This is a creamy, rich spin on bread pudding that is infused with multidimensional Indian dessert spices.
6 to 7 cups day-old French bread (about 1 loaf), torn into 1-inch cubes
¾ cup silken tofu, well-drained
2 ½ cups vanilla almond or soymilk
½ cup turbinado sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons vegan butter substitute, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup slivered almonds
Orange Rose Crème Sauce
2 teaspoons rose water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
2 cups vanilla soy creamer, or 2 cups plain soy creamer plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
To make the bread pudding, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and oil a 9×13 inch baking pan. Spread the bread cubes in the pan. Combine the tofu, soymilk, sugar, maple syrup, vegan butter substitute, vanilla extract, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and cardamom in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Stir in the raisins and almonds. Pour evenly over the bread cubes, making sure they are all coated well. Press the bread cubes gently so they soak up the liquid. Tuck most of the raisins under or between the bread cubes so they stay moist. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the bread cubes to soften, occasionally pressing them down so they soak up the liquid. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is light golden brown. Let cool in the pan.
To make the sauce, combine the cornstarch and water in a medium saucepan and whisk until there are no lumps. Add the soy creamer, sugar, and rose water and cook on medium heat, whisking often, until the mixture begins to simmer and thicken slightly, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest and juice. Stir prior to serving.
Serve the pudding and sauce warm, cold, or at room temperature. To serve, spoon the sauce over the pudding, topped with vanilla soy ice cream or whipped cream if desired. Store leftover pudding and sauce tightly covered in the refrigerator.