Wednesday, September 12, 2012

RECIPE - Café au Lait Pots-de-creme (Potinho cremoso café com leite)

This astonishingly contemporary recipe is the last one in Flavors of Brazil's trilogy of 19th century recipes from Fazenda Capoava Ranch and Hotel in the state of São Paulo. Like our two previous recipes from the hotel's restaurant, this simple and elegant dessert was adapted from the original hand-written recipes found in the hotel's archives by Heloísa Bacellar, a reknowned chef from São Paulo (the city).

RECIPE - Café au Lait Pots-de-creme (Potinho cremoso café com leite)
makes 6

4 large whole eggs, preferably free-range
1 cup brewed coffe, strong, preferably dark roast
2 cups whole milk
2 cups granulated white sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
coffee beans (optional), for decoration
Preheat oven to 325F (160C).

Have ready 6 ovenproof ramekins or custard cups. Put 1 cup of the sugar in a small saucepan, add the 1/4 cup water and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until you have a medium brown caramel. (Click here for a demonstration how to make caramel). Using caution because of the high temperature of the caramel, immediately pour 1/6 of the caramel into the bottom of each ramekin. Reserve the ramekins, letting the caramel cool.

Prepare a bain-marie by having 4 cups (1 liter) of water at the boiling point. Carefully position the 6 ramekins in a large roasting pan or lasagne dish.

Over a medium mixing bowl, pass the eggs through a sieve into the bowl. Add the coffee, milk and the other cup of sugar. Mix well with a spoon, then beat with a whisk or eggbeater until you have a frothy, like mixture. Pour the mixture into the 6 ramekins in the roasting pan.

Carefully place the roasting pan in the preheated oven, then pour the boiling water into the pan to create the bain-marie. Cook for 35 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle of a custard comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and let cool completely on a wire rack. When completely cool, refrigerate for at least six hours.

Serve the ramekins cold. If desired, decorate the surface of the custards with one or two coffee beans.

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