Originally I wrote one of the longest posts I’ve ever written, and all to explain why I am not crazy about Heidi Swanson’s cookbook Super Natural Cooking. Then, to explain why tofu pudding is old hat – every vegan worth their nutritional yeast knows that silken tofu + chocolate = pudding. And at some point during the editing process, I realized that I’d just written the most boring piece of garbage ever.
Instead, I’m going to tell you about the pudding itself. Heidi Swanson’s recipe in Super Natural Cooking reminded me that tofu pudding – and lord knows I love me some dairy – is not only delicious, but offensively easy to make and motherfucking cheap. A box of silken tofu routinely goes on sale for $1, and the only other real cost is chocolate.
If you’ve never had tofu pudding, I have two main points to make about it: the first is that if you are determined to taste the tofu in it, you’re going to taste it. There’s a clearly detectable note of soy. On the other hand, I find it pleasant – if you like soy milk at all, or can even just tolerate it, you’ll probably love the tofu pudding. Mike the Viking – MIKE, we’re talking, the great hater of things made unnecessarily vegan – loves the tofu pudding, and he dislikes soymilk.
The second point is that the texture is amazing. There is genuinely, absolutely no other way to achieve this texture without tempering egg yolks and gelatin, a process that takes attention and skill and let’s be honest here: comfort food should be effortless. The tofu pudding is made by dumping everything into a blender, blending it, and then pouring it into cups. THAT IS IT.
No thickeners. No additional sugar is needed (particularly if you use either milk chocolate or a sugary liqueur). It can be made plain or tarted up with any of a dozen amazing flavor combinations – what combinations are good with chocolate? Then they’ll be good in the pudding. If you’re at all timid about trying this because the idea of tofu turns you off, I beg you to try it just the once – it’s like a $5 blowjob; for that price, how disappointed could you possibly be?
Laziest Chocolate Pudding
the inclusion of alcohol into the recipe is not necessary, but it’s worth noting that it does change the final texture of the pudding. without the alcohol it is very firm, easily thick enough to be the filling of a chocolate pie. with the alcohol it is slightly more mousse-like, and while it would still be slice-able for a pie, has a noticeably softer texture. also take note that the tofu should say the word “silken” somewhere on the label – mostly commonly, this tofu is sold under the brand Mori-Nu and comes in a cardboardy little shelf-stable box, but there are also many brands of fresh tofu (that comes in a plastic tray filled with water) that make a silken variety. either kind is good.
1/2 cup milk (soy, rice, cow, almond, human, coconut)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, or 9 – 12 oz of chocolate of your choice*
1 brick soft silken tofu (about 12 – 14 oz)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup flavored liqueur (amaretto, Grand Marnier, Malibu, Kahlua, peppermint schnapps etc.)
1/2 tsp. flavoring extract (almond, orange, peppermint, rum, coconut, coffee, etc.)
1/4 cup peanut butter or Nutella
*Note: the weight of a cup of chocolate chips can be anywhere from 6 to 8 ounces, hence the variation in weights should you choose to use bar chocolate instead of chocolate chips. More will be more chocolatey, less will be less. I tend to use semi-sweet, but everything from milk (which will be sweet and mild) to dark will work. I don’t know about white, you’re on your own with that.
- If you want to use a microwave, place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds, or until the chips are just starting to melt. Give it a stir. Microwave in additional 15-second bursts, stirring after each time, until the chips are more-or-less melted. They don’t have to be completely melted; the lumps will blend out in the blender. If you do not want to use a microwave, bring the milk to a simmer in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, stirring to blend. When it is more-or-less melted, continue to the next step.
- Put everything into a blender or food processor.
- Blend until totally smooth, taking care to scrape down the sides once during the blending process. This should take only 1 or 2 minutes of blending time. The pudding will be quite liquid, but don’t fear: it sets up all on its own, and quickly. Also take a moment to give it a taste – if you used just liqueur, you may find the flavor is too mild and wish to add an additional extract to boost it. For example, the almond flavor in amaretto liqueur might need an additional dash of almond extract. Don’t despair if it tastes rather soy-y at this stage – the tofu flavor decreases when the pudding is chilled.
- Pour into serving dishes or into a cold, cooked pie crust. Cover the surface directly with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate. Pudding will be set enough to eat after 1 hour, and good and solid after several hours.
TOFU UPDATE (7/24/11): I had a strange experience with House brand Organic Silken tofu. I bought two containers from Whole Foods, and both of them made granular-textured tofu pudding. The first one I thought I’d done something wrong, but what is there to do wrong with the recipe? The second one I knew it was the tofu. So the question is, what happened to the tofu? It was the first time I bought the organic version, and the first time I’d purchased it from Whole Foods. I suspect maybe the tofu got frozen in transport? Because why would the organic version be grainy? It makes no sense. So, just do you know: if the texture ends up strange, it may not be your fault.July 2nd, 2011 | Make It So