A few months back, Dave and I took a trip to our local Asian supermarket to get some ingredients for dinner. We ended up picking up delicious pre-made frozen scallion pancakes (one of my favorites) as an appetizer and veggies for what Dave would probably consider to be his signature Thai red curry. It's delicious every time he makes it, without fail.
While shopping for produce, I spotted something curious: soon tofu. Labeled as "extra silken" or "extra soft" tofu and packaged in a tube-shaped plastic sheath, neither of us had ever seen it before in conventional or other Asian supermarkets. The tofu's custard-like consistency and general lack of flavor (aside from a faint nuttiness) inspired me to try my hand, once again, at making a vegan dessert that didn't suck—lest anyone forget the chia pudding and avocado chocolate pudding fails that I've mentioned before and still haunt me to this day. (Fail and yuck.)
At that point, lemon bars had been on my mind for a while, so I made vegan lemon bars using soon tofu my challenge. I processed the tofu with cane sugar, coconut cream, citrus zests and juices, cornstarch, and a few other ingredients to form a very smooth filling. The mixture as it cooked resembled a thick, lemon curd-type filling. Success! It needed more sugar than I would have liked to include, though, in order to mask the nuttiness of the tofu and make it taste like a dessert. Otherwise, so far, so good.
When I started to make the crust as the filling cooked, I found that the only cookies I had on-hand were Simply Made Keebler Butter Cookies. As the name implied, they were made with butter and, therefore, not vegan.
Not wanting to go back to the grocery store that day, I pressed on with making and chilling the crust. Once cooled, I added the filling and put it back in the fridge to chill several hours until well-set. Dave and I ate the bars for dessert that night and they still tasted great!
There's good news for anyone hoping to recreate these as a totally vegan, dairy-free dessert: Unlike traditional lemon bars, the filling isn't loaded with eggs and butter. It would be easy to substitute a vegan cookie in the crust and get similar results.