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Tofu adds silky texture to delicious pies

Thursday, May 27, 1999

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Just mention the word tofu, and your guests will politely excuse themselves from the table. If most people can't get past the look of tofu, how can we expect them to taste it? But we have to look at tofu another way. It's a great source of protein without the saturated fat and cholesterol that most other protein sources have. Tofu also has a chameleon-like quality, assuming the flavors of whatever spice or herb it's being cooked with.

What is tofu anyway? Tofu or bean curd is soybeans that have been soaked, then ground and cooked. The soy milk is separated from the soybeans and placed in a pan where it forms into bean curd, which is then pressed into blocks.

Now that we may have piqued your interest in tofu, let's move on to our recipes, Low-fat Tofu Cheese Pie and Pumpkin Pie. At first we couldn't be convinced that tofu had a place in either of these delicious desserts. But we have to admit we liked both pies. Obviously they will not taste like a New York Cheesecake or Grandma's pumpkin pie, but they are a delicious and healthy substitute.

Since we're on a health kick here, we thought a fish recipe would fit nicely with the pies. Baked Orange Roughy with Lemon Sauce is a quick dish to prepare and the mayonnaise, lemon and parsley spread adds a zip to this mild-tasting fish.

"No one will guess it's tofu," says Jean Booker of Mt. Lebanon.

Low-fat Tofu Cheese Pie

1 12.3-ounce package silken to- fu
1/2 cup sugar
2 8-ounce packages fat-free cream cheese
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup egg substitute
2 egg whites
1 shortbread crust (she uses Keebler)
Whipped topping, strawberries or other fruit as accompaniments

In a blender or food processor, mix tofu and sugar until smooth. Scrape into mixing bowl. Add cream cheese, cornstarch, vanilla and egg substitute and beat until smooth. Add egg whites, mixing on low to blend. Do not over-beat.

Pour mixture into crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until tan color. Cool to room temperature and serve with fresh fruit and whipped topping. Serves 8.

"Have your favorite pie crust available, or try 2 cups Grape Nuts cereal with 3/4 cup apple juice mixed together and pressed in pie pan," recommends Jim Heinrich of Stanton Heights.

Pumpkin Pie

1 9-inch prepared pie crust

Blend in blender until smooth and creamy:
3/4 pound tofu (silken soft)
2 cups pumpkin (this has to be exact)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light molasses

Pour mixture into pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Chill and serve with sweet topping.

Makes one 9-inch pie.

Brenda Winkelman of Lincoln Place is a Pampered Chef consultant, who highly recommends their recipe for Baked Orange Roughy with Lemon Sauce.

Baked Orange Roughy With Lemon Sauce

1 lemon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds orange roughy fillets

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Scrape a lemon zester across lemon to make one tablespoon zest. Remove 2 tablespoons juice from lemon. In a 1-quart bowl, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, mayonnaise, parsley, salt and pepper.

Place orange roughy in a baking dish. Spread fillets with half the lemon sauce. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve remaining lemon sauce alongside fish. Makes 4 servings.

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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