I would like to dedicate this first coffee-based recipe to my dear friend over the pond Rick. We share the same love for heavy metal, we listen to pretty much the same bands and we have one common addiction: coffee.
Why have I called this recipe “Good morning / Good night”? well, because due to the time difference, when my day starts (with an espresso, of course), Rick’s day is about to end; when my day is about to end, Rick’s day is just starting (with coffee, of course). This is an easy, no-fuss dessert, to celebrate our common love for coffee and, most of all, our crazy friendship. Rick, if you are reading this, I salute you with my coffee cup raised in your direction!
I swear, hand on heart, this custard is dead easy to make. It will be ready in minutes and you can serve it either hot or cold. I know that custards can be scary, especially if you never made one, but trust me when I say that this is stupid proof: if I managed to make it successfully, anyone can.
For the coffee custard
- 4 egg yolks
- 40g sugar
- 2 tsp corn flour
- 300ml double cream
- 120ml milk
- 2 tbsp instant coffee
Yes, you read it right, I used instant coffee. To a coffee lover like me, instant coffee is a no-no. I refuse to acknowledge its existence and I would never drink it unless my life was at stake. Why did I buy then, if I hate it so much? because it is often a great ally in recipes where adding coffee would mess the balance between liquid and solid ingredients. I used two heaped tablespoon because I like my coffee strong and so does Rick. You can put less, you can put more, it is totally up to you and to the brand of instant coffee you choose. Try, tailor it to your taste and balance the coffee strength with the sugar. Do not, and I cannot stress this enough, do not use ground coffee: yes it will give you a nicer flavour, but the texture will be hideous as ground coffee will not dissolve and it will feel like you dropped coffee-flavoured sand into your custard. Been there, done that, hence why I am strongly against it.
Enough with my rant now, let’s start making this custard!
On a bowl, whisk the yolks with the sugar and the corn flour until everything is well incorporated.
Pour your double cream, milk and instant coffee into a pan over a gentle heat and bring it to just about simmering point, stirring here and there to ensure the instant coffee does not form lumps.
THIS is when you need to be VERY careful. Take the pan off the heat and gently pour everything into the bowl whilst whisking. You need your bowl to stay firm on your work surface because you have to whisk with one hand and pour with the other; a damp table cloth underneath your bowl will do the trick. The real deal to ensure your custard won’t split is to NOT pour everything in one go and to not pout the egg mixture into the cream&milk mixture.
Once you have incorporated everything, place the pan back over the same gentle heat and pour everything back into it. Keep whisking till the custard thickens; you should start noticing it when the mixtures reaches simmering point. Do not overheat it or it will looks lumpy and grainy; if this happens, pour everything into the bowl and keep whisking till it goes back to a nice, smooth texture.
Serve it hot or cold. I added a bit of whipped cream and dark chocolate to make my custard look more like a mini cappuccino (or, as we would say in Milan, like a “marocchino”). Feel free to add some Baileys or any other coffee-flavoured liqueur to give the custard a kick 😉