Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love*
– a description of coffee by cunning and eccentric 18th/19th century French diplomat, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord (pilfered from urbin.net)
Over on the right, underneath my smug-looking face (I can’t smile straight), I mention the fact that sometimes an off-message decadent treat finds its way here. Well, today’s the day. But fear not, it isn’t as dangerous as it looks.
As always, even with my decadent offerings, there is a salve to the waistline. The salve today being Greek yogurt. And the fact that you don’t have to worry about making a custard base. But still, there’s that dulce de leche…
I won’t lie and say it is as luxurious or sweet as commercial dulce de leche ice creams, or this homemade one on Epicurious, but it is very nice, and quite refreshing too. I don’t normally find ice cream refreshing – that’s what sorbets are for – but Greek yogurt-based ice creams usually hit the mark, managing to satisfy a craving for something cool and sweet, but without having you also craving a huge glass of water.
I got the idea for this combination when we were in Spain at the beginning of July and saw café bombón on a few advertising boards. This coffee drink, with a distinct layer of coffee and sweet condensed milk (the precursor to dulce de leche), is popular throughout Spain. I immediately thought it would make a fab ice cream. And I think I was right. I really couldn’t drink something that sweet (it is a 1:1 ratio of coffee to milk), but eating a frozen version, where the cold always makes things taste less sweet, moves this Spanish staple into ice cream parlour territory. With bells on.
It needs no added frills – or even cooking skills – but feel free to drizzle on more dulce de leche, some crushed salted peanuts or even some dark chocolate chips. I’m also thinking how awesome it might be scooped onto a PG-version of the banana split, or in an affogato.
Next post will be something salady and summery, probably involving corn, and definitely involving a creamy yet healthy dressing. Hope that sounds good to you.
Until then, as my grandmother used to say,”be sweet and play ball.”
*the antidote to the leading quote (above) has got to be this acid comment from the 1674 ‘Women’s Petition Against Coffee‘: Why do our men trifle away their time, scald their Chops, and spend their Money, all for a little, base, thick, nasty bitter stinking nauseous Puddle water? Well worth a read in-full: these gals were Angry with a capital A, but also proto-feminists bemoaning their ‘Frenchified’ men in the most withering way.
Espresso Ice Cream with Dulce de Leche
Miss R’s Track of the Week: Lianne La Havas’ “Is Your Love Big Enough?” – a big fat ice cream mention in this sultry summery song from one of England’s best new soul sensations. Miss R and I are seeing this brilliant singer in October. Even if you don’t make the ice cream click on this song.
Not quite an ice cream, this super easy frozen treat is made with full-fat Greek yogurt, and all the more refreshing and interesting for the acidic tang. You could try other flavours but I highly recommend the coffee: it is sophisticated enough for company but easy enough to make just for yourself. The coffee infusing method is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall; highly recommended for baking too. You might like to add in or top with crushed cacao beans, or even salted peanuts, for texture and contrasting taste.
2 heaped tbsp coarsely ground espresso beans or dark-roast coffee
100ml (3.5 oz) semi-skimmed evaporated milk or whole milk
500g (just over 2 cups) of full-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt (full-fat is better for the texture)
1 tsp vanilla powder or vanilla extract (optional: I put it in but don’t know if it made any difference)
150g (5.25 ounces) bought dulce de leche, Carnation Caramel or homemade (from David Lebovitz) + extra
Warm the milk with the coffee until just under the boil; you’ll see little bubbles appearing around the edges. Leave to infuse for 30 minutes then strain the coffee milk through a muslin cloth-lined sieve, gently squeezing to wring out every last drop of the now rocket-fuelled milk. I hung mine up instead of putting it on a sieve.
Mix the Greek yogurt, vanilla, dulce de leche and the coffee-flavoured milk; pour into your ice cream maker and churn. When the ice cream looks like ice cream – smooth, thick and delectably spoonable – scrape into a freezable container and stir in a little more dulce de leche if you like – to make pleasing lumps – as well as any add-ins. Pop this into the freezer for a couple of hours.
We like the ice cream not to be too sweet so the amount of dulce de leche given is a starting point – have the whole tin handy. Also, because this is lower fat than regular ice cream and doesn’t have eggs, it goes hard after a few days so try and eat it up before then. Shouldn’t be a problem.
Other yogurt-based ice creams to try: