolate Pudding: In the same blender, combine the peanut butter, date paste, avocado, vanilla, and cocoa until smooth. Add coconut milk as needed until you have a light, fluffy mousse consistency.
- Toppings: If you want to, you can use any of those listed above to serve atop or decorate with. Adding a sprig of mint always adds a pop of color and a lovely fragrance as you take each bite.
- To Serve: In small glass bowls, wine glasses, or ramekins, scoop or pipe some of the mousse. Sprinkle the tops with any of the suggested toppings and serve.
- Yield: about 6 servings depending on size of containers
Create a New Tradition Today!
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