Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mexican Chocolate Tofu Pudding

Mexican Chocolate Tofu Pudding

The Gastronomer emailed me this Mark Bittman recipe a full three years ago; when she requested a special dessert this weekend, I remembered it and decided it was pudding time! It's pretty cool: you start out with a block of soft tofu and some melted chocolate, add a few spices, blend it all up, and after chilling in the refrigerator for a bit, the result is a silky smooth pudding that I would have sworn was made with cream and eggs like this one.  I'm usually not that into chocolate, but I do love desserts with a spicy kick.  A few spoonfuls of pudding made for an extremely satisfying conclusion to my dinner tonight.

For another creative use of tofu, check out this pesto recipe.

Recipe by Mark Bittman, published in The New York Times.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 pound silken tofu
  • 8 ounces high-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted in a double broiler
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder / cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)
In a small pot, combine sugar with 3/4 cup water; bring to a boil and cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.  Put all ingredients except for chocolate shavings in a blender and purée until completely smooth, stopping machine to scrape down its sides if necessary. Divide among 4 to 6 ramekins and chill for at least 30 minutes. If you like, garnish with chocolate shavings before serving [I used white chocolate for visual contrast].

Yield: 4 to 8 servings, depending on how much chocolate you can handle in one sitting
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: 40 minutes (including 30 minutes chilling time)
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour (including 30 minutes chilling time).  I spent a significant fraction of this time figuring out how to melt the chocolate.  The second time around it will be a good deal quicker.
Substitutions: I was a bit unsure of what Bittman meant by "chili powder".  The chili powder in our spice cabinet is the type used to make chili (the chunky bean and meat stew)--it contains garlic and several other ingredients in addition to hot peppers.  I thought this would probably be an odd flavor profile to add to a dessert, so I used cayenne pepper instead.  Half a teaspoon made the pudding plenty spicy.
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