Chocolate seems like a must on Valentines Day, and this little number also fits the cuteness bill. They’re also easy to make and, more importantly for me, consist of ingredients I pretty much always have on hand. (But then again, I always have tofu in my fridge. I’m not sure how common that is.) If you don’t have plans for a holiday treat, you still have time to whip these up. The pudding takes only a few minutes, and the meringue topping is quite quick as well.
I love little desserts like this, because they’re elegant enough for adults, but kids love them too. The mousse is a deep, dark chocolate, and each bite is a combination of heavenly sweet fluffiness from the meringue and thick custardy chocolate that is just a shade above bitter. You could do a lot of variations to dress these up or down. For kids, it might be fun to use red hots to decorate the meringue, or stick a conversation heart in each. For a non-Valentines Day treat, you could omit the cherry and serve them at a dinner party with sliced strawberries on the side and a chocolate pirouette cookie inserted in the meringue.
I couldn’t resist throwing maraschino cherries on top, just to give it a little holiday flair. I know I should probably be grossed out by these chemical fruits. (My parents, interestingly enough, worked at a maraschino cherry factory in college and I’ve heard all the unappetizing details about how they’re made.) Despite that, I like to use them every once in a while. They seem so whimsical.
You might recognize the mousse here. It’s a variation of the filling in this pie recipe. However, I’ve made it thicker and more chocolatey for this dessert. You can add more or less agave to adjust the level of sweetness. And don’t be deterred by the tofu. I promise you’ll like it.
Special Diets & Allergies: Vegetarian, dairy free, nut free, vegan if you omit the meringue (you could do a whipped coconut milk topping instead).
Chery-Kissed Chocolate Cups
Makes 4 – 6 small ramekins or tea cups
These mini desserts are as adorable as they are tasty. The dark chocolate mousse is thick under the creamy, sweet meringue, making for a delightful mouthful. These are perfect for Valentines Day, with a maraschino cherry on top. I like to make them in mini teacups, but you could easily make them in ramekins. If you use teacups, just be sure they are oven proof!
1 1/2 C unsweetened, plain almond milk or regular coconut milk
3-4 T agave (depending on preference)
1/4 t salt
1/4 C cornstarch
3 T cocoa powder
1 1/3 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 t vanilla extract
8 oz firm tofu
4 egg whites
1/2 C sugar
1/4 t salt
- Whisk 1/2 C of the milk, the cornstarch, and the cocoa powder in a bowl until completely smooth.
- Heat the remaining 1 cup of milk, with the agave and salt, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until it reaches a slight simmer. Reduce heat to medium.
- Pour about 1/4 C of the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the cornstarch and quickly whisk until smooth. Then pour the cornstarch milk into the pot and whisk continuously until the pudding begins to thicken, but not so long that it congeals, about 2 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and immediately stir in the chocolate and vanilla. Continue stirring vigorously until the chocolate is completely melted.
- Pour half of the pudding into a food processor with the tofu and puree until completely smooth. (You may have to stir the remaining pudding while you do this to keep it from hardening). Quickly fold back into the rest of the pudding, then pour into ramekins or tea cups.
- Now make the meringue. Whisk the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a metal bowl.
- Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Place the metal bowl in the saucepan, being careful that it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan, and continue to whisk gently until the egg whites are very hot to touch.
- Remove the bowl and, using a standing mixer or hand beater, beat the egg whites until they triple in volume and are smooth glossy. Quickly spoon the meringue evenly into the cups or ramekins, making sure to completely cover the chocolate.
- Place the cups or ramekins about 6 inches under the broiler and broil, on high, until the meringue is lightly toasted. Watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn!
- Cool in the fridge for an hour. Top with maraschino cherries if desired and serve.