Oh this is bad – so very, very bad. But this is also so good, so very, very good. It’s so sinfully delicious, you may have to say three Hail Marys after this one. It’s like eating a coffee ice cream sundae – only it’s not frozen so the flavor is accentuated even more. Add a satiny, silky texture to the explosive flavor combo and it goes down like…. well, like only cooked cream, coffee, and melted chocolate can do.
I’ve eaten something similar several times with friends and family at my favorite restaurant in Florence – Cibreo - and I’ve never forgotten it since the first time we all tried it (along with three or four other fabulous desserts). We were all digging in our spoons to fight for the last bite. It may not be exactly the same, but it comes darn close – and you won’t have to battle anyone for the final morsel. Naturally at home you won’t have the ambience of the Renaissance city on the Arno (unless you live in Florence), but then again who can complain when this concoction awaits.
Come on, what are you waiting for? Bathing suit weather is still a month away at least. You can repent later. Make that four Hail Marys and an extra large spoon.
You can make it for a crowd in a large pan:
You’ll be licking every morsel, I promise – provided you’re a coffee lover. Even if you’re not a coffee lover, this will jingle your bells. I never drank coffee as a child, but coffee ice cream was always my favorite and still is. If you’re still unsure, make the vanilla panna cotta I blogged about here, and serve it with either strawberries or chocolate sauce.
But you’d be missing out on this great spoonful of goodness:
If you happen to live in the Princeton, NJ area, come to the Princeton Public Library at 7 p.m. tonight to hear several local bloggers (including yours truly) talk about our favorite subject – food and the foodie places we love. The library is located at the corner of Witherspoon St. and Wiggins St.
Coffee Panna Cotta
32 ounces (1 quart) heavy cream
1 T. vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar plus 2 more T.
5 teaspoons instant espresso coffee
5 T. water
3 teaspoons powdered gelatin
unsweetened cocoa powder to sprinkle on top
chocolate-covered coffee beans to decorate
a few drops of heavy cream to make heart decorations
Brush a large 32-ounce mold with oil, or 8 four-ounce individual molds.
Put the cream into a pan and add sugar and vanilla. Cook over low heat until almost boiling. Add the coffee to the water and stir until coffee is dissolved. Sprinkle the gelatin on top of the coffee mixture and let it stand for a few minutes to dissolve. You can put the bowl into a pan of low simmering water to dissolve the gelatin.
Stir some of the reserved cream into the gelatin and coffee mix, then stir that into the remainder of the cream and sugar mixture. Pour into the prepared molds and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least eight hours, preferably overnight.
When ready to pour, dip the base of the molds into hot water, but only for a few seconds. Run a butter knife around the edges and flip onto a plate (or plates if using individual molds). Sprinkle with powdered cocoa and decorate with chocolate-covered coffee beans.
Just before serving, make the chocolate sauce and pour all around the panna cotta. The little hearts are made by placing a drop of cream on the chocolate sauce, then running a toothpick or the edge of a knife down the center of the circle. Practice first because it can be a little tricky, especially after a few minutes when the chocolate starts to thicken.
Dark Chocolate Sauce
- 6 ounces dark chocolate
- 4 ounces water
- 1 ounce butter
- 3 tbsp of sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
Put the water and sugar in a pan and heat it until the sugar dissolves. Break the chocolate into small pieces and add it to the water and sugar, along with the butter.
Take the pan off the heat and stir until all is melted and blended together. Stir in the vanilla and serve right away. Once it gets cold, it thickens a lot.