This is a bit of a departure for the Nueva Receta blog -- discussing a recipe a few days before we try it. The reason is simple: this recipe is for Valentine's day, and we think that some of our readers and friends might benefit (ahem) from having this post ahead of the holiday. As regular readers know, the purpose of this blog is more fully to employ the many books on our well-laden shelf. For this particular holiday, thoughts go immediately to Intercourses, a wonderful book we mentioned in Valentine's and anniversary posts last year.
Arizona Day -- and this in fact is Arizona's centennial -- Tuesday's main course will be taken from a The Well-filled Tortilla, a book that somehow became our family bible when we lived in Tucson. While Pam searched out a recipe there -- check in Tuesday or Wednesday to read about that -- I perused the dessert "sexion" of Intercourses, with a special focus on coffee.
We chose "espresso cream" from page 32, for its simplicity and the promise of something a bit different than the usual. We will drain 1.5 cups ricotta cheese, and beat it together with 1/4 cup cream, until smooth. We will stir in 2T freshly ground, dark-roasted coffee beans (from Selva Negra, the most romantic coffee farm I know -- it has its own wedding chapel!) and 2-3 T sugar. The recipe calls for 4 t brandy -- we will use a coffee brandy, and probably be generous with those teaspoons.
This we will chill all day, and after dinner we will divided it into romantic cups and garnish with toasted almonds, a couple of coffee beans, and some mocha beans from Hilliards. (The recipe calls for chocolate-covered beans, but Hilliards was sold out and Star**cks has discontinued them. This seems a very reasonable solution!)
Next Valentine's Day, by the way, we hope to replicate the coffee martini we enjoyed recently at Imagine Restaurant and Bar in Granada, Nicaragua. We have the key ingredients (and will be sure to have fresh Selva Negra coffee on hand when the time comes), but we will need some coaching, which we hope to get next summer when Imagine's owner visits New England.
I have written elsewhere about the perils and pleasures of combining coffee and alcohol; this recipe seems to be well inside the pleasure zone!
NOTE: We ended up being short on coffee brandy (tragedy!), so I used about a tablespoon each of coffee brandy and 43, a Spanish vanilla liqueur. I did not grind the coffee as finely as I should have, but this still turned out quite nicely, and I am recommending it to my friends at Selva Negra.