Almond Tofu and Fresh Fruit Cocktail

The Almond Tofu and Fresh Fruit Cocktail Recipe is my take on what is arguably the most popular dessert in Chinese restaurants around the world. From restaurants to potlucks to authentic home-cooked meals, almond tofu has been part of the Chinese dining scene since the 1960s. There isn’t any tofu in the dessert—with its pristine white color and silky smooth texture it just closely resembles tofu. Although almond tofu is usually made with milk, I use soy and almond milk for a dairy-free delight. Most almond tofu is served with canned fruit cocktail, but I can’t stand that muddled, mushy, overly sweet stuff. This fruit cocktail is fresh and complex with a medley of textures.

Almond Tofu:
1 1⁄2 cups (12 ounces/336 grams) almond milk, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
1 1⁄2 cups (12 ounces/336 grams) unsweetened, unflavored soy milk, preferably homemade
1⁄2 cup (33⁄4 ounces/106 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon almond oil or extract, optional
1⁄8 teaspoon salt

Fruit Cocktail:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7 1⁄2 ounces/212 grams) sugar
1⁄4 Asian pear, cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
Eight 4-inch-long strips orange zest (removed with a vegetable peeler)
16 seedless red grapes, cut crosswise into 1⁄16-inch slices
2 small peaches, pitted and cut into
1⁄4-inch wedges

1. To make the almond tofu: Put the almond milk in a medium mixing bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the milk. Set aside until softened, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, put the soy milk and sugar into a large saucepan and warm over mediumhigh heat, stirring, just until the sugar is completely dissolved and bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pan.

3. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture until dissolved. Stir in the almond extract. Divide the mixture among eight serving bowls or glasses and refrigerate, uncovered, until set, about 3 hours.

4. Meanwhile, make the fruit cocktail: Put the sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup looks clear, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the pear and orange zest. Cool to room temperature.

5. Add the grapes and peaches to the fruit syrup. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

6. To serve, remove the orange zest from the fruit cocktail, and divide the fruit and syrup among the serving bowls.

Almond Tofu and Fresh Fruit Cocktail
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