Tahini and Chocolate Pudding with Coconut Whipped Cream

So I've been on a bit of a sesame rampage. My bad. 

This recipe was inspired by the tahini hot cocoa that I made over the course of the blizzard weekend here in Northern Virginia. I haven't gone all America's-Test-Kitchen on it with dozens of trials and modifications. This recipe is fresh out the gate with fingers crossed and bated breath.

What can I tell you about it?

Well. Gloria hallelujah it's tasty.  The base is lite coconut milk lightly heated on the stove with maple syrup, tahini, semi-sweet chocolate chips, a pinch of salt, drop of vanilla extract, and cornstarch*. The pudding is silky smooth and intriguing. You can tell it's not chocolate pudding and there's that nutty aftertaste that I so love about sesame. The best part is, you control how much tahini goes in so you can go hard in the paint for those that love it or be more demure for those who want to stay in the comfort zone.

The topping is coconut cream with confectioners sugar and vanilla extract again. Super easy to make but requires a little planning to be safe. Pro tip: let the can of heavy coconut milk or coconut cream sit in the fridge over night to make sure it gets nice and solid. 

Just like the pudding, you have power over the flavor. I honestly didn't measure the amount of confectioners sugar and added it a tablespoon at a time to meet my preference. Coconut has it's own sweetness, why bury it?

Top with the optional toasted black sesames - these have a potent flavor so base it on your audience.

This batch got crushed. The smooth, mild flavor of the pudding goes beautifully with the sweetness of the coconut whipped cream. 

When I make this again, the only adjustment I would consider is swapping the chocolate chips for unsweetened cocoa. Just to see what would happen. Pure curiosity. 

*On the use of cornstarch, I know some avoid it because the corn can be genetically modified or think that it has a slight aftertaste. It is possible to substitute with arrowroot but you would need to heat the coconut milk very low and slow - just keep an eye until it thickens. Another option is to skip the thickeners all together and the heat coconut milk (before adding the rest of the ingredients) till it is condensed. You'll have a slightly smaller serving because it's reduced.

You can easily make this vegan if you use the right chocolate chips! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

Tahini and Chocolate Pudding with Coconut Whipped Cream

Tahini and Chocolate Pudding
13.5 can of light coconut milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup (add more if you want it sweeter)
2 tablespoons cornstarch* (see not from above post)
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 ounces chopped, semi-sweet chocolate chops
1/4 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
sprinkle of toasted black cinnamon (optional)

Coconut Whipped Cream
13.5 can of full-fat or coconut cream, chilled over night in the fridge
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup confectioner sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour the coconut milk into a small pan and cook until warm, not boiling (unless you plan on reducing coconut milk rather than using cornstarch). Pour 1/4 cup of the warm milk into a small bowl and add cornstarch. Stir until completed dissolved and then return to the pan with the rest of the coconut milk.
Add tahini, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk thoroughly. Let the  mix cook on low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes, the mixture will being to thicken.  Add the chocolate. Continue whisking just a few more minutes, until the pudding is smooth, thick, and all the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. 
Optional: for mega smoothness, pour into blender and pulse. 
Pour directly into a serving cups. I use a cup measure with a spot to reduce mess. Place in fridge. Ready to serve in 30 minutes!
While the pudding is resting, spoon the solid coconut from the can into medium bowl. Whisk with hand mixer until smooth. Gradually add confectioners sugar, 1/4 cup at a time to your desired level of sweetness. Finish with vanilla extract. Dollop on top of solid pudding or get fancy with a piping bag and tip.