Almond Tofu With Poached Apricots & Black Sesame

November 14, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by Tim Morrish. Prop Stylist: Veronica Olson. Food Stylist: Yossy Arefi.
  • Prep time 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Almond Tofu, sometimes called Almond Junket or Annin Tofu, is a Chinese dessert that made waves in America on the menu at the Mandarin, Cecilia Chiang’s revolutionary Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. The restaurant, which opened in 1962, was the first to serve upscale, Northern Chinese cooking that proved to the likes of James Beard, Julia Child, and Alice Waters that Chinese food was hardly monolithic. Cecilia Chiang was—in my opinion—the most important Chinese chef in American history. She was a mentor of mine and would often call me out of the blue with recipe ideas, like this one. Originally, the dessert would have been more jelly-like, set with agar and served with canned fruits, but like with many of my recipes I’ve developed a version that pushes me to never lose my edge by innovating—much like the new Lexus RX. It’s a modern composed dessert that features a pudding made with floral Chinese almonds, poached apricots, and black sesame and almond sauces poured over the top. —Lucas SinLucas Sin

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Lexus. —The Editors

What You'll Need
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Almond Tofu With Poached Apricots & Black Sesame
  • For the almond milk:
  • 1/2 cup Southern Chinese almonds (sometimes called apricot kernels), rinsed
  • 1/2 cup almonds (or slivered almonds), blanched and peeled
  • 3 cups water

  • For the almond tofu:
  • 1 cup almond milk (from recipe above)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin, bloomed in 2 tablespoons water for 3 to 5 minutes
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

  • For the almond sauce:
  • 1 cup almond milk (from recipe above)
  • 2 tablespoons osmanthus syrup (or apricot jam)

  • For the black sesame sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon glutinous rice, soaked overnight in a few inches of water in the fridge
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds, toasted (add a few white sesame seeds so you can easily tell when the black sesame seeds are toasted)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons honey

  • For the poached apricots:
  • 8 dried apricots
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 2 long strips lemon zest

  • To finish:
  • Yellow/orange edible flowers (optional)
  1. Make the almond milk: Soak the Chinese almonds and blanched almonds in 3 cups of water overnight at room temperature or in the fridge.
  2. The next day, blend the mixture until extremely smooth and strain through a nut milk bag or a fine sieve. You should have about 2 cups almond milk.
  3. Make the almond tofu: In a small saucepan over medium, heat 1 cup almond milk and heavy cream until simmering, about 3 to 5 minutes. Working quickly, add bloomed gelatin, sugar, and salt, stirring until fully dissolved. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and almond extract, then mix to incorporate.
  4. Arrange 4 small bowls or heat-proof cups on a quarter sheet pan (or another small flat tray), then evenly divide the almond mixture among bowls (about ½ cup per bowl). Transfer to the refrigerator and let sit for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.
  5. Make the almond sauce: While the almond tofu chills, combine remaining 1 cup almond milk and osmanthus syrup in a small saucepan over medium-low. Heat until simmering (about 5 minutes) and strain. The liquid should be just a touch thicker than when it began. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to an airtight container and place in the fridge until fully chilled.
  6. Make the black sesame sauce: Strain rice. In a blender, blend sesame seeds, rice, honey, and water until completely smooth. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally until the mixture thickens, about 7 minutes (you’re looking for a consistency similar to heavy cream). Set aside and transfer to the fridge until fully chilled.
  7. Poach the apricots: In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the wine is syrupy and the apricots are soft and tender, about 20 minutes. Allow the apricots and syrup to cool until they’ve reached room temperature. Remove apricots and cut into wedges. Set aside.
  8. To serve, place a few wedges of apricot on the surface of the set almond tofu. Pour black sesame sauce into a bowl or container with a spout. As gently as possible, spoon a layer of almond sauce onto the surface of the black sesame sauce so that the white almond sauce floats, as much as possible, on the surface of the black sesame sauce. Do not stir. Tableside, pour the sauce over the top of the pudding. If the sauce was layered correctly, the combined sauces should make black and white striations over the top of the pudding. Serve cold and garnish with edible orange and yellow flowers, if using.

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