Compared to the plethora of wonderfully designed food magazines available in other countries, Germany unfortunately can’t quite keep up. The number of locally on-hand magazines is definitely manageable, including periodicals such as ELLE bistro, Der Feinschmecker and of course essen & trinken. On the other hand it doesn’t necessarily imply that they are of lesser quality; just happens that I ran across a recipe in the last edition of essen & trinken that, in light of O.’s liking for tasty espresso, asked for replication.
The making is pretty straight forward, however, next time I’d adjust the ratio between water and espresso in favor of the espresso. Just enough to give it more punch. The quality of the coffee I believe is key, blends that include any or a larger portion of Robusta beans may have a bitter/acidic influence on the taste and you would likely have to compensate with a bit more sugar. Try to go with Arabica coffee beans (single harvest are best) and have your favorite coffee shop grind them for you just when you need them, or as an alternative buy a few double espresso shots…
For the espresso jello, soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for 10 minutes. Add water and brown sugar to a pot and bring to a boil. Remove when sugar is dissolved, then add the espresso and the well squeezed gelatin.
Choose a pan with proper proportions: for instance if you’d like to make larger cubes it may have to be a smaller one, with higher rims. The one I used was 16x16cm (6x6inch). Foil-line the pan; once firm, you can lift the foil right out and cut the jello cleanly. Chill for at least 6 hours, or better over night.
For the coconut sauce, first heat up heavy cream and coconut milk. In a seperate bowl, combine egg yolk and sugar and beat until the mass becomes creamy and pale in color. Now slowly add the warm milk to the mix, while stirring until well blended. Return the mass back to the pot and constantly turn and stir at medium heat (it should not boil!) until the mix has further thickened.
Strain the sauce through a sieve and serve with the espresso cubes.
Note: While O. dove head first into the coconut sauce/espresso jello combination, I preferred a scoop of vanilla ice cream to go with them – reminded me of Caffè Affogato (espresso on vanilla ice).
Cubed Coffee (serves 4-6)
Recipe source: essen & trinken, adapted
Required time: prep. 15 min., chilling: a min. of 6h, better over night
Ingredients for the espresso jello:
120ml espresso (high quality with low acidity, e.g. Cherry Plantation A)
8 sheets of gelatine
60g brown sugar
Ingredients for the coconut sauce:
125 ml heavy cream
125 ml coconut milk
3 egg yolk
40 g sugar