surfacing from the undissolved cocoa floe woes ::::
I am blessed with home-grown asparagus and beets this spring from a friend. Oh, the plans I had: a pasta dish with a whirl of asparagus tips! Or maybe some parboiled spears with lemon butter. Or a delicate phyllo wrap and baked. Then I ended up steaming it with butter and salt, eating the entire pound myself. While the beets made for a beautiful photo, scruffy and earthy, the purple and golden flesh gleaming from a quick rinse in the sink, I also ate the entire roasted bowl of them, dressed with feta, almonds, and balsamic dressing. And no photo of the finished (and quickly eaten) product.
Instead of my well-intentioned seasonal post, one of spring greens and recently hibernating root vegetables, I turn back to my dessert options and fancy drink options. How could one not turn to dessert, that always reliable back-up plan? Why not mix up a few drinks? Somebody’s game to sample. The weather may be budding with summer expectation, I am still stuck into some of the winter fare. The hot tea, the lattes, the occasional luxurious treat of homemade hot cocoa with homemade marshmallows. But there is a problem. These are my cocoa woes: discrete, aggressive floes of undissolved milk powder, rising to bob and loom on the surface of my cocoa. With mixing, these lumps then settle somewhat at the bottom of the mug, waiting for my last gulp to reveal themselves. Uck.
This is easily rectified by skipping over those floes and muddiness, jumping into something totally different. It is coffee gelée. While I’m not a regular coffee drinker, I do like a good cup of coffee occasionally, homebrewed or non-corporation brewed cup preferred. Cozying up with coffee in the blooming springtime entitles one to change it up, re-define it, and present it in an almost unrecognizable state. You cannot drink the gelée. It will not scald your tongue. And you certainly cannot brew it in five minutes (you need to allow the gelées to set about 6 hours).
This is a marvelous dessert in small scale. It is perfect after a large voluptuous meal, one in which dessert may be compulsory and need not be overindulgent.
- FOR THE CANDIED PISTACHIOS: 1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons hot water
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- FOR THE GELÉE: 1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup freshly brewed espresso*
- FOR THE TOPPING: ¼ cup 2-percent Greek yogurt
- ½ tablespoon confectioners' sugar (optional)**
- MAKE THE CANDIED PISTACHIOS Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, stir the granulated sugar with the hot water. Add the pistachios and turbinado sugar; stir to coat. Spread the pistachios on the cookie sheet and bake until crisp, about 8 minutes. Let cool, then break into pieces.
- MAKE THE GELÉES In a small glass bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir the sugar into the espresso until dissolved. Stir in the gelatin until dissolved and pour into 4 espresso cups. Refrigerate the gelées until set on top, about 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until thoroughly set, at least 4 hours longer.
- MAKE THE TOPPING In a bowl, stir the yogurt with the confectioners' sugar. Top each gelée with a dollop of yogurt, sprinkle with the candied pistachios and serve. Makes 4 small, but satisfying, desserts.