Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chocolate tofu pudding with lavender

There is nothing like the combination of chocolate and lavender, particularly with milk chocolate.  It is soothing, sexy and refreshing, sort of like a day at a spa.  (Not that I have ever spent a day at a spa, but I imagine it would be very relaxing if I did.)  

This is an adaptation of Mark Bittman's recipe for Mexican Chocolate Tofu pudding , which calls for silken tofu, which is the texture of a very soft custard. I once made this when I only had regular tofu in the house, and it came out just as well.  It only takes a little more blending time to break down the bean curd.  The tofu will keep your guests guessing, but it works extremely well, and there is no danger of scorching milk or curdling eggs.  It is also pareve, and makes a wonderful dessert after a meat meal.  It keeps for a few days, and the flavor gets more intense as it sits. 

Bittman's recipe is seasoned with chili and cinnamon, hence the Mexican in its name.  We had some lavender in the house which we bought at our CSA, so I substituted it for the original seasonings and the results surpassed my expectations.  The lavender in question is dried lavender flowers, which you can buy at farmers markets and herb and specialty stores.  It is worth searching for.   Combining the lavender with the tofu had a similar effect to putting it in milk chocolate.    I have made it both ways.   Some people like my wife prefer it Mexican-style, but I will go with the lavender every time.  You may be skeptical, but please try this recipe. 

 Chocolate tofu pudding with lavender

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dried lavender flowers
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used 4 squares of a Scharffenberger's bar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound tofu (anything other than extra firm will work) 
  • Extra chocolate to shave on top, if you want

  1. Combine sugar and water and bring to the boil.  Boil for 1 minute.
  2. Add lavender and boil another minute.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool a bit.
  3. Melt chocolate by your preferred method. (I usually zap in in a microwave for 20 seconds at a time in a glass measuring cup until it softens.  It takes less than 2 minutes, but be careful not to burn it.)
  4. Put the tofu, chocolate and vanilla in a blender.  Strain the lavender-infused syrup into the blender, pressing the lavender to extract as much flavor as you can. Blend until very smooth.  Depending on the power of your blender, it may be necessary to stop it and stir it from the bottom with a rubber scraper.
  5. Pour into either individual serving dishes or a single bowl (glass is nicest) and chill.  The individual servings will set in less than an hour, the bowl will take a few hours.
  6. Serves 6.

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