if the word “chia” only brings to mind a 1980s terracotta planter in the shape of a turtle covered in green sprouts, then i’ve got some news for you.
chia has a new place in the world.
those little seeds are a culinary wonder and are in the midst of a rebirth in the health food world.
not only are they rich sources of fiber, protein, and healthy omega-3 fats, but they also make the fastest puddings around. they are hydrophilic (water-loving, for you non-latin speakers), so they soak up lots of liquid and thicken nicely.
i’ve used them here a few times… like for this concord grape chia jelly and this pluot lime chia jam. if you don’t want to mess with cooking custards, trying to not curdle eggs, and waiting forever for things to chill and set… then you need chia in your life.
not to mention, the health benefits are really impressive. from heart health to gut health (yes, please!) to boosting energy.
so the most obvious place (to me) to use these little gems was in a pudding for chocolate chia crème brûlée. if you stir the seeds in whole, they swell up leaving a consistency similar to eating raspberry seeds. that’s not altogether bad, but it’s also not quite what i want in a crème brûlée. so pulverizing them in a coffee grinder makes them a lot more smooth, while keeping their thickening properties intact. i won’t claim silky smoothness here, but hey, that’s the trade-off for the fastest, easiest chocolate crème brûlée around.
i for one, am glad chia has moved past the window sill and onto the dinner table.
- ⅓ cup chia seeds
- 1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Grind chia seeds to a fine powder in a clean spice or coffee grinder.
- Stir together almond milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla paste, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in chia powder.
- Pour mixture into 4 (6-ounce) ramekins. Place in fridge and allow to thicken for 20-30 minutes. (Cover and chill over night, if desired.)
- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar evenly over entire top of each ramekin.
- Burn sugar with a kitchen torch or place under broiler.
- Serve immediately.