I always get the urge to make pudina, a Maltese bread pudding, around this time of year. It’s not a traditional Christmas treat in Malta, but for me, the scent of the spices like cinnamon, all spice and cloves along with the rind of orange, lemon and tangerine really make me think of Christmas.
For those of you who are familiar with pudina, it comes as no surprise when I say the traditional ingredients used in making this bread pudding aren’t exactly what I would call Mirror Friendly. It’s loaded with sugar, butter, and candied fruits that contain added sugar and, in many cases, food colouring. So I set out to make a Mirror Friendly version that tasted just as delicious and would receive the seal of approval from parents and Maltese relatives.
Enter the Mirror Friendly Pudina…
I eliminated any added sugar to the recipe. It doesn’t need it. You get enough sweetness from the dried fruits used. I swapped out the crusty traditional Maltese loaf (to all you purists, I’m sorry. But you can’t taste the difference, honest!) with an organic Ezekiel bread. Ezekiel bread is a sprouted grain bread made by soaking, sprouting and baking the grains. It has more protein and fibre than other non-sprouted grain breads and is easier to digest. It also contains a lower concentration of gluten which may be of interest to those who are more sensitive to gluten (although it should not be consumed by anyone ceoliac as it’s not gluten free).
I eliminated the vanilla custard and just added some organic vanilla extract instead (I may try using a vanilla protein powder next time to see how it turns out). I also eliminated the candied fruits and just used two different types of raisins and some chopped up figs for sweetness.
And lastly, a bit of a minor detail, I decided to switch out the cocoa powder for cacao powder. What’s the difference you ask? Well, cacao powder contains more enzymes and nutrients than cocoa powder because it is produced by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. Cocoa powder, on the other hand, is produced by taking raw cacao and roasting it at high temperatures. This process reduces the enzyme and nutrient content of the end product. There is nothing wrong with cocoa powder if that’s what you have on hand, but I decided to use cacao.
The following ingredients were used to make the Mirror Friendly pudina:
– 1 loaf of organic Ezekiel bread torn into pieces (I didn’t have any on hand this go around and they were sold out at the store I went to so I used a quinoa bread instead)
– Milk, enough to cover the pieces of bread (use any kind of milk you want or even just water)
– Two tablespoons of cacao powder (you can use cocoa powder in a pinch)
– Two eggs lightly beaten
– A tablespoon each of all spice and cloves (or to taste)
– ½ a tablespoon of cinnamon (or to taste)
– The rind of 1 large orange, 1 large lemon and a tangerine (or mandarin)
– ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
– 100 g of raw almonds (or other nut like walnuts)
– A mix of dried fruit – I used two different types of raisins and some dried figs, but you can use coconut, apricots, and dates as well. I just eyeballed my amount.
Step by step instructions in preparing the Mirror Friendly pudina:
1. Put the torn up bread in a large bowl and cover with milk
2. Let the bread and milk mixture sit for an hour or so while the bread absorbs the liquid and starts to swell up (I left mine for about 3 hours because I went to the gym and then grocery shopping).
3. Empty the bowl with the bread and milk mixture into a large strainer/colander to drain out the liquid.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees celsius
5. Using a wooden spoon or ladle, gently press down on the bread in the strainer/colander to remove any access liquid. Try to remove as much liquid as you can.
6. Once you have removed the liquid, put the bread in another bowl and add all the remaining ingredients. You can add them in any order you wish.
7. Mix thoroughly. The consistency should be of a thick dough.
8. Once you are finished mixing, empty the mixture into a lightly greased baking dish and smooth it out.
9. Place in the oven and bake for about 45 mins to 1 hour. Keep an eye on it. When it’s done it will be firm on the outside but moist on the inside.
10. Cut, serve and enjoy.
My recipe was a hit with my family, and believe me, if they didn’t like it I would hear it! So if you have made pudina in the past, give this recipe a go and see what you think.
To fitness with love,