Anger Burger

World’s Easiest Chocolate Pudding

Posted by Sunday on Jul 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm

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.

gross

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

optional flavorings:
1/4 cup flavored liqueur (amaretto, Grand Marnier, Malibu, Kahlua, peppermint schnapps etc.)
and/or
1/2 tsp. flavoring extract (almond, orange, peppermint, rum, coconut, coffee, etc.)
or
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

21 Responses to World’s Easiest Chocolate Pudding

  1. Anna Ruby says:

    It’s pretty tasty with chocolate almond milk and a bit of cinnamon and cayenne (and that combats the soy taste a bit too). Also, can we please hear some of the criticisms :) ? My personal rant is about her inclusion of lemon zest* and red pepper flakes in every dish she ever makes (*a kiss of lemon zest that is).

  2. Betsy says:

    I wanna read the superlong post! ‘Cuz I didn’t like that cookbook either, and I’m having a hard time putting my finger on exactly why.

  3. Sunday says:

    I knnnnooooow! I don’t want to talk smack, though, because I’m sure she’s a perfectly lovely person, and her success and fame clearly demonstrate that many people are picking up what she’s putting down.

    But that being said, there’s a few things about the cookbook that stand out to me. The first is that is just seems so oddly balanced – the recipes are either a tricky combination of fairly exotic ingredients, or they’re so simple they just feel like filler. Like we go from amaranth souffles (?!) to brussels sprouts sauteed in olive oil? How did that even make it in the book? Or “grilled broccoli” as a recipe? Sometimes I appreciate just being reminded about a food, but these are sort of conspicuously inane. Even more complex recipes like her salads always have the exact same dressing: olive oil and lemon or lime juice (occasionally rice vinegar) and some salt and pepper. Even the tofu pudding: Mark Bittman did it for the New York Times two years ago, and to great acclaim. I agree that it’s a rad recipe and a solid home staple (hell, her recipe reminded me of it, after all) but taken as a whole with the other filler recipes, I started to feel like the editor pulled Heidi aside at some point and said “Hey, lady, this stuff is too wierd, can you give us some more remedial cooking?”

    The other major thing is that the few recipes I was interested in, I had to decide if it was worth investing in whatever exotic grain or legume she included. I realize I can substitute out for something more common… but then suddenly, I realized, the recipes are basically recipes I already have. And that’s when I understood: this is a book of fairly common recipes with the major ingredient subbed out for something uncommon. Like millet “fried rice”. Or barley “risotto”. I came to the conclusion that I’m just not the target audience for her style of cooking – I’m already comfortable subbing out ingredients for things I prefer or already have in the pantry.

    The rest of it is just flatly foods Mike would never eat. And I guess if I’m being honest, I’m not sure how much of a batch of “salad” made entirely from celery, walnuts and some orange pieces I could eat either.

  4. Jodi says:

    We didn’t get a lot of use out of that cookbook but the new one (Super Natural Everyday) might be the best book we own. I highly recommend it. That said, you’re obviously a really good cook and already cook these types of things so maybe its not for you. But, book 2, totally different from book 1. Worth looking at.

    Love Anger Burger. Great writing!!

  5. Ashley says:

    You know, not to pile on, but a) with the subbing, and b) with how she’s always taking cheese OUT of things. “Oh I was making quesadillas, but I didn’t feel like having all that dairy! So I filled it with vegetables and just a bit of artisanal cheddar. It was plenty!” Lady, just between you and me, cheese is the POINT of a quesadilla. It is the NAME of a quesadilla. So. But. Pudding=yay.

  6. Kristina says:

    “But that being said, there’s a few things about the cookbook that stand out to me. The first is that is just seems so oddly balanced – the recipes are either a tricky combination of fairly exotic ingredients, or they’re so simple they just feel like filler. Like we go from amaranth souffles (?!) to brussels sprouts sauteed in olive oil? How did that even make it in the book? Or “grilled broccoli” as a recipe? Sometimes I appreciate just being reminded about a food, but these are sort of conspicuously inane.”

    PRECISELY. THIS IS PRECISELY WHY THE BOOK PISSED ME OFF. I once got a cookbook from Paperbackswap which was by Mark Bittman. Some POS book that he used to “take on America’s best chefs” by making an easier or copycat version of their best dishes. I got so angry when we got to the chapter about “Persimmon Gelato.” On one page was the Chef’s recipe for Gelato. On the other facing page was Bittman’s answer. And his answer was: Freeze a persimmon. Eat with spoon.”

    That was it. It was FILLER and he used a full page to do it. I was actually angry.

    I occasionally feel that way about cookbook filler — I don’t mind being reminded or prompted to serve something like “steamed asparagus” or “roasted sprouts” alongside a dish — but don’t waste a page telling me how to do it or I’ll get angry and not buy your book.

    • Sunday says:

      Yeah, this seems to be a newish fad in cookbookery. Or I’ve just been noticing it more, but when I flip through my favorite cookbooks, they’re the books that are just chock-a-block with great recipes. Like, you could flip open to any page and be like, “Ooo!” Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Herrmann Loomis is a great example of this. There are ZERO filler recipes there.

  7. Kat says:

    oh my god, I want to be eating this right now.

    Definitely gonna try making this one.

  8. Vita says:

    I totally made this today. I added some agave, because I used 85% cacao and it needed the sugar. I also added cinnamon and cardamom, because I’m an addict.

  9. Jen says:

    I’ve always been suspicious of tofu desserts – I just assumed vegans were kidding themselves when they said they tasted good. But seeing as you mentioned in the post that you love dairy and you also likened the pudding to a $5 blowjob, I figured I’d give it a go. And you’re right, it’s ridiculously easy and tastes great. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Sunday says:

      I generally believe that vegans are kidding themselves, but there are a few instances where this isn’t the case. Veganaise for example (which Mike insists on pronouncing “vegg-an-aise”) is actually quite delicious and I prefer the cleaner taste of it over mayonnaise. Otherwise, the vegans are either lying or mad.

  10. Hannah says:

    It was nice being reminded about awesome vegan noms! I used to make something similar allll the time when I was vegan. =) I’m making this tomorrow and throwing in some Nutella. I also used it as an excuse to make pie crust for the first time ever(!!!) so thanks!

  11. cupcake says:

    I can’t wait to try this, I will let you know if I fool my husband who loves pudding but hates tofu.
    Thanks

    • Sunday says:

      Let us know if he likes it, I’m sort of afraid I’m losing my tastebud mind and it actually tastes like tofu ass to everyone else. Though, Mike is generally a great exposer of such things and he loves the tofu pudding, so maybe I’m not crazy.

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  13. Stephanie says:

    I love this recipe of Heidi’s, or whoever first thought it up. Last time I made it I threw it into an oreo crust, and topped it with whipped cream….no one batted an eye, whole pie was inhaled. I also find if eating it straight, a sprinkle of course gray sea salt on top elevates it to a new level.

  14. twoblueshoes says:

    Grainy here too! I think my mistake was chucking not-so-melty chocolate in over fridge-cold tofu and milk. Perhaps. Whatevs, though. Still put me in a dessert coma.

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