Hannah Kaminsky ~ Most commonly associated with New Year’s festivities, champagne is actually one of the few alcoholic beverages we always have on hand… Although that doesn’t mean we’re big on drinking it. In fact, those bottles in the back of our liquor cabinet have been there for as long as I can remember, and they’re likely to stay there for many more years to come as well. However, if there’s ever a good time to crack open a bottle of bubbly, this is it, and what ingredient would be more perfect to highlight in a New Year’s Eve dessert?
Appropriately decadent for such merriment, but still unbelievably simple, you could actually throw this recipe together at 10 pm and still have a dessert to toast with when the ball drops at midnight. Creamy and redolent with rich vanilla essence, the champagne flavor is delicate but absolutely detectable. Although you could easily stop right there with nothing more than a simple custard, I decided to dress mine up with a small dollop of unsweetened, whipped coconut cream, and a handful of crunchy chocolate pearls to mimic the bubbles that would be in the drink. A fantastic contrast to the sweet pudding base, I’d recommend substituting crispy cocoa rice cereal should such a specialty item be unavailable.
Place the white chocolate (finely chopped if using bars) in a microwave-safe dish along with the margarine and 1/3 cup of the champagne. Microwave on high for 1 – 2 minutes, checking at 30 minute intervals and stirring thoroughly until melted. Commercial white chocolate chips are notoriously difficult to melt smoothly, so they may need a good bit of coaxing; After two minutes, let the mixture rest for 5 minutes, stir vigorously, and begin the cycle again. Don’t panic when it turns a translucent, yellow-ish color, as this is normal and it will re-solidify in a more off-white hue.
Meanwhile, thoroughly drain your container of tofu, and place it in a food processor or blender. Puree, periodically scraping down the sides of the bowl, until smooth and lump-free. Set aside.
Once entirely melted and smooth, add in the remaining champagne, vanilla bean seeds, and salt. Reserve the spent vanilla pod for another purpose, such as making vanilla extract or vanilla sugar. Mix well but gently to combine, to prevent the champagne from foaming up, and transfer the mixture to your food processor or blender which is full of tofu. Blend to combine, and once fully incorporated, divide the mixture between four champagne flutes. Chill for at least two hours before serving. Top with coconut creme and chocolate pearls of cocoa rice cereal if desired. Cheers!
Article, photos, and recipe by Hannah Kaminsky, author of My Sweet Vegan and the Sweet Vegan eCookbook Collection. Hannah is currently studying photography, and blogs many of her crafts, photos, and food creations at Bittersweet.