Almond Tofu with Fruit Cocktail
ALMOND “TOFU” WITH FRUIT COCKTAIL Xingren Doufu SERVES 4
A popular treat on tables throughout Asia—especially at dim sum—this milky dessert can take on many consistencies: as firm, jiggly cubes, as an almost crisp and crunchy finish when made with agar-agar, or as a sweetened tofu pudding. To call this tofu is a bit misleading since my recipe uses agar-agar, not tofu, which has the texture of gelatin. A Japanese version—called annin tofu—is actually made with crushed apricot kernels instead of almond extract, and is delicate and delicious. Though it doesn’t sound very sophisticated, canned fruit cocktail—as well as its syrup—is the perfect topping.
¼ cup sugar
4 ½ teaspoons agar-agar powder, or 41⁄2 teaspoons (about 2 pouches) gelatin
1 ½ cups whole milk
2 tablespoons almond extract
1 8-ounce can fruit cocktail in heavy syrup, chilled
Bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan, and add the sugar and agar-agar. Stir until dissolved. Pour in the milk and the almond extract, and continue stirring until the mixture is well blended. Remove from the heat.
Pour the mixture into an 8 x 8-inch square dish. Refrigerate until the dessert is starting to firm up but is not yet fully set (about 10 minutes for agar-agar, and 30 minutes for gelatin). Stir about half of the can of drained fruit cocktail into the mixture, making sure it is immersed in the pudding. Chill until set. To serve, cut the chilled pudding into 1-inch cubes and divide among 4 bowls. Top each bowl with additional fruit cocktail and its syrup.
Tip: For a pretty presentation, substitute some of the fruit cocktail with canned mandarin oranges. Pour the mixture into little rice bowls rather than a square dish before refrigerating.