RECIPE 11.15.17 Tembleque – A South American Holiday Delight – Your Health Detective

If you love coconut and treasure its taste and health benefits as I do, this dessert is one you’ll add to your list of easy favorite healthy treats…and…a delightful light dessert for those heavy holiday meals. 

Tembleque gets its name from the Spanish word tiembla which means to shake – also likened to the Spanish word temblor which is used to describe an earthquake or trembling. It’s a pudding thickened with cornstarch resulting in a slightly firm pudding with a custard texture that has a little jiggle when shaken – similar to Mexican flan but with its own unique flavor and texture.

This healthy (and admittingly habit-forming) delight is creamy, cool and most of all intensely coconut. The pudding can be poured into individual molds or into a 9 x 9 square pan and served in slices. I like to do the individual servings if I’m making them as a daily snack or serving to dinner guests, especially during the holidays. However, if I’m taking it to a party I make it in a pan for easy slicing and serving. It is also versatile because you can top with any fruit. 

Tembleque (Coconut Pudding) – Serves: 6

Ingredients

4 cups coconut milk (canned works best)

½ cup of cornstarch or arrowroot

⅔ cup of Lakanto (monk fruit) – natural sweetener

½ teaspoon fine natural salt

1 tablespoon grand marnier liqueur or essential oil of orange or tangerine

Ground cinnamon to taste (I used 1 heaping teaspoon)

Directions…

  1. Lubricate the inside of six 4-oz ramekin molds with softened coconut oil, set aside.
  2. In medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except cinnamon and whisk until well blended.
  3. Place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a slow boil and is smooth and thick, about 5 minutes. DO NOT allow it to reach a roaring boil.
  4. Pour the pudding into prepared molds.
  5. Cover with and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.

Variations: If you love chocolate, you can add unsweetened cocoa powder and top with chocolate shavings or fruit. The amount of cocoa powder depends on the intensity for your taste. I used 4 tablespoons in this recipe, it was rich and robust.

Presentation: Serve in a ramekin or to unmold, run a thin knife around edge. Invert mold onto serving plate. Sprinkle with cinnamon or your favorite topping. 

in the Indonesian islands, cinnamon trees were later successfully grown in South America where it once was the spice of the elite. Today it is used daily in many cultures, specifically Latin and Asian cuisine because of its widespread health benefits, not to mention its distinctly sweet, warming taste and ease of availability and use.

According to researchers, out of twenty-six of the most popular herbs and medicinal spices in the world, cinnamon actually ranks #1 in terms of its protective antioxidant levels!

The unique smell, color, and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oily part of the tree on which it grows. The health benefits of cinnamon come from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree – the bark contains several special compounds responsible for its many health promoting properties – including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, and cinnamate.

Researchers concluded that the health benefits of cinnamon can be obtained in the form of its pure bark, essential oils, in ground spice form (which is bark powder), or in extract form when its special phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and antioxidants are isolated. These compounds make cinnamon one of the most beneficial spices on earth, giving it antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, immunity-boosting, cancer and heart disease-protecting abilities.

Happy Holidays….Dr. Gloria

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