Lucuma and chia are the superstars in today’s recipe for Lucuma Chia Pudding with Cacao Cream!!!
A few of my favorite healthy food superstars are lucuma, chia and cacao. Today I combine them together to create a delicious custard-like parfait that you can serve as a dessert or breakfast parfait. These three ingredients are also found in abundance in South America, where they have been used not only for dietary purposes but also in holistic healing treatments.
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I’ve written about lucuma before for the simple reason that I think it’s super delish. It is considered to be a great treasure in South America, and finds its way into many different types of desserts and smoothies. Lucuma is often not exported from South America because of its treasured status, but it also has a short shelf-life and once it ripens, it spoils fairly quickly. But don’t worry, I have a solution that will allow you to make this dish anyway!!
A bit more about lucuma
Outside of South America, it is available in a powder form which is available from your local grocery store or from Amazon, and you may be able to find frozen pulp at Latin food markets. My experience cooking with lucuma to date has only been with the powder form and in particular I like the brand, Navitas.
I bought a couple fresh lucuma since I live here in Peru, just to see what the fuss was all about. The flavor is similar to a lightly sweet maple syrup or butterscotch, however the flavor is soft and not overwhelming or strong. The smell is similar to the flavor and very fragrant. My entire kitchen smelled like butterscotch after cutting the lucuma open.
The flesh of the lucuma has an odd consistency which is why I imagine it is not often eaten raw, but rather is used in juices, smoothies and desserts. It looks and feels exactly like the yolk of a hard-boiled egg.
Cooking with lucuma powder
While the lucuma flavor really shines in this dessert using the powder form, there are two small drawbacks to using it. The first is that the powder is difficult to completely blend so there may be bit of a powdery feel to the lucuma chia pudding. Be sure in the mixing stage that you give it a good solid 60-second whisk, and mixing it again before serving helps as well. Secondly, the lucuma powder really loses the color of the flesh because as you can see in the photos, it actually is a lovely yellow-orange color whereas my end results was kind of beige.
Sweetness of lucuma
Since the lucuma has a natural sweetness, meaning this dessert really doesn’t require a whole lot of added sweetness. I used honey to sweeten it just a bit more which you could definitely replace with agave syrup to make this a vegan recipe.
Also, lucuma has a very low glycemic index. The glycemic index rates foods on how quickly the body changes them over to glucose. Pure glucose has the value of 100. Foods that have a value of 55 or lower have a less intense and quick effect on the blood sugar levels, and while I couldn’t locate the exact number of lucuma, it is well below the benchmark of 55 for products on the low end of the glycemic index.
Another one of my favorite ingredients with roots in South America are chia seeds. Not only are they good for you but they also swell up when combined with a liquid. In this recipe the chia thickens the milk creating a pudding-like consistency. Just two tablespoons of these seeds provide 4.7 g of protein and 9.8 grams of fiber for only 138 calories. They also contain a healthy fat profile and are a source of vitamins and minerals as well.
I use chia seeds almost daily in a fruit and vegetable smoothie. But, if you like chia seeds and chia parfaits, here’s another recipe to consider, Cinnamon Chili Cacao Chia Pudding.
The pudding recipe calls for coconut milk to make the cacao cream. Make sure you get the coconut milk that comes in a can and is typically used in cooking. Usually you will find it in the ethnic food section of your grocery store with the Asian ingredients. This is important because of the fat content in this type of coconut milk. The coconut milk creates a cream similar to whipped cream that tops this dessert.
The trick with the coconut milk is to place the can in the refrigerator overnight before you make this recipe. That way it firms up. Then when you measure out the amount you need to make the cream be sure to take the portion that is thicker. You can reserve the rest and use it in place of dairy in a cream based soup or use it in your morning coffee or smoothie.
The thickness of your cream will vary greatly depending on the brand of coconut milk you use. It is unlikely that you will achieve a super thick cream that will stand up on the dish like a dairy-based whipped cream. But the cream still contributes a lovely cacao flavor to the dish and a nice creamy texture.
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One of my favorite brands of natural products is Navitas. If you are having trouble finding chia seeds in your local grocery store and don’t have time to make an extra stop at the health food store, you can order them here on Amazon.
The recipe for Lucuma Chia Pudding with Cacao Cream
Lucuma Chia Pudding with Cacao Cream
Lucuma chia pudding
- ½ cup chia seeds
- 3 cup almond milk unsweetened
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp honey
- 1/3 cup + 1T lucuma powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 T cacao nibs
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk full fat, chilled in refrigerator overnight
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1-2 drops vanilla
- 1 tsp powdered sugar
Lucuma Chia Pudding
- Mix almond milk, vanilla, honey, lucuma and cinnamon together with a whisk until well combined about 1-2 minutes.
- Add chia, using a whisk stir the chia to combine and thicken making sure that there are no clumps of chia.
- When chia is evenly dispersed and there are no clumps, place in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours to set. At the same time, place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight.
- Prior to serving, make cacao cream. Combine coconut milk, cacao powder, powdered sugar, and a drop or two of vanilla in a chilled bowl glass or metal bowl. Use a mixer to blend the ingredients until a cream forms. Cover and place into the freezer about 20-30 minutes to chill and set before serving.
- When ready to serve, place chia pudding into dish and top with cacao cream and sprinkle with cacao nibs.
Did you try out this recipe? Please leave me a comment here on the blog!! I want to hear your experience making and trying this recipe. If you take photos and post, you can tag me on Instagram @cookeatlivelove.
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