Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's ca phe sua ice cream form

For those of you who have never tried cà phê sữa đá, or Vietnamese iced coffee, boy are you missing out. Nothing beats an ice-filled glass of rich, sweetened condensed milk and strongly brewed coffee.

Ca phe sua da is made by the slow drip method of coffee-making using a phin (a single serve Vietnamese-style coffee filter), which is placed on top of a glass filled with condensed milk. Dark roast ground coffee (oftentimes with chicory) is placed in the phin, and boiling water is added until it slowly brews and filters into the glass. The coffee and condensed milk is then combined and poured into a glass filled with ice.

You can purchase a phin at most Asian grocery stores or online at:

Image taken from

Vietnamese iced coffee is more of a decadent treat than beverage, so why not make it into an ice cream? Genius, I tell you! 

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream
Adapted from Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1-1/2 cup water
1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon dark roast ground coffee, divided (I used the Café du Monde brand)
1/3 cup whole milk

Using a Vietnamese-style coffee filter or French press, brew 1-1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of ground coffee to yield 1 cup of strongly brewed coffee.

Whisk together the condensed milk, espresso, milk and ground coffee. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet

Okay, I'm not usually one to rave about sorbet/sorbetto, but I recently purchased a pint of Ciao Bella's Blackberry Cabernet and found it to be fanfrickingtastic.

The refreshingly tart, berry flavor (with just a hint of vino) danced on my tongue. At around $5 a pint, it may not be the most economical way for me to get my sorbet fix.

I've noticed that it's frequently sold out at my local Whole Foods, so, I resorted to the Internet in search of the guess-ipe to this divine concoction.

And here it is, my friends.

Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet
Adapted from StarChefs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2 cups fresh (or thawed, frozen) blackberries
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 egg white, whipped
In a bowl of cold water, gently clean the blackberries. Be sure to remove all debris and any soft or discolored berries.

In a food processor or blender, combine the berries, water, sugar, lemon juice and wine. Process or blend mixture until smooth. Add the whipped egg white and stir until thoroughly blended. Chill mixture.

Freeze (churn) cooled mixture in an ice cream machine, according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lemon Cheesecake Squares

I am a full-fledged chocoholic. It's sometimes difficult for me to fathom a dessert without the use of cocoa powder, cocoa nibs or chocolate chips.

Obviously not everyone feels this way about chocolate, case in point, my husband Kevin. When the two of us dine out, my dessert choice always leans towards the flourless chocolate cake, the chocolate mousse, or anything with ganache...lots of ganache. Kevin on the other hand, prefers the poached pears, the sautéed banana or the coconut sorbet. I'll admit, he's a bit of a buzzkill when it comes to my favorite dining ritual known as dessert sharing.

But it's all good. My love for dessert-making trumps my sweet tooth, any day. Since starting this blog, I've made a conscious effort to select recipes that will appeal to all tastes. With pastry school just three months away, I'm hoping to gain the skills and knowledge to add many more. So today, it's lemon cheesecake, but tomorrow it may be a peach clafoutis, a ginger soufflé or a walnut roulade.

And we all know that Kevin will enjoy that.

Lemon Cheesecake Squares
Adapted from Martha Stewart

For the crust:
  • 8 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
  • 2 bars (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (2 to 3 teaspoons zest and about 3 tablespoons juice)
Make the crust: 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Crimp overhang under rim of pan.
In a food processor, blend graham crackers with sugar until finely ground; add butter and pulse until moistened.

Transfer crumb mixture to prepared pan, and pat in gently (wipe processor bowl clean, and reserve for making filling). Bake until beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. While crust is baking, make filling.

Make the filling:
Place cream cheese in food processor; blend until smooth. Add sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice; blend until smooth.

Pour mixture onto hot crust in pan; smooth top. Return to oven, and bake until set (filling should jiggle only slightly when pan is gently shaken), 30 to 35 minutes.

Cool completely in pan. Cover very loosely with plastic wrap; chill until firm, at least 2 hours (and up to 2 days). Use foil overhang to lift cheesecake out of pan. With metal spatula, lift cheesecake from foil; cut into 16 squares.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Coffee's BFF

Which pastry do I choose when I need a little something to pair with my morning latte? Why those fantastic little cookies known as biscotti, of course. With their dry, crunchy texture they practically beg to be dunked into coffee (or from what I witnessed on my recent trip to Italy, a dessert wine called Vin Santo).

This was actually my first attempt at making biscotti because I had always assumed that they were too not true. They appear more time-consuming since they're baked twice, and the dough can be quite sticky to work with, but overall no major heartache. I made two batches, one with the chocolate drizzle and one without for those with an aversion to chocolate (that's crazy talk, I know). To my surprise, the batch without the chocolate drizzle is just as delicious as the one with it.

I was so pleased with the results of this recipe, that I'd like to create a savory version using the dough as a base. Now wouldn't this be great, let's say, with cheese and herbs? YUM!

Cherry, Almond Biscotti with Bittersweet Chocolate
Adapted from
  • 2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried berries (cherries or cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped or sliced almonds
  • bittersweet chocolate chips for drizzling
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.

Mix eggs, oil, and extracts in a bowl with an electric mixer. Then add in dry ingredients and mix together until combined. Then add in berries and almonds – and either mix by hand with a wooden spoon, or very briefly with the electric mixer.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface. Knead lightly a few times to be sure that berries and almonds are well-distributed. (Dough will be sticky, so you may need to lightly re-flouring your surface once or twice.) Divide dough in half.

Shape each half into long logs, and flatten to 3/4" thickness. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove rolls from baking sheet and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Then cut each roll diagonally into 1/2" slices.

Place the slices cut-sides down on a baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove, and turn each slice over, and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove and cool on wire racks.

To add bittersweet chocolate, simply melt your desired amount in a double boiler or (carefully!) in the microwave. Use a fork to drizzle it over the biscotti slices.