Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cherry Lime Rickey Chia Pudding

One thing I love about New York City is it's ability to time travel. If you know where to look in New York, you can very suddenly find yourself transported to the prohibition era (secret bars down underground alleys), or the seventies (shag carpets, avocado refrigerators) or, most commonly, the diner and soda fountain era of the 1950's-60's. From the aging chrome decor to the vintage headshots covering the walls, to the cans of Celray and jars of pickled eggs, in New York, it's pretty easy to find a diner that will take you back in time. My favorite feature of classic New York Diners are the drinks. A diner menu featuring Egg Creams, Chocolate Cokes, Malted Milks, and Cherry Lime Rickeys pretty much makes my day. 

I had never enjoyed a Cherry Lime Rickey before moving to New York, and some research has led me to believe they are a fairly local sensation (and also that Arizona is making a canned one now- ick). Comprised of 7 Up, Fox's cherry syrup, lime juice and a maraschino cherry, they are basically a jazzed up Shirley Temple, but let me tell you that squeeze of lime adds something remarkable. 

For this dessert, I took the classic sweet cherry/tart lime flavor of the Cherry Lime Rickey and paired it with creamy coconut and chia seeds. It's a good deal healthier, but if you've ever had a Cherry Lime Rickey, you will recognize the taste instantly. 

Chia Seeds are new discovery for me-  and from the first batch of pudding I whipped up,  I was hooked. Even after a whole weekend of eating my Chia experiments (Puddings and Chia juice drinks), S actually suggested I make a Mexican Chocolate Chia Pudding last night- which was awesome. There are many health claims about Chia, but I mostly like that it makes dessert super-crazy-easy to whip up while remaining pretty darn healthy. 

The amazing little Chia seeds can absorb up to 10x their body weight in liquid, turning them into little gelatinous beads of pudding-y goodness. They taste like whatever you soak them in, so they don't add any flavor to the pudding, just consistency. As for their wiggly consistency- I totally love it, it's like if the boba in bubble tea were teeny-teeny-tiny and tasted like pudding. 

Cherry Lime Rickey Chia Pudding

2 C Pitted tart cherries
1 13.5 oz Can of Coconut Milk (or 1 1/2 cups)
2-3 Tbsp Honey
1 Lime
1/2 C Chia seeds

Zest your lime on a zester, cheese grater, or microplane. I just bought a microplane and I am pretty sure it's the greatest nonelectric thing in my kitchen.

Add the coconut milk, lime zest, pitted cherries, and honey to the bowl of your food processor, and blend until fairly smooth (you'll never eliminate all the chunks of cherry skin- just accept them). 

Pour mixture into a bowl, add the chia seeds and whisk vigorously for about 1-2 minutes. Let sit at room temperature for ten minutes, whisk again, then cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours. Mix vigorously again before serving to break up any chia lumps. 

This is fantastic garnished with dried coconut flakes, or a mixture of lime zest and sugar, or some toasted almonds. 
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