I remember my mom making simple, home-made puddings out of a few, very basic ingredients—milk, sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch. This inspired me to turn her classic recipe into an easy, plant-based (vegan) pudding dessert: Lavender Sea Salt Vanilla Cream. The classic pudding recipe arose out of the British tradition of making something out of nothing. While the first puddings were made out of savory ingredients, they later started including fruits and nuts. American boiled sweet puddings started showing up in the 19th century, making them one of our favorite, classic comfort foods. One of my father’s all time favorite foods is tapioca pudding—a derivation of the classic American boiled pudding.
That’s why I love this simple vanilla cream recipe—essentially a pudding—which is based on 4 ingredients: soy milk, maple syrup, corn starch, and vanilla. With this basic vanilla cream pudding recipe, you can make various versions, such as this Lavender Sea Salt Vanilla Cream. I harvested fresh lavender from my garden for this recipe, though you can buy dried lavender at many gourmet food markets, spice shops, or online. Lavender grows so easily in California, I have dozens of bushes year long in my organic garden. It offers a fragrant, licorice-like flavor, and pretty color to many recipes. Plus, some research has documented the calming properties of lavender. This recipe is healthy enough (low in sugar) you could have it for breakfast or a nutritious snack. Prepare it, then pour it into small jelly jars, garnish each jar with lavender and sea salt (gray sea salt, lava sea salt, or wine sea salt—pictured here—looks stunning), chill it, and you have a simple, vegan dessert worth savoring. Pure comfort bliss! You can also pack it up for lunch at work the next day.
Dried lavender to taste (available at spice shops, or online—or your own home garden!)
Sea salt, as desired
Place cornstarch in a medium saucepan and gradually mix in plant-based milk with a whisk until it is smooth, with no lumps.
Add maple syrup and vanilla and heat over medium, stirring constantly with a whisk until smooth (about 3 minutes). Add lavender—just a pinch at a time, until it achieves your desired taste preference (a little goes a long way!).
Remove from heat and cool, stirring with a whisk occasionally, for 10 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and mix well before serving it.
To serve: Fill individual serving dishes with ½ cup cream pudding and sprinkle with sea salt. May garnish with additional lavender or fresh lavender.
For other healthy, plant-based dessert recipes, check out: