One of the immediate consequences of receiving a Syntia machine as a thank-you token after my lecture for Lavazza Coffee and Philips Saeco at Eataly last September, was that I started putting espresso into everything.
Literally: I experimented with stews, fish, fennel, fresh pasta, smoked cheese… with a couple of exceptions, everything seemed to taste more interesting. It’s probably because our sense of smell is responsible for about 4/5 of what we taste – that’s why we lose our appetite when we have a cold and our nose is blocked! With its intense and unique aroma, high-quality coffee is an extraordinary ingredient and can add sophistication to a variety of dishes, savory or sweet. However, I have to admit that it was its performance in desserts to really capture my culinary imagination. You see, I wasn’t really born with a sweet tooth and I can truly appreciate sugar only when I mix it with something different, whether it’s sour (lemon gelato), salty (chocolate pretzels!), or bitter (any espresso-spiked desserts!).
Tiramisu, one of the most recent and successful “classics” of Italian cuisine, is my favorite example of the perfect marriage of sweet and creamy (mascarpone, cream and sugar) with deep and bitter (espresso and unsweetened cocoa powder). A match made in heaven! Unfortunately, it’s a bit rich, and after seeing me down it for breakfast for three days in a row, my husband politely pointed out that I was showing clear signs of addiction. Switching to a ricotta-based coffee treat seemed like a better option if I wanted to indulge myself so often. Whole milk ricotta is a cheese by-product, not a cheese, and naturally low in fat and high in protein, while still very rich and creamy in texture (cannoli, anyone?).
Let me know what you think of this espresso-spiked chocolate almond mousse. It’s light enough that you can enjoy it after a multiple-course meal without feeling too guilty!
- 4 eggs (I prefer pasteurized eggs)
- ¼ lb whole milk ricotta, drained
- 1 shot chocolate or almond liqueur (Godiva, or Disaronno)
- 2 shots strong espresso
- 5 tbsps crumbled amaretto cookies or other almond cookies
- 5 tbsps sugar
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- dark chocolate shavings and slivered almonds to decorate
Separate the eggs. Beat the yolks with the sugar until light and frothy. Add the ricotta liqueur, coffee, cocoa and chocolate and combine well. Add the crumbled cookies.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and incorporate them into the ricotta using a spatula.
Pour the mix into individual bowls, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Decorate with chocolate shavings and slivered almonds before serving.
*RAW EGG WARNING and PASTEURIZING EGGS: some people are uncomfortable consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade AA eggs with intact shells. Still nervous? If using pasteurized eggs, it will be harder to beat the yolks frothy and especially to beat the whites stiff: for the yolks, you will just need to beat them longer with an electric mixer; as to the whites, you will need to add a touch of cream of tartar (or lemon juice or white vinegar); about 1/3 teaspoon cream of tartar or 3/4 teaspoon lemon for 4 whites. You will also need to use an electric mixer and beat for twice as long as you would with regular egg whites You can buy pre-pasteurized eggs in many stores (test are not the egg-beaters but actual whole eggs, that can be separated at home into whites and yolks); or you can pasteurize them following this method.
* Disclosure: I was not paid for my review of the Philips Saeco espresso machines, apart from being given one Syntia machine to try and review. All comments are my own, honest opinion after my experience with the machine.