Espresso Crème

June 17, 2007

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This is one fantastic dessert. Don’t freak out at all the steps. All it takes is a little patience and an electric mixer. Pour yourself a glass of wine or a cup of coffee or tea, crank up your favorite work-along music, and settle into the routine. You’ll be happy you did—so will everyone you love. SAM

6 eggs, separated
1/4 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
Dash of salt
2 cups freshly brewed espresso coffee, warm
2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons light rum
1 cup whipping cream
Confectioner’s sugar and chocolate curls for garnish

In the top of a double boiler off the heat, beat the egg yolks slightly. Stir in 1/4 cup sugar, the salt, and coffee. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and let stand for 2 or 3 minutes to soften. Place the double boiler over simmering water and cook the egg mixture for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture coats a spoon. Remove from the heat. Through a fine sieve, strain the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the rum. Place the bowl in a pan of ice water and chill, stirring often, until mixture is the consistency of uncooked egg whites.

With an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until foamy and doubled in volume. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sugar dissolves completely and the meringue stands in firm, glossy peaks. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the whipping cream on high speed until it stands in stiff peaks.

Into the thickened gelatin mixture, gently fold first the meringue, then the whipped cream, until no streaks of white remain. Spoon into a greased 8-cup mold and chill 6 hours or until firm. To unmold, run the tip of a sharp knife around the top of the mold, dip quickly into hot water, cover with a plate, turn upside-down, and lift off the mold. Garnish with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar and chocolate curls.
Makes 8 servings.