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Gluten-Free Vegan Blueberry Bread Pudding: Food Allergy Recipe Challenge #10

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Photo by Judah Chivian.

This week I’m writing my blog from Cape Cod.  Usually I pen it from Los Angeles, where food allergy shopping is a much easier task, given the plentitude of Whole Foods Markets.  So I set about my Food Allergy Recipe Challenge this week with the following parameters: The recipe I attempted needed to be seasonal, and it needed to be simple for all of us who might be on vacation and out of our usual shopping comfort zones.

I settled on a request from a couple of weeks ago for Allergen-free Blueberry Bread Pudding (thank you, Mary and Alex!).  I knew this recipe could be made, even with limited access to allergen-free groceries.  Better yet, it’s nutritious, and last--but certainly not least--it’s really easy to throw together, which is a blessing on these hot summer days when most of us prefer to stay out of the kitchen.

The challenge of converting this dessert from allergen-full to allergen-free with limited shopping ability was in finding proper substitutes for dairy, gluten, and eggs.  Thankfully, most major supermarket chains, such as Stop & Shop, now carry at least one kind of gluten-free bread. That took care of replacing the gluten part of bread pudding (and by the way, gluten-free bread is GREAT in bread pudding).  Additionally, most supermarkets also carry rice milk, which I use in place of cow’s milk, and all carry canola oil, which I used in place of butter.  But perhaps the most surprisingly easy-to-find allergy-friendly ingredient was flaxseed meal, which I’m happy to report is now available not only at most major supermarkets but also at Wal-Mart’s all across the country! And if you can’t find flaxseed meal, you can make your own by grinding whole flaxseeds in a coffee grinder or mini chop.

What allergen-free ingredients are most difficult for you to find? Let me know in the comments section below, and leave me your summertime recipe challenges!

Gluten-Free Vegan Blueberry Bread Pudding
Makes 8 Servings

Blueberry Bread Pudding is a great way to make a decadent, yet nutritious dessert out of summertime blues. In addition to the antioxidant properties of blueberries, this treat is packed full of fiber, omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids, and is cholesterol-free!  But no dinner guest would ever know it was “healthy” and “allergen-free” if you didn’t tell them. It’s “scrumtrulescent” (quote from my 8-year-old son Lennon).

  • 14 slices stale gluten-free bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (7 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups rice milk
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal combined with 6 tablespoons hot water (“flax eggs”)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed limejuice
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar mixed with ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, for sprinkling on top
  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening (or Earth Balance dairy-free, soy-free  “Buttery” spread, or coconut oil, or canola oil in a pinch)
  • Blueberry Sauce (recipe follows)
  • fresh mint sprigs for garnish (optional)
  1. If your gluten-free bread is not already stale, cube it and lay it out in a single layer, overnight. Alternately, you can help dry it out by heating it in a 200°F oven, on a baking tray, in a single layer for about 15-20 minutes, then letting it cool to room temperature.
  2. Combine canola oil and light brown sugar in a heavy saucepan, stirring well to combine. Cook, stirring, over low heat, 3 minutes. Add the rice milk, stirring well to combine. Heat over medium-high heat, until it comes to a boil.  Pour over bread cubes in a shallow bowl, toss gently, and let soak for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 by 8-inch baking dish. Add the “flax eggs” and salt to the bread mixture and toss very gently.
  4. Combine blueberries with confectioner’s sugar, tossing well to coat all the berries.
  5. Pour half the bread mixture into the baking dish. Top with two-thirds of the blueberries.  Sprinkle with half of the limejuice. Cover with remaining bread mixture.  Top with the remaining third of the blueberries, and drizzle with the remaining limejuice. Sprinkle the light brown sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly over the top. Dot with the shortening.
  6. Bake for 1 hour, until golden and caramelized on top.  Let rest until warm, but no longer hot. Serve warm, drizzling a little Blueberry Sauce over each serving.  Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.  For a really awesome finish, add a scoop of dairy-free vanilla ice “cream” on the side. Store leftovers tightly covered at room temperature.

Blueberry Sauce

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup blueberry jam or preserves
  • 1 tablespoon water

1. Combine blueberries, jam, and water in a heavy saucepan, stirring gently.  Heat over medium-high heat until starting to boil.  Cook, stirring often, until heated through, and blueberries have softened slightly.  Remove from heat.

Gluten-Free Vegan Blueberry Bread Pudding recipe Copyright © 2010 by Cybele Pascal

(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at Amazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)

SAFETY NOTE: Because each person's food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns beforeconsumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.

Cybele Pascal is the award-winning author of "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook" and the "Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook." She lives in Los Angeles with her food-allergic family: husband Adam, sons Lennon and Monte, and their dogs, Izzie and Carly (who also has food allergies). Please visit her website at CybelePascal.com.

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Comments (27)

  • Aw, man. I just finished up all my blueberries! Guess I gotta go shopping. Thanks, Cybele!

  • Can't wait to try this with dinner this evening. My mouth is watering already!

  • Sounds amazing! Retweeted and going to make this this week for sure. I think I have all the ingredients (other than flax). OH if someone happens to read this, what is the difference btwn light brown sugar and dark brown sugar? I have always been curious.

  • Looks sooooooo good

  • Not sure if this is the place to post this, but you have asked what is difficult for us on other postings I have seen. So here goes: I would love to have a cookie/cake recipe that I could make with what I have in my kitchen....I have some fruit, coconut flour, tapioca flour, oat flour, canola oil, coconut oil, flax seed, cocoa powder, Enjoy Life chocolate chips, arrowroot, and the usual sweeteners (sugar, maple syrup, agave, honey). I am multi-allergic to all of the following: soy, wheat, dairy, eggs, yeast, corn, peas, peanuts. I am also not very good at substituting. I have your books on order, but my birthday is coming at the end of the week...sigh...anything you could offer would be appreciated.

  • Thank you so much for cooking my request (I have no idea if that's the right phrase or not, but I'm sure you all understand. Heh heh)! We're going to try to make it tonight. I hope. We'd better or I'll be mad. Heh heh. Thanks Cybele!

  • Thank you so much for this recipe Cybele! Alex and I are so excited to try it! We are loving all of your recipes...thank you!!! :)

  • In talking about nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free treats, the Divvies Bakery Cookbook seems to be a great resource. The company has been making wonderful products that they sell on their website and in Whole Foods, Disneyworld, etc, and now they have a cookbook. I'm looking forward to receiving my copy as it's just being released this week. Maybe you could do a review of it or some of their treats.

  • Andrea:

    Light Brown Sugar is more golden in color and has less molasses than dark brown sugar. So it has a lighter flavor.

    Norma, my blog posts on Mondays, so I won't be able to get you that recipe by this Friday for your bday. I'm so sorry! However, I am mighty tempted to try making a cookie out of the ingredients of your pantry. Will let you know if I can source them down here on Cape Cod.

    best,

    Cybele

  • YUM!!! Another AMAZING recipe, Cybele! I made the Blueberry Bread Pudding recipe for Alex and we both LOVE it! It was so easy and fun to make! Thank you!!! :)

  • That's fantastic, Mary and Alex!!! So happy you liked it.

  • [...] For a great dessert to follow this recipe, Check out my new recipe for GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN BLUEBERRY BREAD PUDDING [...]

  • Do you have a recommendation for a allergen-free fudge? (dairy, soy, wheat, nut and - the clencher - corn)

  • Thanks so much for sharing all these delicious recipies! After making the amazing banana bread pudding recipe from your baking book, I can't wait to try this one! Also, I would love it if you could create a recipe for allergen-free creme brulee or fettucini alfredo. I've always thought it would be impossible to make them allergen-free, but hopefully you can prove me wrong!

  • Sorry this isn't a request but I have a few questions about your cookbooks. Can you substitute corn syrup with maple? Can you substitute corn starch with tapioca starch? In your first cookbook when your pancake recipes call for barley and oat flour can I substitute your GF flour blend? Thanks so much for your beautiful recipes. They are truly art.

  • Can't wait to try this. I have both your cookbooks. Poster Lia asks a good question. Can we substitute the barley/oat flour in your first cookbook with the GF flour blend in your second? Barley and rye are allergens in my household.

  • [...] Gluten-Free Vegan Blueberry Bread Pudding: Food Allergy Recipe … Jul 12, 2010 … I settled on a request from a couple of weeks ago for Allergen-free Blueberry Bread Pudding (thank … [...]

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