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Caramel Coffee Mousse
I hope you guys remember the Café Bomba from Passion for Coffee I made awhile back. I went on and on about how impressed with Passion for Coffee I am. And nothing has changed. I’ve read more of the recipes, made that delectable coffee Anglaise a few times and this this book is just about the most comprehensive coffee cookbook you’re apt to find.
I chose to share the recipe for Caramel Coffee Mousse because I had never before seen this technique. When I think of a mousse, I think of a dessert based on whipped cream and meringue. Light and rich at the same time, made and served cold. As I read through the recipe for Caramel Coffee Mousse, I was intrigued. The base is mainly egg whites whipped with powdered sugar, flavored with caramelized sugar, coffee and almond. The whole poofy mass gets put in an oven-safe caramel-lined bowl and then baked for an hour in a water bath.
It rises and then deflates back to its original height. The texture is unlike anything I’ve tried before. Think of a cross between angel food cake and pudding. It has the look of angel food cake inside, yet it is very soft and moist. It holds up well under refrigeration, but it melts in your mouth. The coffee/caramel flavor is balanced, as all of Patricia MacCausland’s recipes have been so far. I trust her palate and her creativity.
I was so intrigued by the process that I tweeted with her about this dessert yesterday. I also showed her the photo I took of the interior of the mousse, and she said it looked perfect. So it’s Pachi approved!
As an extra bonus, she suggests you serve the caramel coffee mousse in pretty bowls with some of that coffee anglaise that I love so much! Oh, happy day! I made another batch immediately.
The only downside to this dessert, and it’s a minor one, is the aesthetics. The mousse and the Anglaise are almost identical in color, and while I don’t put nearly as much of a premium on presentation as do some folks, I still think a bit of contrast is nice. To my plating, I’ve added a drizzle of sweetened coffee syrup, also from Passion for Coffee, as well as some plain sour cream. The tang sets off the sweetness beautifully, but you can use unsweetened or barely-sweetened whipped cream instead. The Anglaise and mousse are both plenty sweet, so there is no need to sweeten the cream unless you absolutely feel you must.
Another element I might add next time would be a bit of crunch. All those smooth and creamy textures are lovely, but sometimes juxtaposing crunchy with creamy is a very good idea indeed. And Passion for Coffee even provides me with a lovely recipe for Caramelized Coffee Pecans (p28) that would be just perfect.
The recipe for the Anglaise calls for bringing it to a boil, but that goes against my Anglaise grain, so I am giving you the instructions for how I make Anglaise.
- 2 cups granulated sugar, divided use
- 1 cup water
- 6 egg whites
- heavy pinch of salt
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons amaretto-flavored freeze-dried or granulated instant coffee (I used plain and added ¼ teaspoon almond extract to the mix)
- 1 Tablespoon coffee liqueur
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (I added the almond in addition to this amount of vanilla)
- 1½ cups coffee creme anglaise, chilled
- 1½ cups whole milk
- ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar (I just used regular granulated sugar and ¼ teaspoon vanilla)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt (use this amount. It is perfect)
- 3 Tablespoons concentrated coffee syrup (made by reducing ½ cup instant coffee, ½ cup granulated sugar and ¼ cup water to ½ cup. Strain and cool)
- Place 1½ cups of the granulated sugar and 1 cup of water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Have an oven-safe 8" or 9" bowl ready.
- Bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar evenly. Once it boils, put the lid on the pot and let boil for 2 minutes to wash down any errant sugar crystals.
- Remove the lid and let the sugar boil until it is a deep amber color.
- Pour it into the bowl and, wearing oven mitts, carefully swirl the bowl so the caramel coats the entire inside of the bowl. The caramel will thicken as it cools, but you should be able to get a nice coat over the whole bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- In your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the whites and salt on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Slowly add in the powdered sugar and continue to whisk for an additional 6 minutes.
- As soon as you set your timer for 6 minutes, put the remaining ½ cup sugar and a few tablespoons of water in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Bring it up to a boil, place a lid on it for a minute or two, and then remove the lid and let the sugar cook until a medium caramel. This whole process should take about 6 minutes. If your caramel is ready before the 6 minutes are up, proceed. Caramel waits for no one.
- Once the sugar has caramelized, carefully pour it in a thin stream into the beating whites. Whip for 2 more minutes.
- Mix the coffee, coffee liqueur and extract/s together, and drizzle them into the mixer bowl. Whip another minute to evenly incorporate all the ingredients.
- Spoon the meringue into the caramel-lined bowl, making sure there are as few air pockets as possible, especially on the outside. Just look through the bowl and you can see where they are. I just used a small spatula to get rid of all the air pockets. Then, smooth the top of the meringue.
- Place in a baking dish on the center rack of the oven. Fill the dish with an inch of water, and then bake the meringue for an hour.
- Mine started to look a bit dark after 20 minutes, so I tented it with foil.
- Take the bowl out of the oven and let cool until it reaches room temperature. This can take several hours, and you may have to let it sit overnight.
- When it's time to serve, here's how you loosen the meringue.
- Carefully pull back an edge of the meringue just enough to pour 2-3 Tablespoons of water between the mousse and the caramel. Swirl the bowl until the mousse has released. This can take a few minutes, so be patient. I was not, and I ended up with spatula marks in my mousse. That's what I get for being impatient!
- Invert a rimmed platter over the bowl and then carefully flip the two, turning the meringue out.
- Spoon any caramel stuck in the bowl over the mousse.
- This doesn't slice, really, so serve large spoonfuls of it in pretty bowls along with a couple of spoonfuls of the Anglaise.
- Whisk together the milk, brown sugar, cream, yolks, vanilla sugar (or plain) and salt until well combined and frothy.
- Heat over medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Once the mixture starts to steam, it will happen pretty soon thereafter, so watch it carefully. If you have an instant read thermometer, cook until it reaches between 165F-175F.
- Immediately strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Stir in the concentrated coffee syrup. Cool and then refrigerate until cold.
I know it looks like there are a lot of steps to making this recipe, but please don’t let that intimidate you. Especially if you are comfortable caramelizing sugar you will have no problems making this mousse. And if you are intimidated by making the mousse, I beg you to make the Anglaise. It is perfect.
If you have not picked up a copy of Passion for Coffee yet, please either click one of the links in this post or on the ad in the sidebar. You can read other reviews at Amazon, buy a copy or put it on your wish list for the holidays or for your birthday. I am telling you, this is a great book.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read today. I appreciate it. Have a lovely day.