I posted last week on my twitter account that I had watched an episode of “A Lyon in the Kitchen” (this is not surprising or newsworthy) and that Nathan Lyon had made a non-dairy chocolate mousse that had blown my mind.  There were three ingredients, I kid you not: silken tofu, almond extract, and chocolate.  Amazing!  Now, I am neither vegan nor vegetarian.  I am, however, always on the search for new, interesting and healthy recipes, and I do have a certain amount of lactose sensitivity.  So of course, I decided I simply had to try the recipe.

Here’s the recipe, copied from the show’s site at Discovery Health (http://health.discovery.com/fansites/nathan-lyon/recipes/non-dairy-chocolate-mousse.html):

Non-Dairy Chocolate Mousse (serves 4)

14 ounces of ‘silken’ tofu, sitting at room temperature for 30 minutes
6 ounces of good quality semi-sweet chocolate, 62% cocoa, plus extra for shaving
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
Fresh raspberries, garnish
Fresh picked mint, garnish
Over low heat in a sauce pan or over a bain-marie with simmering water, melt the chocolate.  Then in a blender add the tofu and almond extract; then on the lowest setting, blend until smooth.  Add 1 teaspoon water if necessary to expedite the blending process.  With the blender on the lowest setting, pour in the melted chocolate and using a spatula to scrape down the sides, blend until fully mixed.  Spoon into serving dishes and chill in the refrigerator.  Garnish with berries and mint.

–> Naturally, I had to tinker with the recipe.  I doubled the recipe, since I hadn’t read the “serves 4” part and on the show he’d only filled 2 glasses of mousse.  Because of this miscalculation, I ended up with about 6 GENEROUS portions of mousse (I’d say about 8 oz each; which is really a lot considering how rich this dessert is)

I didn’t use fresh raspberries or mint; what I did do was us some mixed frozen berries that I had on hand and let them thaw for a bit before topping the mousse with them.
Also, since no one I was serving was actually vegan or for any other reason avoiding dairy, I topped them with some home-made whipped cream.

The mousse was surprisingly good!  Like, I knew it was going to be good, but this turned out amazing.  It wasn’t light and airy like a proper french mousse is, since of course there was no air painstakingly whipped in.  But silken tofu is pretty light on its own, and it was definitely nice and smooth.  Tofu also actually does have a flavor, albeit a very light one.  So the mousse came out chocolately, and slightly sweet, and also just a bit tangy from the tofu itself.  It was quite interesting.  I found the almond flavor a little overwhelming, so next time I do this I think I’ll go with half the amount of almond extract and the other half vanilla.  Or just all vanilla, and toasted almonds on top.  Yeah, that sounds right.  Also I think rather than semisweet, I’ll just go full-stop and use milk chocolate, because I like my chocolate mousse to be fairly ridiculously sweet.

All in all though, a fantastic experiment and something I’m really glad I tried.  The only other vegan dessert I know how to make is vegan brownies, and that gets boring after a while. =)