Bread halwa, the bread pudding of the East, the spectacularly economical and cardamom-spiced treat that’s totally rich and sweet, yet so completely homey. The dessert that O and I fight in public about when it’s served about our favorite Sunday Indian buffet…
You see, their bread halwa might just be one of our favorite desserts, ever, but they only make it occasionally. And when they do… it’s every man for himself. Our eyes are approximately 14 times bigger than our stomaches, so we load up our plates with the stuff–their version being positively drenched in ghee and totally covered in sugar–and groan a couple bites in. Bread, sugar, ghee, cardamom – doesn’t sound like it’ll take you out, does it? But oh man, that stuff can put you in a food coma for an afternoon!
That’s why, when the über-talented Meriem of Culinary Couture asked me to partake in her virtual Eid party, I knew I had to take on bread halwa, veganize it, and lighten it up a bit!
For those of you who don’t know, Eid marks the end of Ramadan, which is the month during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. As you might imagine, after a month of fasting during the day, Eid is full of fun and rich desserts!
Though O and I aren’t necessarily Muslim, most of his family is. I’m fascinated by the culture of his father’s side of the family, as you might have seen by the touch of mendhi in our wedding photos! Whether you’re celebrating Eid or not, though, you should definitely celebrate something and make this vegan bread halwa! It’s an awesome way to use up a getting-stale loaf of bread, and you most likely have everything you need on hand, especially if you’re vegan (what, you don’t have a gallon of coconut oil in your pantry? ). It comes together pretty quickly and is simultaneously sweet and nutty, spiced and floral, satisfying but not too heavy.
Check out the other posts celebrating Eid with Meriem! I can’t think of a better way to end the month of Ramadan than with some of these awesome recipes.
- Algerian Almond Paste Fruits by Culinary Couture
- Moroccan Bisteeya by Club Narwhal
- Pistachio Orange Rice Pudding by A Clean Bake
- Bread Halwa by 40 Aprons
- Shahi Tukda/ Pakistani Saffron Bread Pudding by La Tour De Force
- Double Chocolate Baklava by The Sweet Tooth Life
- Soft and Chewy Tahini, Honey, and Almond Cookies by An Edible Mosaic
- Cashew Baklava Fingers by Wandering Spice
Vegan Bread Halwa
- 4 cups bread crumbs (about 7 slices), preferably whole wheat
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup sugar (or about 1/3 cup agave nectar)
- 1/4 teaspoon rose water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- For garnish:
- 2 teaspoon coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons cashews
- 2 teaspoons raisins
- cardamom pods
- grated coconut
In a medium saucepan, melt the 2 teaspoons coconut oil over medium heat. Sauté the cashews until golden brown. Set aside. Add raisins and sauté until they puff up - do not burn or char, as they will taste bitter. Set aside. Wipe out the saucepan.
Heat 1/3 cup coconut oil over medium heat until melted and then sauté bread crumbs on medium-low heat for about 7 - 10 minutes, or until beautifully browned. Spoon out onto a plate to cool.
Meanwhile, heat the almond milk and sugar (or agave) in the saucepan and bring to a boil, boiling just long enough to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the breadcrumbs, rose water, and cardamom and reduce heat to low. Cover and let cook about 3 - 5 minutes.
Once the breadcrumbs have completely absorbed the almond milk mixture, cook over medium, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat, spoon into a serving bowl, and garnish with cashews, raisins, grated coconut, and cardamom pods.