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Tropical Fruit Pudding

Whenever Mark Bittman, author of VB6, serves tofu pudding—and with so many variations he can make it frequently—everyone is shocked to find there’s no dairy involved. Creamy and sweet with fresh mango, crunchy with toasted coconut and bright with pineapple, this version is a great way to make tofu converts of your friends and family.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. maple syrup or other sweetener
  • 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) silken tofu (about 3 cups)
  • 2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into big chunks
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. coconut extract (optional)
  • 1/2 large pineapple, peeled, quartered and cored
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz./90 g) unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions:

Put the syrup, tofu, mangoes, vanilla, salt and coconut extract in a food processor or blender. Puree, stopping to scrape down the sides whenever necessary, until completely smooth, at least 1 minute total. Transfer the puree to a large bowl.

Chop the pineapple into 1/8-inch (3-mm) pieces and fold it into the pudding. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours.

Put the coconut in a large fry pan. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool. (You can store the coconut in an airtight container in the refrigerator for days.) To serve, spoon the pudding into bowls and sprinkle with the toasted coconut. Serves 4.

Variations:
- Gingery Mango Pudding: Ripe papaya—instead of the mango—is good this way, too. Substitute 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) minced candied ginger for the coconut. No need to toast.

- Chocolate-Cherry-Coconut Pudding: Skip the mango and use 2 cups (6 oz./185 g) chopped pitted cherries instead of the pineapple (frozen is fine; let thaw a bit first). Melt 6 oz. (185 g) chopped dark chocolate and puree it with the tofu mixture.

More Ideas:
- Mix and match the fruits, changing both the pureed fruit and the chopped fruit. Some good combos are bananas with strawberries, peaches with raspberries, papaya with blueberries, and blueberries with peaches. You get the idea.

- Top the pudding with toasted nuts instead of coconut.

Adapted from VB6, by Mark Bittman (Clarkson Potter, 2013).