Saturday, November 12, 2011

Irish Coffee Mousse - Worth the Caffeine!

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Phew - it was just a dream! Now, Irish Coffee Mousse is a proper pick-me-up!

I’d been sent some Really Good Organic Coffee from Café de Cuba to sample. I don’t often drink coffee – remember the coffee-grinds-on-the-ceiling incident?  So when I drink coffee, it has to be WTC* – Worth The Caffeine. This was WTC, and the hint of vanilla and chocolate got me thinking about dessert in general, and coffee desserts in particular. The obvious coffee dessert is tiramisu - cue wibble wobble flashback sequence...

Years ago I had a friend who would sometimes mind my house when my beloved and I went on holiday. His specialty was an incredible tiramisu. He always made an enormous bowl of the stuff to welcome us home. I liked tiramisu but after the ninth helping it was more of a ‘put-me-down’ than a ‘pick-me-up’. You really can have too much of a good thing. Groan. Eventually, we had to confess that we donated his tiramisu to more appreciative diners.
Ok, we're back in the present day. It was all a bad dream.
So not tiramisu then. Something light... Something easy... Something that wouldn’t involve a trip to the market. Coffee and walnut... ? Done that. Irish coffee... ? Too early in the morning to be quaffing Irish coffee. But the idea had potential...

My mother makes a gorgeous fruit mousse. Drop the fruit, add some strong coffee, a little white chocolate to emphasise the vanilla, a shot of Irish whiskey, a swirl of cream on top... Irish Coffee Mousse. Sigh!

Drop the fruit, add some strong coffee, white chocolate, a shot of Irish Whiskey ...

For 4 - 6 servings you will need...
200mls evaporated milk, chilled (place in the freezer for an hour-and-a-half)
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
100mls strong coffee (I used 40g Really Good Organic Coffee grounds for this amount)
4 leaves of gelatine and a little cold water to sponge
50mls Irish whiskey
100g white chocolate, grated

Whipped cream to decorate

1                 Brew the strong coffee and place in a measuring jug along with the whiskey. Meanwhile, sponge the gelatine by placing it in a bowl and covering it with cold water. After a few minutes it will soften. Remove from the bowl and squeeze any excess moisture out of the gelatine. Place it in the hot coffee and stir until completely dissolved. Leave to cool, stirring occasionally. You are looking for the moment when the mixture starts to thicken to a syrup-like consistency as it starts to gel. If you add the coffee mixture before this stage, you'll end up with coffee pannacotta, which is not the texture we're going for.
2                 Whisk the chilled evaporated milk with the brown sugar until it thickens and forms soft peaks when you lift out the whisk.
3                 As soon as the coffee mixture starts to gel, whisk it into the evaporated milk until combined, light and fluffy. Divide the grated chocolate between pretty glasses or coffee cups and top with the mousse and a swirl of cream. This amount makes 4 large portions or 6 more dainty portions.
You could use a cream liqueur in place of the whiskey if you prefer. You could also use decaf and replace the whiskey with an extra 50mls of coffee and a teaspoon of vanilla extract if you prefer a more innocent dessert. I've also made this with low-fat evaporated milk for an even more guilt-free experience.

Café de Cuba has also introduced a decaf, and Cha - a range of organic teas from the Himalayas. I've tried Spring Mint (organic green tea and mint) and Golden Mango and was pleasantly surprised.
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