Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lemon Pudding (Dairy-Free)

At a dinner party a few months back, I overheard one of my closest friends say, "You know Katie only has us over for dinner because she wants to make a new dessert."

I laughed, but there's definitely truth to that statement.

Dessert usually comes first in my menu planning.

This chocolate peanut butter brownie cheesecake inspired a meal. So did this tuscaloosa tollhouse pie. And this chocolate mousse cake.

To name a few.

For the past few weeks, I've been trying to go dairy-free in all my baking and cooking at home (butter is an exception, of course). I feel happier and healthier than I've been in a long time.

But I've got a MAJOR concern: dessert.

Yes, I can make dairy-free desserts, but they're rarely the desserts I crave (visit my Pinterest board to see the desserts I really want). I like my desserts to be full fat, filled with heavy cream and cream cheese and all the chocolate you can squeeze in.

And I'm concerned that to make desserts dairy-free you have to omit all my favorite things. So I set out on a mission to find some dairy-free desserts that I truly find delicious.

This lemon pudding, adapted from Joy the Baker, is certainly a good start. It's smooth and creamy, and the lemon flavor really shines through, aided by both a generous amount of lemon zest and lemon juice.

Finished off with a sprinkle of homemade granola, coconut, crushed nuts or crushed cookies, each bite of pudding has the perfect combination of crunchy and smooth. I think I could sneak a dish in front of friends who don't read this blog, and they'd never even guess they were mostly eating tofu.

Now I'm off to find similar recipes but with chocolate, because it's really not a dessert if there's no chocolate.

Lemon Pudding (Dairy-Free)
recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

This recipes serves four.

1 package 12.3 ounces extra-firm silken tofu
1/3 cup honey
Zest of one lemon
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup toppings (try granola, toasted coconut, crushed salted nuts, crushed cookie, graham cracker crumbs, blueberries, etc.)

Place the extra-firm tofu in between layers of paper towel. Set aside on a plate to drain for at least 10 minutes. 

When the water is drained from the tofu, combine the following ingredients in the bowl of the food processor: tofu, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, vanilla extract and cornmeal (optional). Blend on high speed for about 1 minute, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Transfer to small serving bowls, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Remove chilled bowls from the fridge, top with desired toppings, and serve.

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