Friday, August 12, 2005

SHF#11:A Pair of Coffee Desserts

Amongst the many kitchen gadgets on my wish list, a pump-driven La Pavoni espresso machine ranks up there in the lust-worthy stakes. I love a properly made espresso - smooth, suave and seductively syrupy in consistency, replete with a luxuriant cap of fine-grained crema. Unfortunately, a state-of-the-art machine capable of producing a real espresso is also capable of inducing severe sticker shock. Back in the real world, my daily caffeine-delivery system of choice is a French press by Bodum, which makes a decent-enough cuppa to feed my habit. I used to drink so many cups of coffee a day (think double-digits) I had withdrawal symptoms (read cantankerous) when doing without. Fortunately for my near and dear, I am down to a modest 3-cups-a-day and am reassuringly mild mannered in between fixes.

Coffee is the fabulous theme of SHF#11, hosted by Ronald of the wonderful LoveSicily. I love using coffee to flavour desserts almost as much as I love coffee, or I love desserts. Its deep, dark and full-bodied flavour perfectly frames chocolate, and surprisingly enough, can be an excellent foil to fruit (particularly orange).

White Chocolate & Coffee Towers with Mocha Creme Anglaise
Based on a recipe in A Passion for Desserts by Emily Luchetti, this elegant sweet features a fudgy chocolate cake layer topped with an extravagant white chocolate and coffee mousse, the whole gilded with an intense bittersweet chocolate glaze. To contrast its velvety lushness, I topped it with some shards of homemade honeycomb - the crackling texture is exactly like the moreish interior of candy bars like Violet Crumble or Crunchie - which I had handy thanks to a candy-making bout last week; almond or hazelnut praline would work just as well, I imagine. For the mocha creme anglaise, I spiked it with a touch of coffee liqueur (either Kahlua or Tia Maria are good) after the sauce was taken off heat.

Espresso Orange Panna Cotta Parfait with Coffee Gelee
I turn to Claudia Fleming's The Last Course whenever I seek special desserts that are unusual yet decidedly lovely. The panna cotta parfait is a perfect example of Fleming at her inspired best. A translucent layer of potently flavoured coffee gelee is suspended between two decadently creamy layers of panna cotta - one infused with finely ground espresso (I use Illy), the other perfumed with orange zest. The result is real eye candy, which counts for a fair bit in my books where desserts are concerned. But far more importantly, the combination of flavours beautifully exploits the natural affinity between coffee and cream, and coffee and orange. To hint at the citrus cameo, I topped its quiveringly set-just-so surface with slivers of candied orange peel. While I used glasses to show off the parfait's striking layers, porcelain is a terrific idea if you're intent on surprising your guests.

30 Comments:

Blogger Ruth said...

As usual, your photos are eye candy and your descriptions make me drool!!!

11:03 pm, August 12, 2005  
Blogger soycap said...

It looks beautiful and delicious! Amazing :)

3:02 am, August 13, 2005  
Anonymous Chefdoc said...

Hi J,
Just found your site via Stephen's at What's For Dinner? Great looking desserts and posts! Will keep in touch.

3:08 am, August 13, 2005  
Blogger J said...

hi ruth, thanks for your kind words of encouragement.

hi soycap, thanks! you are very kind...

hi chefdoc, thanks for dropping by...i can't believe i didn't come across your amazing blog earlier ;) cheers,j

3:24 am, August 13, 2005  
Blogger Ana said...

Beautiful pictures, as usual, and the description of the dessert is just mouth-watering. Pity you don't post the recipe.

9:14 am, August 13, 2005  
Anonymous ChubbyCat said...

Both desserts look truly divine! The drippy goodness of the mocha creme anglaise just beckons to be consumed.

10:06 am, August 13, 2005  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I don't think I could live with myself if I didn't try to copy your panna cotta this week! Thanks for the great idea. I can hardly wait to try it.

1:14 pm, August 13, 2005  
Blogger J said...

hi ana, if you'd like, i can email you the recipe/s - white choc&coffee towers and/or pannacotta?

hi chubbycat, thanks :)

hi jennifer, i adore claudia fleming's book - it's chockfull of fabulous ideas that are simple yet wonderful...cheers,j

2:06 pm, August 13, 2005  
Blogger latifa said...

once said:A picture paints a 1000 words. And Your paints a million words.
P.S: when are you going to release your cookbook?

4:54 pm, August 13, 2005  
Anonymous augustusgloop said...

Wow. As always your posts are a work of art in everyway. Your choice of recipe, your vivid descriptions, and of course the jaw-droppingly beautiful way in which they are photographed.

The langorous way in which that chocolate glaze is slowly dripping is utterly seductive as well. Argh! I need it! Now! =)

6:32 pm, August 13, 2005  
Blogger tara said...

Love the addition of the honeycomb to the first dessert. Seems the perfect textural foil to the glaze.

8:46 pm, August 13, 2005  
Blogger Nic said...

J - These are so elegant. Fantastic entries to this month's SHF.

10:20 pm, August 13, 2005  
Blogger Reid said...

Hi J,

As always, the photos are beautiful. The espresso orange panna cotta sounds/looks delicious. I wonder how it would taste with lemon though as I'm not really a fan of orange flavored desserts.

10:24 pm, August 13, 2005  
Blogger patricia said...

hi J,

i saw your blog featured in the straits times so i decided to check it out.

the pictures are really good!

10:31 am, August 14, 2005  
Anonymous Liz said...

Wow! Your dessert looks great, no DIVINE.

11:14 am, August 14, 2005  
Blogger J said...

hi latifa, thanks :)

hi ag, thanks, you're very kind. am a big fan of languorous chocolate dripping too ;)

hi tara, thanks. glad you concur - the honeycomb added much-needed contrasting crunch to an otherwise soft dessert...

hi nic, thanks! :)

hi reid, thank you. i think lemon would work a treat...cheers,j

hi patricia, thanks for visiting. glad you like the pictures. cheers,j

hi liz, thanks :)

6:56 pm, August 14, 2005  
Blogger eatzycath said...

hi J - congrats for making ST's hot blog of the week - keep up the really good posts!

10:25 pm, August 14, 2005  
Blogger babe_kl said...

*jaw dropped* gosh looked so superb... everything...

8:42 am, August 15, 2005  
Blogger Amy said...

Hi, J. Gorgeous photos, as usual. Can you email me the panna cotta recipe, too? It sounds amazing (and I think I'd go with the glass instead of the porcelain--it just looks too impressive to hide!)

10:01 am, August 15, 2005  
Blogger pseudo chef said...

White choc, coffee and liqueur - perfect combination :D

They all look awesome!

2:34 pm, August 15, 2005  
Blogger J said...

hi cath, thanks! i'll try my best ;) cheers,j

hi babe kl, thanks :)

hi amy, thanks! glad to see you share my exhibitionistic streak...will email you the recipe soon...cheers,j

hi pseudochef, thanks for dropping by and your kind words. cheers,j

5:45 pm, August 15, 2005  
Blogger Clare Eats said...

I can't beleive I missed SHF :(
Your coffee deserts look fabulous!
You should try roasting your own coffee it is easy and the results are amazing

8:44 pm, August 15, 2005  
Blogger J said...

hi clare, i knew something was amiss (your missing entry...)! thanks for tip; will try it some time...cheers,j

9:46 pm, August 15, 2005  
Blogger boo_licious said...

Wow, fantastic entries and the pictures make me wanna to take a shuttle to Singapore to taste test them.

11:35 am, August 16, 2005  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Gorgeous desserts, gorgeous entry. Thanks so much for joining in on SHF!

8:16 am, August 17, 2005  
Blogger J said...

hi boolicious, anytime ;)

hi jennifer, thanks :)

1:39 pm, August 17, 2005  
Anonymous Midge said...

Hi, J. Everything looks deliciously beautiful!

4:24 pm, August 17, 2005  
Blogger J said...

hi midge, thanks! btw, love your site too...cheers,j

5:14 pm, August 17, 2005  
Blogger Pille said...

Lovely! I now need to decide whether to make your coffee pannacotta first or Delicious:Days blueberry one:) Choices, choices..

7:48 pm, August 23, 2005  
Blogger Simon said...

I've just found your blog about starbucks coffee pods whilst I was looking for more information to add to my blog about starbucks coffee pods. You've got a great blog going here. It's always good to have more information about starbucks coffee pods. I've just started my own blog about starbucks coffee pods if you would like to take a look.
Keep up the good work.

12:37 am, October 29, 2005  

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