This is by far my favorite Chinese dessert. My Mom used to make it for us when we were growing up and the sweet aroma of almond extract drifting through the house would bring happy tears to my eyes. I think this dessert is responsible for my lifelong obsession with anything almond!
The great news for vegans or for those who just feel a little uneasy about eating gelatin (yes, gelatin is an animal product!), is that Almond “Jello” can be made with agar agar (a gelatinous substance derived from algae). In fact, I make mine from a box mix containing sugar and agar agar, found at my local Asian market. Simply add non-dairy milk and you have yourself a refreshing vegan delight!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- one box of agar agar powder
- 4 oz sugar
- 6 cups water
- 3 cups soy or almond milk
- 2 tsp almond extract
- one can of mandarin oranges, chilled
In a large saucepan, combine the agar agar powder, sugar and water and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a full boil. Remove the mixture from heat, stir in the non-dairy milk and almond extract and mix together well. Carefully pour the mixture into a 9×13 pan and place into the refrigerator until firm. Moving the shallow pan of hot liquid into the fridge takes patience and control so be careful! : )
Once the dessert is firm, cut it into cubes and spoon into individual bowls. Top with chilled mandarin oranges or any other fresh fruit (citrus tends to taste best) and serve.