Ah yes, Cheesecake. Who doesn’t love a full-bodied, creamy-cheesy-sweet, slightly tangy, rich ‘n decadently satisfying Cheesecake? Raises hand!
Ah yes, Tofu. Who doesn’t love a lean, mean, nutritional, good-for-the-body.. oh.. um… No? What? You don’t like Tofu? You say it tastes like “wallpaper paste”? The nerve! No it doesn’t! Shame, shame, shame on you!
OK then. How’s about we mask that silly notion by combining the two, then whip it up into a delicately silky ‘n sophisticated dessert mousse? Would you consider it then? A-ha, I thought so!
Aloha Tofu recently started producing these limited edition Tofu Mousse dessert cups through the help of Chef “M”, beginning from August of this year, as a sort of marketing test. Each batch lovingly hand-made by her, Chef “M” previously served as a pastry chef for the prestigious Hotel Okura in Tokyo, where she personally prepared her artisan cheesecakes for the Emperor of Japan. The EMPEROR of JAPAN. Wow!
Paul Uyehara, president of Aloha Tofu, met Chef “M” through his wife Misa, whom having met through church, became friends, where Chef “M” would eventually bring her finely-crafted artisan dessert delights to share with the staff at Aloha Tofu’s factory in Kalihi, a.k.a. “God’s country”, a.k.a. “the center of Hawaii’s food universe”. This was the catalyst for Paul to discover how truly special her Cheesecakes were, immediately enlightened to why the Emperor of Japan insisted on her cheesecakes, and hers only. It’s THAT good.
Putting one and two together, they brainstormed ideas and came up with what you see here in the form of Cheesecake Tofu Mousse. Brilliant!
This is actually a continuation, as I’ve already introduced their Chocolate and Pineapple Cheesecake Tofu Mousse in a previous review here. Which I must note that the Chocolate flavor in that review did NOT have cream cheese in it, whereas the Chocolate flavor today does have, hence “Cheesecake”, as are all the flavors based on in today’s review.
Well let’s get crackin’, err, or should we say “whippin'”, starting with the Chocolate Cheesecake Tofu Mousse…
I already see the “secret weapon” here, which is that heavy whipping cream, along with them Chocolate Chips; the latter of which was not included in the “plain” chocolate mousse previously reviewed.
Oh, there’s chocolate chips in here for sure, in the form of chunky bitty nibs…
So how is it? Wow! Huge improvement! The cream cheese and whipping cream is definitely what makes it, making it taste more grown-up and sophisticated than the now comparably whimsical and pudding-like Chocolate Mousse flavor. Children probably won’t be able to tell the difference, but adults with discerning palates would. Then you have them nibs of chocolate chips generously swirled throughout that you get in every bite, kickin’ it up notches even further higher. 5 Ume Musubi for the Aloha Chocolate “Chocolate Chocolate Chips” Cheesecake Tofu Mousse. And that’s a lot coming from someone not too fond on chocolate.
Looks ‘n tastes like we’re off to a good start in this second round!
Next up, let’s try their “original” flavor (it’s not really called that, but used here for contextual purposes only)…
Ah, very interesting. There’s also Yogurt in there. Also noteworthy, is that with three already heavy-bodied base ingredients (tofu/cream cheese/yogurt), there’s gelatin in it. My guess is that helps it to physically retain its airy mousse body without “deflating” over the duration of its shelf life, which is one week in the refrigerator; freezing not recommended.
Good Lord, that’s just ASKING for some kind of topping to go on there! Blueberry pie filling, some nuts, granola… anything along those lines!
Let’s try it…
As suggested a second ago, “Good Lord, that’s just ASKING for some kind of topping to go on there! Blueberry pie filling, some nuts, granola… anything!” Amen brother. Amen!
I mean, sure, this is FANTASTIC in its most purest form, having the perfect balance of sweetness, along with being slightly tangy, cheesy, creamy, mousse-like in texture, ‘n all that good stuff. However, as is, this is the equivalent of eating a block of tofu without shoyu or anything else to enhance it. Appreciated, sure, but not complete, IMO. It’s ultimately just BEGGING for stuff added to it.
Yet to make it clear, I’m not knocking this “plain”, slash “original” cheesecake tofu mousse flavor at all. I actually LOVE this concept! You know why? Exactly for that reason: you can add whatever it is YOU WANT to it! Keep in mind, it’s a sweetened dessert, so it has to be something that matches that. I doubt ahi poke or kalua pig will work on top or mixed in this anytime soon. But hey, ya’ never know!
For its ability as a foundation to provide personal expression, along with its perfect execution of being exactly what it’s supposed to be, which is a Cheesecake Tofu Mousse, 5 Ume Musubi! Another keeper!
While a completely personalized mousse is great, some prefer the work already done, grab ‘n go approach, where we have our next flavor of the day, Strawberry Cheesecake Tofu Mousse…
As you may recall in the first review, each Aloha Tofu Mousse dessert cup includes this super cool, handy-dandy fold-away plastic spoon…
Let’s mix it up and do a texture check…
It certainly has an airy and light body. Also notice there’s bits of REAL fresh strawberry puree mixed generously in it, where looking back at the ingredients, that is indeed the first item listed, meaning that’s the highest in quantity on the list. So essentially this is fresh strawberry puree that just so happens to have tofu, cream cheese and yogurt in it, if you want to look at it that way. Sounds good!
OK, let’s taste this…
Brah, da’ suckah is CHERRY! Oh, I mean STRAWBERRY! lol Seriously though, dude. DUDE! Remember what I said about the Pineapple Cheesecake flavor being a “Mouthgasm”? Well, consider this one “Multimouthgasmic”, it’s that good! Yum-OH!!!
Speaking of which, what I’d like to have is a multi-fruit flavored “spread” (no pun intended), which would really take this to the next level. I’m thinking to complete the medley, add a Banana Cheesecake and Coconut Cheesecake flavor, so you can combine the four flavors in a variety of ways in one sitting, creating your own Pina Colada Tofu Mousse, or Strawberry Banana Tofu Mousse, or Tropical Smoothie Mousse. More on that in a bit.
Moving along, let’s try the Pumpkin test batch version 1…
You’re probably asking what I mean by “test batch version 1, 2, etc…”. Well, over the course of the past month, Aloha Tofu has invited me to participate as one of their “taste testers” whenever Chef “M” creates a new flavor. Meaning, still in testing phase, these aren’t being sold to the public yet, but going through recipe refinements in however many trial and error batches it takes to reach what they want it to represent in the final product going to market.
So how does this here Pumpkin Cheesecake Tofu Mousse “test batch version 1” taste? As expected, almost exactly like a good ‘ole all-American Pumpkin Pie, sans the crust, with a similar custard-like texture. That said, I think this one was a bit “flat”, lacking the airiness of a mousse, being more like a pudding. As myself and Noreen, the marketing director for Aloha Tofu agreed on, we also thought this first take on it could use a little more cinnamon and nutmeg seasoning in it. It also could use more color depth to look more pumpkin-pie like. As is, it appears a bit on the milky side. Some red and/or yellow food coloring should do the trick.
Before we move on, earlier I mentioned a medley of fruit flavors that would work together. While not available yet, in the meantime, in the style of the vintage 80’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup TV commercial, “Hey, you put your Pumpkin Pie in my Strawberry”…
“Hey, you put your Strawberry in my Pumpkin Pie!”…
LOL!!! And how’s the combination of Strawberry and Pumpkin Pie Tofu Mousse taste? Weird. Next!
So that was the Pumpkin flavor test batch version 1, made about 3 weeks ago. The following week, Pumpkin flavor test batch version 2 was released to us taste testers. Here that is…
And? MUCH BETTER! The flavor and color are SPOT on to being a knock-off of the All-American Pumpkin Pie, albeit taken way up to the next, next level! The added spices really kicked it up. The only thing that needs addressing is that it’s still more like a pudding than a mousse, which I think the pumpkin pie filling is probably too heavy to get it airy enough. I’m sure for the end product, Chef “M” will figure it out.
I suggested to Paul if they ever considered doing a Kabocha Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse, which they actually already had thought of that as well, noting that while sounds great on paper, in reality it’s not practical due to cost and complexity in production, whereas pumpkin pie filling is readily available in bulk-sized, ready-to-use cans at comparably low cost.
Moving along, this next one is the same Pumpkin test batch version 2 with the addition of top-shelf caramel added to it…
The caramel really deepened the tone of it, where you’d just as well guess this is Butterscotch; a pudding flavor I love, B-T-W! As for the flavor, I dunno’. I mean it’s delicious by all means, however I think the caramel somewhat overpowers the pumpkin flavor, confusing your palate as to what exactly this is supposed to be. Sort of like a “Suicide” Soda, mixing a random combination of flavors at the fountain, where in the end, all it tastes like is “something?” sweetened carbonated water. Personally I say stick with the classic Pumpkin Pie flavor and don’t mess with it, however Noreen said other taste testers really liked this one, so we’ll see if this one makes it to the press.
Next up, the Caramel Coffee…
Oh. Em. Gee. Dude. DUDE! OFF THE CHARTS!!! By far the BEST ONE YET! Nuff’ said. OK, I’m done. Time to pack up and go home. Thank you. Seriously though, like WOW! Them Starbukarooz ain’t got NOTHIN’ on this! Where the Strawberry and Pineapple flavors both get 10 Ume Musubi, this gets 20! I can’t say what kind of ground is used in this, but let’s just say it comes across as “Kona Coffee-like”. At least I think so. To be honest, when I tasted it, I couldn’t tell there was caramel in it, because I wasn’t aware of it. After discussing it over the phone later with Noreen, she affirmed there was indeed caramel in it, which I suppose is what took this over the top.
Come to think about it, the Machiatto-inspired Coffee flavored Tofu Mousse could take all kinds of tasty barista twists, from Hazelnut to San Fransisco Mint. Oh, the possibilities!
With that, I’m happy to announce that Aloha Tofu will bring to market the new (and refined) Pumpkin and Caramel Coffee flavors starting later this month (October 2012) in celebration of Halloween, and then Thanksgiving. Yay!
As you might expect, every possible drop was licked out of the containers of these Aloha Tofu Cheesecake dessert cups. Every possible drop, except what was STUCK within the ribbing of the plastic cup…
To which Paul said he already has a replacement for these containers that will be smooth, so you can scoop every last milligram’s worth. Trust me, you’ll want to lick every last drop!
Finishing up today, let’s get our creative juices flowing and brainstorm more flavors we’d like to see tried in the form of an Aloha Cheesecake Tofu Mousse. Such as:
• Green Tea (done already, however currently not available)
• Butterscotch (my favorite!)
• Hazelnut Chocolate (Nutella)
• More FRESH fruit varieties such as: Coconut, Banana, Papaya, Kiwi, Melon (ooh!), Lilikoi, Peach, and on and on…
…of course ANY flavor idea you may have CAN be done by getting the “plain” Cheesecake Tofu Mousse and simply adding whatever you want on or mixed in it and, BAM, say for me, I’ve got my “Melona Cheesecake Tofu Mousse”! I am SO trying that!
Previously only available from Thursday through Saturday, due to increased demand, Aloha Tofu Mousse flavors are now available throughout the week, direct at the factory only, in very limited quantities, while supplies last. Price is $2.75 for each 4 oz. cup. Call ahead for availability.
Aloha Tofu Factory
961 Akepo Lane
Honolulu, Hawaii 96817
Tel. (808) 845-2669
Need more reasons to visit Aloha Tofu Factory direct? How’s about cheaper-than-retail prices on all their other products!…