Eat My Reads

What Einstein Told His Cook by Robert L. Wolke: Mocha Soy Pudding

Eat My Reads is a second blog I started a couple years ago – you know, back when I didn’t realize maintaining one and well sometimes feels like a full-on profession. I posted all of three entries on that blog and then it was crickets and tumbleweed for years. The blog no longer exists but I’m glad I’m able to bring it back under my Food section on here because Eat My Reads is about cooking something off of a book I’ve read, whether it’s a dish that makes an appearance in the book or one that’s inspired by it. Meaning, I get to combine two of my favorite things. Fanfare!

I love reading food books and I’ve read my fair share ranging from sentimental memoirs to geeking-out textbook types. Chemist and The Washington Post food columnist Robert L. Wolke‘s What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained, which is a collection of answers to food questions most asked of him + recipes, leans toward the latter but its (usually) short Q&A format and a generous smearing of humor makes it pretty easy to read.

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I bookmarked recipes I wanted to try. There will be a couple more coming from this book!

And I found it to be s0 fascinating! Off the top of my head I learned that temperature is a man-made concept that expresses how fast molecules are moving, that there is no difference between the dull and shiny sides of aluminum foil, you can wash mushrooms, and that my microwave oven isn’t trying to kill me. It’s a useful guide that I’ll be referring to again and again.

I decided to make the mocha soy pudding first because it seemed really easy and the idea of making pudding with tofu was and is still so intriguing to me! This recipe makes 4 servings and you’ll need:

1 cup or 6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

1 12 oz. (340 g) package of firm tofu, drained (mine was 10 g shy)

1/4 cup soy milk or whole milk

2 T strong coffee or espresso

1 t vanilla

A pinch of salt

 

1. My Mom always drains a block of tofu only to soak it in more water for about 5 minutes – she says this will draw out whatever chemicals are in the water the tofu comes packed in. She could’ve made this up but I feel better doing it so I do it. While my tofu was detoxing, I brewed some Vietnamese coffee.

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Why yes, that is how I feel about Vietnamese coffee.

2. I then proceeded to melt my chocolate chips. I took the quick and easy route and did that in the microwave but, of course, you can do it double boiler style or in a saucepan. Now, the microwave may be quick but you have to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t scorch. Mine almost did!

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I believe the way to go is short bursts on high while stirring often but check the package instructions to be sure. And yeah, I thought I scorched some parts of mine but some vigorous stirring took care of it. This looks a little grainy but it all worked out in the blender.

3. Whirl everything except the melted chocolate. I cut my tofu into cubes because tossing a whole block in my blender seemed clumsy and I thought maybe cubed tofu would make for a more evenly flavored and blended pudding.

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I got my soy milk, Vietnamese coffee, vanilla extract, and pinch of salt in there as well. Now blend!

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4. This mixture lacked moisture and my blades were doing the blender equivalent of car tires stuck in mud. I adjusted with splashes of soy milk but only until the blades got a move on. Because there’s still melted chocolate! Add and whirl some more.

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If it’s still too thick at this point, I suggest you thin it out with more soy milk (or, in hindsight, coffee for reasons I’ll reveal in a bit) but only until everything can be blended smoothly and no thinner than that. We are going for a pudding consistency after all. Transfer to a big bowl or individual serving bowls and refrigerate until set, about an hour.

I did both and my individual serving came out like this:

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With the pudding I had set in a big bowl, I made a breakfast parfait of sorts by layering spoonfuls of it with muesli.

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My muesli has dried berries in it and that was a nice flavor boost.

This mocha soy pudding is akin to a sturdy chocolate mousse, feels velvety in the mouth, and tastes like…very chocolate-y taho (a popular local snack comprised of silken tofu, syrup, and tapioca pearls). The coffee flavor was faint, so faint that it seems an exaggeration to call mine a mocha pudding, but this is soy-yummy all the same. And it was soy-easy to make! I’m still not over the tofu part of this pudding. Tofu!

If you’re looking for a relatively guilt-free dessert that is indulgent and satisfying, look no further. But don’t take my word for it because, wait for it…the proof is in the pudding.

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