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Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream and White Chocolate Cardamom Tartlets

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!

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Anh June 22, 2007 um 5:03 am

I miss the Vietnamese coffee, its aroma and strong flavours. I NEED to get my parents to bring some here for me…

Lovely tart and ice cream Helen! This combination is defenitely wonderful!

Meeta K. Wolff June 22, 2007 um 5:38 am

Now that does look scrumptious and a very grown up flavored ice-cream. I was wondering if one could use other types of coffee, for example I have a wonderful arabic blend that I got from Dubai. Would that work too?

lululu June 22, 2007 um 5:44 am

Hm……Such a French-looked dessert!!!! Though it’s vietnamese! Yummy!

Rosa's Yummy Yums June 22, 2007 um 6:37 am

That dessert looks gorgeous! Very flavorful and original…

Inne June 22, 2007 um 9:05 am

Looks absolutely yummy, Helen. Chocolate, coffee and cardamom – one of my favourite combinations!

I’ve never seen Vietnamese coffee filters before, but in Belgium we’ve got something similar: plastic thingies with a single coffee serving in the bottom to put on top of your cup. They’re not reusable though, so these ones make much more sense.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) June 22, 2007 um 10:33 am

We brought those same coffee filters home from Vietnam, and even though I don’t love the sweetened condensed milk, my hubby does. He would love this ice cream flavor, too.

Rebuke June 22, 2007 um 12:01 pm

Wow, they look so good. I’d love some ice-cream right now…

Blame It on Paris June 22, 2007 um 1:08 pm

This is beautiful!

Do you know the part I miss most, when I eat at "Chinese" (usually not really) restaurants here as opposed to in Paris? Wrapping the nems in lettuce with mint leaves and dipping it into the sauce. I never could manage to eat them that way without having sauce dripping down my wrists, but it’s such a wonderful difference in flavor. I wish restaurants here did that. But I have no idea why it’s done in France and not here, because I don’t know enough about Asian food really. Do you know?

Cynthia June 22, 2007 um 1:49 pm

oooooohh yeah, Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream – a keeper recipe.

Hey, you would be glad to know that I tried the cherry/coconut coffee cake – a total winner and also another blogger tried it – Carolyn at Mountain Meadows.

Maggie June 22, 2007 um 2:57 pm

I am so pleased I found your site -it makes me very happy! Indeed your dessert makes me very, very happy!!

Anonymous June 22, 2007 um 4:02 pm

first of all i love Vietnamese coffee. sweetened condensed milk with coffee is heaven, i’m dying for one right now!

second, i’ve never seed these individual pots, wow would that impress. how cool!

Mandy June 22, 2007 um 4:30 pm

I love Vietnamese coffee too. It’s relaxing just to see the coffee slowly dripping down to the condensed milk. Of course your Vietnamese coffee ice cream will be a perfect ending for a summer meal. 🙂

Lis June 22, 2007 um 4:42 pm

I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for this post! I was on the phone with you when you were making it. heeee!

It looks as lovely as you described that day.. I’m quite taken with the ice cream.. just sounds soo good this time of year.

Lovely – as always, my friend!


Peabody June 22, 2007 um 7:49 pm

I would giggle at the naked lady sake cups.
Love the combonation you got going on!

Nora B. June 23, 2007 um 1:50 am

I’ve been looking for a dark chocolate tart dough recipe, so thank you! thank you! Love the photos.

monica June 23, 2007 um 2:49 am

i love vietnamese food, and, i too, while in france tended to gravitate towards vietnamese restaurants when hunger struck. these desserts are gorgeous, and i can’t wait to see what you actually decide to make! white chocolate and caradmom…make my knees weak.

and thank you so much for the congrats! your support is deeply appreciated!

Mallow June 23, 2007 um 6:02 am

Anything with cardamom and I am ready to eat, especially with a little ice cream on the side!

That is so weird about you and your fellow Tauri…(Tauruses?)

Jen June 23, 2007 um 5:20 pm

Both the tart and the ice cream look to die for.

Those Vietnamese coffee filters are just great aren’t they?

Kelly-Jane June 23, 2007 um 7:55 pm

Looks great, and a good balance of flavours, great photo too, I like how the tartlette case is emphasised by your table!

Amrita June 24, 2007 um 1:28 pm

Oh that looks sooooooo good! Fantastic stuff, Helen!

emily June 24, 2007 um 5:51 pm

I love the combination, though I’ve never had Vietnamese coffee . . . can’t wait to see your other trials.

Anita June 24, 2007 um 6:28 pm

Yes, I love it when all of us Taureans are on the same wavelength! I love the image of you brainstorming with the chef, thinking up ever-more-imaginative desserts! The tart and ice cream look fabulous and sound so refreshing:)

Big Boys Oven June 25, 2007 um 12:23 am

Oh my God, what a lovely creation you got there, mystically!

MyKitchenInHalfCups June 25, 2007 um 10:49 am

The coffee has me drooling! Lovely.

Patricia Scarpin June 25, 2007 um 5:35 pm

Helen, as much as people say (and I know) that white chocolate is not chocolate and all that story, I love it anyway. And what a wonderful thing to see it put to such good use! 😀

Tarah at Genesis of a Cook June 26, 2007 um 12:13 am

I came across your blog and I’m so glad I did! This looks absolutely devine! So does everything else. Great job!

Thistlemoon June 30, 2007 um 6:01 pm

This looks to die for! Vanilla and cardamom AND coffee? Why you have all my very favorites in one dessert!

SteamyKitchen July 2, 2007 um 9:52 pm

oh so not fair….i don’t even want my supper anymore…just feed me pls!

ENRIQUE QUIROZ CASTRO July 5, 2007 um 8:39 pm


Mr. Z July 6, 2007 um 12:03 am

Great work. Mr.Z would love to taste all these.

Nur November 6, 2007 um 1:29 pm

I am going to use the white Chocolate and Cardamom ganache for filling coffee Macaroons with it 🙂

thank you very much.

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