Thursday, February 21, 2013

Baking: Almond Tofu with Fruit

Almond tofu. It's one of those desserts that only Chinese people like. Is it the texture? The taste? Not sure but no other person I know actually like it. I'm trying to change that but it's difficult when even I didn't like how this dessert came out. It wasn't the fruit. That was wonderful and beautiful as you can see from the pictures. It was the almond tofu pudding itself. It was very grainy. Like eating wet wood dust. Not fun. Not fun at all. At least it was pretty, right?

The dessert started out with heating up the milks: almond, soy, and whole milk.
Then you add the almond powder. This is where everything went downhill. Yes, at the second step. Sigh...there was no turning back now. I didn't find almond powder. So instead, I grated whole raw almonds. It took awhile to grate but I was determined. I should have saved my time and effort.
I added that to the milk and whisked it until combined. It was really thick at this point. To that I also added the sugar, gelatin, and extract and whisked that until melted and combined.
I turned off the heat and strained the liquid. This is where I knew something was wrong. The liquid was too thick. I thought it was the gelatin at first. Did I add too much? No, it was still warm so it hadn't solidified. Oh darn, it was the almond shavings. They absorbed so much of the liquid and have now turned into a paste. I used a spatula to push any liquid through. I had to strain it twice.
I tasted the milk at this point and it was grainy and thick. Ugh, Not good. Maybe it'll taste better when solidified. So I poured it into individual cups and let it cool overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day, I scooped a bit out to taste. It was slightly better but still not good. What to do now? Instead of throwing it out like I should have, I disguised it with fresh fruit. I used canned lychees, kiwi, pomegranate seeds, blood orange segments, and Asian pear.
I put in a lot of fruit so that it'll still feel like dessert even if they skip the almond tofu part conpletely. Half fruit, half pudding.
So how did it go? I was right, most people avoided the almond tofu part. Some people tried it and thought the same as I did. Thank you for being honest, by the way. I really appreciate it. But at least the fruit was good. That was the saving grace. I do have to redeem myself one day though.

Recipe adapted from Yi Reservation

Almond Tofu
Makes 8 Servings
475 ml unsweetened soy milk
475 ml whole milk
400 ml unsweetend almond milk
50g unsweetened almond powder
60g sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
5 1/2 to 6 tsps unflavored gelatin
Fresh fruit (1/2 can lychees, 1 kiwi, 1/2 pomegranate, 1/2 Asian pear, 2 segmented blood oranges)

1. In a pot, combine the soy milk, almond milk, and whole milk. Warm up mixture on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Do not allow to boil or simmer.
2. Add almond powder, sugar, and extract and whisk until dissolved, about 2 minutes.
3. Add gelatin and whisk until dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
4. Strain mixture through a fine sieve. Discard any solids.
5. Pour mixture into individual cups, let completely cool, cover then refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
6. Before you serve, remove almond tofu from refrigerator. Prep fresh fruit and top decoratively.

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