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Fig and vanilla polenta pudding

Serves: 12
Prep: 3 min + 40 min setting time
Cook: 18

    This nutritious and delicious dessert—called “Poudine mais” in French—was a popular sweet in Mauritius in the 1960s and frequently sold by street vendors. The bright yellow colour is due to zeaxanthin, an antioxidant pigment, which is important to protect your eyes from macular degeneration. Polenta is also high in resistant starch, a type of dietary fibre recognised for its protective effects against bowel cancer.

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    • 1 cup polenta (yellow maize meal)
    • 4 cups lite soy milk
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 3 large dried white figs, finely chopped
    • 1 teaspoon alcohol-free pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut


    1. Place milk with ½ cup of water in a medium saucepan and heat until almost boiling. Note: Be watchful as milk can easily boil over.
    2. Gradually mix in polenta, stirring constantly until the milk has just been absorbed. This should take about 1 minute.
    3. Add in honey, chopped figs and vanilla extract, and continue stirring constantly over a low heat for about 7 minutes. Note: If your heat source is too high and the polenta becomes too thick, add a little more boiling water to thin it down.
    4. Sprinkle half the coconut onto the bottom of a rectangular baking dish (approximately 30 cm x 23 cm/12 in x 9 in). Pour in hot polenta and immediately smooth out the top. Sprinkle with remaining coconut.
    5. Allow to cool slightly, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until set.
    6. Cut into 12 squares and serve cold. Garnish with extra sliced fresh figs or a scattering of berries, if desired.


    • You can also pour hot polenta into individual dishes.
    • Use shredded coconut for a more coarse texture.

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