I wish I could remember when I first heard about the Vietnamese coffee filters you see in the pictures. Was it in a magazine, on a food show on tv...dunno... All I know is that I thought they would be a great piece of conversation when time came to serve coffee to my guests. I love having friends over and to me plating foods in fun or interesting dishes is as much important as making or eating it. These work like mini French coffee presses, you just set them up on top of your cup or mug, pour some coffee into them, screw the lid and let the water drip. I have had them for about five years now and I use them constantly not only because they are fun, but they give the best coffee too.
In France, Asian food is very different than here and I remember going to more Vietnamese restaurants than Chinese or Thai, and as a kid I would automatically go for ice cream or fruits and not coffee to ed my meal. My parents would always end up their meal with a little cup of sake, the ladies' cups would have a little flower in the bottom and the men's the picture of a naked lady...don't ask me why, but we (the brother and I) thought that was truly hilarious especially around 7-8 years old. Anyway....no Vietnamese coffee in all my childhood years of eating Vietnamese foods...It was not until I got here to the US that "Roomie" introduced me to Vietnamese coffee and I have been hooked ever since! If you are a coffee drinker what not try this sweet but light combination of sweetened condensed milk topped with Vietnamese coffee or if you can't find it, a French roast or a coffee with chicory.
A couple of weeks ago, Old Chef and I were playing our favorite game: come up with new menu items for upcoming catering functions. B. thinks it is hilarious to watch us elaborate because we seem to have a language of our own, a mix of French and English, words flying across dishes and piles of notes, sketches of towering concoctions of sugar, butter, cream, fruits, nuts,... We love doing that over a good cup of coffee at the end of an event or after a long day on the phone placing orders and visiting purveyors. I knew he would like Vietnamese coffee as much as the filters necessary to make it and after a cup or two, we had come up with a couple of different desserts featuring it. These tartlets and ice cream are one of them....yes, you'll have to stay tuned for next week's second installment because today's dessert is not the one we decided we would keep in the end.
This one was not bad but the white chocolate ganache was overly sweet. Since we try to be cost effective, and we foresee people leaving half the tart on their plate even if we make them smaller, we decided to make another version. Don't get me wrong, the flavors are great: coffee, cardamom, white chocolate, dark chocolate, and work well together but the white chocolate is the overkill with a condensed milk sweetened Vietnamese coffee, no matter how powerful.
In the meantime, here is part one of our experiments:
Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream:
6 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can sweetenedcondensed milk
1/4 cup freshly ground French roast coffee
Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl and set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk to scalding with the groud coffee. Pour 1/3 hot milk over yolks, whisking constantly until well combined. Pour in remaining hot milk, then pour mixture back into saucepan and return to low heat. Stir constantly until mixture has thickened enough to coat back of wooden spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the condensed milk. Strain in a fine mesh colander to filter out as much of the coffee grounds as possible. Let cool to room temperature, cover ad refrigerate until completely cold. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions.
For the Dark Chocolate Tartlets Dough:
1/4 cup toasted and skinned hazelnuts
1 cup powdered sugar, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
11/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
Place hazelnuts and 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar in food processor. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, cocoa powder, ground nuts and salt on medium speed until well-combined. Slowly add remaining powdered sugar and flour and mix well. Slowly add eggs and mix until incorporated. Shape dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to use, roll in between sheets of plastic wraps and cut out rounds to fit 4 4-inch tartlet molds. Prick with a fork and bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
For the Cardamom White Chocolate Ganache:
2 pods cardamom, crushed
1 cup heavy cream
12 oz white chocolate
Set the white chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream with the cardamom until very hot. Pour the cream over the white chocolate. Let sitfor a couple of minutes and stir until completely smooth. Pour into the cooled dark chocolate tartlet shells.and refrigerate until set.
To plate: make yourself a nice cup of coffee and serve the tartlets with a generous scoop if ice cream.
Note: I was going to post this tuesday night but decided to do a little roud of my favorite blogs and went right away to visit my girl Anita at Dessert First and stumbled upon her latest delectable creation: Chocolate and Vietnamese Coffee Tart ! I am not surprised anymore when Anita, Bea and I share a dessert with you guys and they are eerily similar in concept or taste (and believe me it has happened more than once!)....all 3 of us are Taurus!