So this would not be the first tofu ice cream recipe I have made. However, it would be the first where I do not use coconut milk – that makes a huge difference in the actual flavor of the ice cream, as coconut milk, while it does contain the necessary fat to create creamy vegan ice cream, tends to overpower anything that it is paired with. Especially the delicate soy notes of tofu. With this recipe, I experimented a little. I have made tofu aioli before by blending tofu with oil, and that created a pleasantly creamy texture from emulsifying the fat from the oil with the proteins in the tofu. So I figured, why not try that with this ice cream? By blending a little of a neutral flavored oil into the tofu mixture, that would provide the fat to the ice cream base that coconut milk or heavy cream would normally have. The end result? Really creamy ice cream with a pleasantly nutty tofu flavor. However, that’s not even the biggest revelation in this recipe.
When I was pouring out the tofu liquid, I did not want to pour it into the sink, since I was recording the recipe for a reel on Instagram, and did not want to turn my back to the camera just to do that. So I poured the tofu water into a bowl, and noticed something – it was foamy. That instantly reminded me of aquafaba, which is the water from a can of chickpeas that can be whipped into a meringue. So I literally applied the exact same idea to the tofu water, and with surprising results! The flavor of the meringue had a very subtle soy notes, but it definitely worked in the form of a baked meringue surprisingly well! I figured, why not pair the meringue chips with the ice cream, and dust them with a little kinako(toasted soy bean powder) to finish? With that, you have soy three ways, two of which were from the same exact container of tofu! Oh, and the recipe is 100% vegan and gluten-free!
For the ice cream:
1 454g packet of silken tofu, water reserved for the meringue
3/4 cups granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons canola oil
Puree everything together in a food processor until fully combined and smooth. If necessary, add up to 2 tablespoons of cold water into the mixture to help everything blend together. Pour into silicone or ice cube molds and freeze solid, at least 4 hours. Puree the frozen ice cream base in a food processor again until creamy and smooth in consistency, but still cold to the touch. Re-freeze the pureed ice cream in a freezer-proof container for at least 3 more hours before serving.
For the tofu water meringue:
Reserved tofu water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Reduce the tofu water by half in a pot. Cool down the water completely before whipping with the other ingredients until they form stiff peaks. Spread onto a lined sheet tray and bake at 175 degrees F for 1 1/2 hours. Break into smaller pieces and store in an airtight container.