Many years ago, back in London, I had a hairdresser who commissioned me to make bran muffins. Fast forward to now and I still remember how deliciously comforting they were, with their nubbled crust that gave way to a satisfying mouthful of wholesome crumb. But it wasn't until my first mouthful of today's recipe that the memories came flooding back. You see, despite the fact that here lies neither bran, nor a speck of any grain, the flavour is intensely reminiscent. And boy oh boy, it is unbelievably good.
Don't get upset with me for including an ingredient you likely can't get at your local supermarket. Cricket flour is so well worth an Amazon order, which may be a little pricier than you'd like but small quantities used means your packet will last for many more memorable meals to come. If the thought of eating crickets grosses you out, you should know this: not only does Dr Terry Wahls extol the virtue of consuming cricket flour but experts predict we shall all be supplementing our diets with insects in the years to come. As the world's population grows, food becomes scarcer and ever more expensive as a result, insects will be plentiful and sustainable to harvest. They are also a fantastic source of protein, iron, calcium, amino acids, magnesium and the all important Vitamin B12. I read somewhere that should there ever be a nuclear disaster (God forbid), insects would be the last remaining life on earth - they are practically indestructible. Think of the cockroach in the film Wall.E ... there was a lot of truth in that!
I wanted to make pudding and confess this is my new almost guilty pleasure! I say 'almost' because it turns out the recipe is well timed. This article, recently published by Dr Sarah Ballantyne, states that molasses (unsulphured blackstrap) should perhaps be seen as a good food, and not just the sweetener label previously afforded it. It contains five times as much iron as steak, one and a half times as much calcium as cheese (per calorie) and impressive amounts of manganese, magnesium and selenium to name but a few. So don't give the quarter cup of molasses here any more thought than this: not only are you increasing your protein through entomology, but you are gaining other essential micronutrients with those molasses.
The successful Sticky Ginger Pudding is no longer an option for our ginger-allergic son, so I have had to find solace in another form. Come to the rescue cricket pudding, with an earthy texture and rustic appearance, together with sublime toasted nuttiness, there is more than enough to invoke a wonderfully cosy feeling. Just as those muffins did for me ... another culinary lifetime ago.
sticky cricket-y pudding
Don’t be tempted to cut down the quantity of molasses (and feel free to add a tablespoon or two more) for this pudding, you’ll likely lose the ‘sticky’!
Print the recipe here
1 can pumpkin purée
3/4 cup lard
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses *
generous pinch sea salt
1+1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup cricket flour **
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 gelatin egg, as follows
Preheat oven to 350F. Generously grease a 2+1/2 pt pie dish.
Put the pumpkin, shortening, molasses, salt and vanilla extract into the bowl of a stand or hand held mixer with the paddle attachment and mix until well combined and smooth. Add the shredded coconut, then sift in the cricket and coconut flours, together with the baking soda. Mix again.
Next, make the gelatin egg. Put the gelatin into a small bowl, the vinegar and hot water into another. Pour the liquid into the gelatin and whisk quickly until the gelatin has melted and the mixture looks frothy. With the motor running, pour the gelatin egg into the cake bowl and whizz again for a couple of seconds or so to fully incorporate.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish, level the top and cook for 50 minutes or until browned and just firm to the touch. Not too firm though, or you’ll lose all the ‘sticky’. Serve with ice cream or whipped coconut cream.
* Make this GAPS/SCD friendly by replacing the molasses with honey.
** Note of caution: If you have a shellfish allergy, you may well be allergic to crickets, since they are also crustaceans. Those with nut allergies should take caution too.