Kitchen :: Coffee Pots de Crème (Vegan)

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Hey there. Been a while, I realize. I have been busy sorting through myriad life changes - some good, some not so good, all necessary. And I had a birthday in July! Not a milestone birthday, although I suppose every birthday is a milestone in its own way, yes? Nonetheless, this particular birthday had me in a pensive mood. Not to wax too corny poetic, but these lyrics have taken on some new meaning for me of late: 

Half the time goes by,
suddenly you're wise.
Another blink of an eye
and 67 is gone.
The sun is getting high,
we're moving on.
... you've only got a hundred years to live.

Now, I am nowhere near 67, but I am getting close to a time where half my expected life will have gone by, and I'm feeling suddenly wise (only took me 40-some years). Those hundred years go by quickly, don't they? Life is short, is my point, and I think we should make every effort to make it as sweet as possible.

So I'm not going to waste precious time apologizing for my months-long absence. Instead, I offer up these luscious, lovely, sweet little coffee pots de crème(pronounced POH-de-KREM). An edible mea culpa - mea cuppa? - if you will.

The good folks over at Whole Foods Market contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I would be interested in trying some of their new offerings. I don't usually go for that sort of thing, but I absolutely adore Whole Foods! Plus, when red wine, summer cherries, and organic coffee from TOMS Roasting Co. are part of the package, I could not resist. Life is short, after all.

Let's get back to that coffee. The traditional French recipe for petits pots de crème requires that eggs, milk, and sugar be warmed on the stovetop, strained, mixed with some flavorful additions, and poured into little "pots" (ramekins or jars), which are then baked in a bain-marie and cooled before service. They are wonderful, but mon dieu! That's a long way to go for a few bites of pudding. My version skips merrily down a much shorter path to its final, French-inspired destination, with no need for baking. This is a great dessert to make on hot days when you don't want to turn on the oven, or on cool nights when that oven space is best allocated to a slow braising of some hearty dinner. And because these little pots are infused with coffee, I imagine they would be right at home on a breakfast or brunch table... n'est ce pas?

Petits Pots de Crème au Café (Vegan)

Not all tofu is created equal. I prefer the Mori-Nu brand of organic, firm/silken tofu, which results in a perfectly smooth and silky crème. Fair trade, organic coffee beans from TOMS Roasting Co. impart a rich, caramel flavor to this dessert. I sampled the medium-roast Peru beans for this recipe, but I believe their Guatemala or espresso roasts would work nicely, too. As an added bonus, for each bag of coffee purchased, TOMS gives one week of clean water to a person in need. How sweet is that?

Use organic, non-GMO ingredients whenever possible.

1 - 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (if separated, whisk before using)
1/2 cup whole coffee beans
1/2 cup raw, blonde, or coconut sugar (I used coconut sugar)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 - 12.3 oz package silken tofu, drained

Make it:
1. Pour 1/2 cup coconut milk into a small pot set over medium heat; stir in coffee beans, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cover remaining coconut milk and place in the refrigerator. Heat coffee bean mixture, stirring occasionally, until sugar has melted and bubbles just begin to form around the edges. Turn off heat, cover pot, and let the mixture steep for an hour at room temperature.  

2. Strain coffee mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the container of a blender. Discard beans. Add tofu to the container, and blend until combined and creamy.

3. Pour into small ramekins or glass pots. (Adorable, French-style yogurt jars are perfect for this. The jars shown in this post are 5 oz each.)

4. Place jars in fridge and chill until set, 3-4 hours.

5. The chilled coconut milk will thicken when it's really cold, resembling softly whipped cream. To serve, spoon a dollap of this coconut "cream" on top of each pot de crème, sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon and a dash of sugar, and garnish with a coffee bean.

Yield: 6 servings, depending on the size of your containers.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I did receive samples of several items from Whole Foods to try, free of charge, including a bag of TOMS Roasting Co. coffee. I liked the coffee and wanted to let my readers know about it. My opinions are my own, always will be. Just keepin' it real.