It wasn’t till I was an adult that I realised we didn’t have a class of ‘Nigerian desserts’.
Growing up, desserts in their elaborate western form weren’t our thing. We kept it simple and fresh. Mostly. We had fresh fruit salads and cakes, Ice cream and jelly and that was mostly it.
It was enough then.
When I moved abroad to Liverpool in 1997, I began to see how western meals were structured. English family friends I spent holidays with had 2 course meals for dinner most days. We had mains and finished with something sweet. Sometimes it was tea and cake, at other times baked apples and custard.
Since I began working with Nigerian cuisine, I’ve learnt how much potential we have for defining a class of what we proudly call Nigerian desserts. Yes, that may not be in the annals yet but we have it on record, for reference sake.
Some already existed, some are new, all together define our cuisine with a couple of vegan options.
Agbalumo-Banana Ice cream
Quick and easy Ice cream. No special equipment required in this 3 ingredient ice cream of Agbalumo, Frozen Bananas and condensed milk.
Go vegan – skip the condensed milk
No Agbalumo, use cherries
Mini Rice Pies – Arroz Con Leche
A rice bake with leftover soaked rice from making Kunnu Gyada, rice milk. The base is of crushed ginger nut cookies and the top browned with cinnamon sugar. All together simple and yum.
Go vegan with vegan cookies/ crust
Chocolate-stuffed Plantain Gnocchi
My first exploration with plantains in sweet preparations. Loved and learnt so much about plantains. Paired with chocolate, we loved them.
Go vegan by skipping the egg in the plantain dough. All you have to do differently is knead for a touch longer to develop the dough and make it stickier.
Verrine of Pitanga Cherries with Meringues and Cream
Classic combination of fruit, cream and meringues in an Eton Mess. Looked pretty but needs more work. My children loved it though.
Go vegan by using crunchy vegan cookies and coconut cream/ oatgurt or other non-vegan creams.
Mango & Agbalumo Tarte Tatin
Loved. Agbalumo can be more than ‘suck’ and throw away. This let it shine.
Go vegan with a vegan crust.
Mango with Yogurt and Candied Sesame Seeds
Quick and easy.
Want to know how to get perfect cubes of Mangoes? Look no further. Covered.
Go vegan with vegan ‘gurt.
Scent leaf Poached Pawpaw
One of my favourites and vegan too – poached pawpaw in a fragrant syrup.
Serve on its own, topped with cream or serve alongside ice cream, yogurt etc
Filipino Fruit Salad
And finally, a fruit salad recipe that I absolutely love. It is based on a Filipino recipe with tinned fruit, cream cheese, condensed milk and a special ‘gel’ of coconut or pineapple, Nata de Coco or Nata de Pina.
The Nata makes a delightful textural addition to the the mix. I haven’t ever seen it in Nigeria.
Jelly, cut into cubes would make a nice substitute for the Nata. Whatever you do, leave it overnight to ‘set’ before eating.
Go vegan by using coconut cream and vegan jelly.
Kunnu Aya Pudding
This quick and easy recipe has a clean, creamy flavour with a soft set. Naturally vegan, it makes a great dessert with fresh fruits and nutty cookies.
Mango & Coconut Custard with Lime Marmalade Puff-Puff
Puff-puff stuffed with lime marmalade and a simple custard made with mango puree and coconut milk. Simply vegan and delicious
There are a few other ideas but…lets work with this for now.
What desserts are you making this Easter Weekend?