When I gave myself the gift of summer, I hoped for adventure and I hoped for leisure. While adventure is on the horizon (I'm headed off to France in two weeks!), this week was spent catching up on a year's worth of much needed relaxation. I pulled a deck chair out into the sun, slathered on the sunscreen, and read my way through a couple good books. With a tall glass of ice water at my side, it felt very much like a dream.
I have been savoring these little moments, taking them in and bundling them up for a rainy day. When summer ends and the responsibilities start up once again, I'll take one of these memories out, smooth out the edges, and remember the feeling of the sun and the smell of the grass.
Custards are among the things I do not need to be reminded to savor. As a part of my own tradition, I use the smallest spoon in the drawer. Eating it slowly, one small bite at a time, letting the flavor linger. These custards are simple to prepare, an afterthought to create after dinner, but they can be enjoyed for several evenings after.
Chocolate and espresso go together effortlessly and it shows in this simple dessert. Perhaps this can be your own reminder to slow down and take in the moment with a little more awareness than before.
Chocolate Espresso Custard is a sweet, cool treat to enjoy any time of the year. While this version is dairy-free, utilizing coconut milk and coconut whipped cream, I have added substitutions to make it a bit more traditional. The smooth flavors of chocolate and espresso are both pronounced. When garnished with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and chocolate covered espresso beans, this custard will disappear in no time.
One Year Ago: Rhubarb Ginger Bars and Nutty Rhubarb Oatmeal
Two Years Ago: Coconut Waffles, Dark Cherry Fruit-On-The-Bottom Yogurt, and Mocha Granola
Three Years Ago: Creamy Grape Salad, Cornmeal Parmesan & Poppy Seed Crackers, and Piña Colada Cupcakes
Four Years Ago: Chocolate Orange Miniature Cakes, Simple Rhubarb Jam, and Twix Cookies
Chocolate Espresso Custard
Yields 4-6 servings
14 ounces (400 grams) full-fat coconut milk (can also substitute half and half or whole milk)
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely
1 teaspoon vanilla
Coconut Whipped Cream (or regular whipped cream), optional
Shaved chocolate, optional
Chocolate covered espresso beans, optional
In a large saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk, espresso powder, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to low.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Pour a small amount of the milk mixture into the eggs and stir quickly to prevent the eggs from cooking. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and whisk everything together.
Turn the heat back up to medium and continue cooking, while stirring. Once the pudding thickens enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon, about 5-10 minutes or more, remove from heat.
Stir in the chopped chocolate until the pudding is smooth and completely melted. Stir in vanilla extract. Pour pudding evenly between serving dishes, cover, and place in the refrigerator to cool.
Just before serving, garnish with coconut whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and chocolate covered espresso beans.