As an avowed coffee addict I also adore desserts containing my favourite drug. Last week I thought it was high time I tried to make one on my own. Browsing through my cookery books I was tempted to make not the easiest coffee éclairs, but finally opted for the cream recipe I found in “Le meilleur et le plus simple de Robuchon“ (The best and the easiest by Robuchon).
Even though he doesn’t have anything in common with coffee, Joël Robuchon is worth mentioning here for those who have never heard about him. He is the chef, who has collected the biggest number of Michelin starts in the world (26!) and whose most famous recipe was… potato purée! Several years ago Robuchon retired, travelled all around the world, especially to Asia and ended up creating a new “open kitchen” concept of restaurants. His “Ateliers” have been opened in several countries in the world. Click here if you want to learn a bit more about this extraordinary and – what is rare among the big chefs – humble and truly nice man.
Let’s go back to the cream. The recipe didn’t call for coffee, but I saw modifying it would not be a big problem. As the title promised, it was very easy indeed and I say this, conscious of the fact that many people dread the hot water bath, or “bain marie”, necessary in this recipe. I don’t know why I added cardamom, but it proved a wise decision, since it added dynamism and complexity. The coffee-cardamom combination creates a refreshing, elegant and serious dessert, particularly pleasant on hot days. As almost always I have slightly modified the basic cream recipe.
Preparation: 1 hour + at least 2 – 3 hours in the fridge
Calories: approx. 4 x 155 kcal (if using skimmed milk and real sugar)
3 or 4 individual baking dishes
Ingredients (makes 4 small or 3 medium creams):
400 ml milk (I used skimmed)
4 egg yolks
4 tablespoons sugar (or sweetener)
2 heaped tablespoons instant coffee or 2 very small and very strong espresso)
2 pods of cardamom
Pour the milk into a pan.
Crush the cardamom pods and throw them with the grains to the milk.
Slowly bring the milk to boil.
Put aside and let the cardamom infuse for about 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 140°C.
Combine the yolks, the sugar and the coffee (cold if using espresso).
Strain the cardamom milk into the bowl with egg yolks.
Discard the cardamom and wash the pan.
Mix everything with a spoon and pour into the pan.
Heat the mixture for about 10 minutes (without boiling).
Boil a big amount of water.
Prepare a baking dish at least as high as the individual cream dishes and big enough to contain all the creams.
Strain the cream mixture into the individual dishes.
Place them in the big baking dish.
Fill the big dish with boiling water so that half of the creams is covered.
Cover the creams tightly with aluminium foil and put (very carefully!) into the oven.
(This step is very important to avoid a thick “skin” forming on the top of the creams.)
Bake for about 25 minutes (the creams are ready when only the centre is slightly trembling, but the rest is set).
Let them chill and put into the fridge for several hours.
Serve very cold.