Saturday, September 24, 2011


Best Blog Tips

My Almond Cream Whipped Topping on the Lemon Tiramisu from my book, World Vegan Feast.

For many years (like most vegans, I suspect) I tried to make a tofu whipped cream that I really liked.  I finally came up with a version that was acceptable, but it was always evident that it was tofu.  While developing recipes for my subscription newsletter, The Vegan Feast (it ran for 5 years but I am no longer producing it), I developed a delicious, light, clean-tasting, not-too-sweet whipped topping made mostly from almond milk, and it remains my favorite still. ( I prefer not to use whipped coconut milk, which feels too heavy for my taste and is full of saturated fat.)

I tried making it with commercial almond milk, but it just didn't have the fine taste and the body of that made with homemade almond milk.  However, that's not really a deterrent because nut milk is really easy and relatively quick to make.  In fact, the whipped topping is very easy to make, especially if you use a microwave to do the cooked part. (Scared of microwave ovens?  No need to be-- here's some info I've collected and here's an article from The Sierra Club. And, in the book "Cooking Green: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen", author Kate Heyhoe tells us that microwaves can save up to 80% energy compared to doing the same tasks made on the stovetop or in a conventional oven-- so it makes sense to use it for little tasks like heating a cornstarch mixture.)

I'm sharing the recipe with you below (after some photos of the topping used on some yummy desserts), and I hope you'll enjoy it!

More desserts heaped with this delicious (and fairly low-fat) homemade vegan whipped topping:

                  On Scottish Trifle, from my book, World Vegan Feast.

On a Blueberry Shortcake

     On Mango Trifle with Indian Spices, from my book, World Vegan Feast.

In Tiramisu from World Vegan Feast

On a peach shortcake
Printable Recipe

Makes about 2 cups, GF (Recipe from my book, World Vegan Feast.)
This is my all-purpose whipped topping – rich, creamy, and light, with a lovely, subtle almond flavor. It can be the perfect shortcake topping when made with a little less agar powder (1/2 teaspoon) because traditionally, the cream for shortcakes is not whipped to stiff peaks, but left soft. PS: This topping is NOT stiff enough to use for a cake icing!

For best results, make the topping at least 4 to 6 hours before serving, but it can be made several days ahead of time. (The recipe is easily doubled.)

1 cup blanched, slivered raw almonds
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons unbleached organic sugar (light-colored)
2 tablespoons cornstarch (you can choose an organic one) or  wheat starch (which is GF) OR 3 tablespoons white rice flour
3/4 teaspoon agar powder (use 1/2 teaspoon for a softer cream) NOTE: Do not use agar flakes (Agar powder is actually less expensive than flakes if you compare by weight!)
1/4 cup firm silken tofu (NOTE: if you prefer to leave this out, use 1 tsp. agar powder)
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Optional: 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

1.) To make the Almond Milk (this just takes a few minutes):
In a blender, combine the almonds and hot water and blend until very smooth. Be patient and let it run for several minutes. Strain the resulting almond milk through a cheesecloth-lined colander over a clean pot, measuring pitcher or bowl. Use 2 layers of fine cheesecloth from a fabric store (or use a nut milk bag). Gather the cheesecloth up to make a “bag” and twist and squeeze the “bag” to squeeze out as much of the almond milk as possible. You can use the almond meal for a facial scrub. NOTE: Do NOT substitute commercial almond milk beverage for the homemade almond milk-- the recipe will not work with the commercial stuff.

2.) In a small saucepan, mix 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the almond milk with the sugar, agar and cornstarch. Stir the mixture over medium heat until thickened and translucent. Or use the...
Microwave Option: Mix in a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl (with room for the mixture to rise up) and cook 30 seconds on 100% power (default setting), whisk and repeat 3 more times or until thickened and translucent. (See note about microwave cooking in the text above the recipe.)

3.) In the blender, combine 1 cup more of the almond milk, the silken tofu, salt, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract, if using. Scrape the cooked mixture into the blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for about 1 hour, then beat the mixture briefly so that it is creamy. Chill again for at least 3 hours.

Nutrition Facts:
Nutrition (per 1/4 cup): 133.4 calories; 58% calories from fat; 9.3g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 47.3mg sodium; 149.0mg potassium; 9.7g carbohydrates; 2.0g fiber; 4.2g sugar; 7.7g net carbs; 4.6g protein; 3.0 points.

Enjoy on your favorite desserts!


Emily of The Best of this Life said...

Wow Bryanna! This is an awesome recipe :)
I love almond milk and to make a whipped topping out of it - well that's brilliant! Thanks for sharing!!

Hanna said...

I'll have to try this--I'm also looking for a good whipped topping recipe. I'm not in the habit of using tofu for desserts, but I should just give in. With such a small amount of tofu, is their any replacement you could recommend, or do you think it is really necessary?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Yes, it's only a tiny bit, but I think it adds a little more body and you certainly don't taste it.

Anonymous said...

I made the almost blue cheese dressing from a few posts back and oh my goodness, it is wonderful. I could eat it by the spoonful. I really like the taste of the fermented bean curd, although it took a bit of getting used to. Thank you for introducing me to this new flavor.

There is an interesting article at about having some Chinese chefs in China taste cheese for the first time and compare it with Chinese fermented foods. Go to


Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thanks, Joanne! Very interesting!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bryanna, I'm new to the vegan world, mainly due to many food intolerances recently discovered. Among them is soy. I struggle to find recipes that don't include tofu. Is there a substitute for it, or can I just leave it out? Thanks for your help!


Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Kat, as I said to Hanna up above, Yes, it's only a tiny bit, but I think it adds a little more body and you certainly don't taste it. However, you can try it without! let me know what you think!

Ricki said...

Bryanna, I just received a copy of your book for review and I can't wait to dig into it! So many fabulous recipes, and glad to see lots of gluten free options, too. And this cream looks fabulous! :D

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thanks, Ricki! I just posted on your post about whipped topping!

Anonymous said...

I made it today, meant to use it as a cake frosting, but it didn't set at all :( it was very liquidy. I used the saucepan option. Also I have to say I could taste the tofu (and I used slightly less than recommended).
I'll maybe try it again cause it was okay with fresh fruit and it looks really nice on the pictures above.
Any idea what might have gone wrong? I followed the recipe exacly and it seemed fine when I put it in the fridge.


Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Susus, you may not have cooked it long enough. That's one reason I prefer the microwave method-- it always comes out perfectly, no guessing! "Translucent" is what you are looking for in the cooked mixture. You shouldn't taste 1/4 cup of tofu in that-- especially silken tofu, so ???

You are using agar powder, not flakes, I hope?

Susu said...

I'm using powdered agar, the one with a telephone on it :)
I'll use the microwave method next time then.

I don't know whats wrong with me but I really could taste the tofu (I used the mori-nu vacuum packed kind). I can taste it in almost anything but the chocolate mousse... But it was definitely less identifiable after the cream has been in the fridge for a while.

Anyway I'll try it again and see how it goes. I'm also looking forward to trying your buttah and many other recipe (ordered your last book last week :) and I've had great success with your tofu feta (/marinated tofu, also made with agar btw :).

Mk said...

This looks so good. Is there any reason not to use almond milk instead if making it from scratch?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

MK, commercial almond milk for drinking is not nearly as creamy and rich-tasting as homemade.

Jenny said...

I made it today and it was very runny too :( I wanted to frost my sons birthday cake. Anyone had any luck?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Jenny, this is not as stiff as whipped cream and cannot be used for an icing. But, as you can see from the pictures, it is whipped enough for topping a shortcake or pudding or fruit. Possible problems: 1.) You need to follow the directions exactly, 2.) use the homemade almond milk-- don't try using commercial almond milk beverage; it's not creamy enough-- and 3.) make sure that the agar powder is cooked properly (the microwave method works best, IMO). It MUST be translucent (not white). 4) Also, do not substitute agar flakes for powder-- you would need to use 6 times more flakes than powder and flakes must to be cooked longer. 5.) Chill for AT LEAST 3 hours. That's all I can think of-- I've made it many, many times with no pproblem.

Julieslymediseasefight said...

Thanks I have had a heck a time trying to find something that doesnt have coconut in it

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

I know what you mean, Julie!