Thursday, January 17, 2013
coffee pudding with lemon cream
Coffee is an important part of my grandparents' lives. Having lived through the Second World War and the Winter War, they both know what it is like to be without, to live on the bare necessities of life. My grandfather fought in the war, but he doesn't talk about it. My grandmother is more than willing to talk about her past; filtered and chosen versions, though, I'm sure.
Because of the war, they both went through years of coffee substitute. It seems at times as if they need coffee just to be reminded of what isn't anymore; that it is long since the war. Nowadays, as soon as 2pm rolls around, a pot of coffee is brewed and served with something sweet, usually homemade. To skip the coffee in the afternoon is unheard of.
Many times I have been sitting at their small, round kitchen table. A glass of juice - or nowadays, a cup of steaming coffee in my hand, waiting for Grandma to finish going through the cupboards for all the sweets they have. Pastries or a pie, cookies, ice cream, chocolate. There would always be something; usually quite the spread of goods. If there were ready cut pieces, the biggest one would be given to me. If there were only two pieces left for the three of us, my grandparents would share a piece to give me a whole one. Once we all had something on our plates, Grandma would start talking - about anything and everything. Stories of their neighbours, of their lives, of whatever had happened to them that week. The constant flow of her talking would not stop until one of us would get up from the table, finished long ago but not wanting to leave.
Coffee is slowly making its way into my life, as well. The last year of high school, I drank a lot of coffee just to stay awake to study for my finals. Nowadays, I drink coffee more for the pleasure of it than for the caffeine. It is a slow but sure process for me, to fall for coffee more and more every day. Most of my favourite moments involve coffee: a steaming cup of coffee in the morning when reading my Bible, the occasional indulgent latté in the afternoon when writing or reading.
Not only does coffee go well with sweets, it often is great in desserts. A shot of espresso in brownies - or pretty much anything made of chocolate - makes them all the more better. As it turns out, coffee also makes a great pudding. Paired with sweetened vanilla lemon cream, this pudding is packed with flavour. Though the days are longer, I still feel like a little extra energy is needed at times and this is just the dessert for those days.
Coffee Pudding with Lemon Cream
adapted from The First Mess
serves 4 to 6
* I have made this with cream and coconut milk, and I love it both ways. Using coconut milk doesn't impart coconut flavour. Rather, it just makes this pudding an easy, from-the-pantry dessert.
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk) OR coconut milk *
1/2 cup espresso or strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
a good pinch of salt
In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt; make sure there are no lumps. In a saucepan, bring cream and coffee to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, vigorously whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Let it boil for 1 minute, than take off the heat. Spoon into serving cups and sprinkle sugar on top to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
Vanilla Lemon Cream
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 tbsp sugar
zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tsp)
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
In a bowl, whip the cream, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla until soft peaks start forming. Spoon a dollop of cream on top of the pudding and enjoy.