Today we have an entrant for the second course of the Diced! competition. Contestants were instructed to create or find a recipe for a dessert containing the following ingredients: Bananas, Brown Sugar and Coffee (beans, grinds or liquid). They were instructed to make their dish and create a blog post about it, including pictures. You can help determine who advances to the next round. After the last post, I will post a poll where you can vote for contestants to move on. Vote for the post you like the best. You can vote because of the inventiveness, the yummyness, the use of ingredients, the quality of the writing and pictures or for any other reason. The poll will be active for one week only. Check back and vote. In the event of a tie, the Ranting Chef will choose who advances. More information about Diced! can be found here.
Due to the generosity of the following companies, we have some really awesome products as a prize to the winner of this Diced! competition. In addition to the prizes below, I am working to secure additional ones. The winner will receive:
- Mr Bar-B-Q 20 Piece Gourmet Tool Set
- The following products from Talisman Designs
- Dodo Book for Cooks - This is a great book for anyone in the kitchen. It has places to put your favorite recipes as well as handy conversion charts.
- Zak Serveware Gift Set
Today’s contestant, Misha, is currently living and working in Japan, a few hours southwest of Tokyo in a city called Mishima. He makes a living teaching English in elementary schools and kindergartens. Misha loves spending time in nature, cooking up a storm, and living well on a tight budget. Feel free to stop by his blog, http://www.poormankitchen.wordpress.com, whenever you get a chance. Here’s Misha…
Coffee: The Crème de la Crème
My life, in no small way, revolves around coffee.
True, I’m an elementary and kindergarten teacher, so I resigned myself to my coffee-addicted fate quite some time ago. But I don’t just drink a pot in the morning and a pot at night because I have to. To me, coffee is more than just an occupational hazard.
I genuinely enjoy the flavor. I find that coffee, like many other every day ingredients, tends to be pidgeon-holed and/or misunderstood. It is so much more than a eye-opening beverage and a liquid to add alcohol to.
The flavor of coffee is one of the great mixers because of its subtle undertones. Some people prefer not to sully the innate bitterness of black coffee. Some people like to emphasize its inherent sweetness by adding milk and sugar. The acidic, almost citrusy nature of coffee is what gives it its texture and unique chemical properties. Coffee has elements of bitter, sweet, spicy, and sour. I could go on, but I won’t.
In short, it isn’t just a vector to deliver caffeine to your noggin. It’s nothing short of a culinary miracle.
And so, for the final round of the Diced! competition, I did my best to give coffee its due. I didn’t want to make a dessert that was only sweet. I wanted to make a dessert that did justice to the myriad contrasting elements of coffee. Did I use brown sugar and vanilla extract? Sure. Did I use bacon, eggs, and extra bitter cold-steeped coffee? You bet your butt I did.
Baconana Coffee Frozen Custard
- 1 1/2 cups milk (no skim, it needs to be 2% or higher)
- 1 1/2 cups high quality whole coffee beans
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 large bananas
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- a few dashes of vanilla extract
- six pieces of bacon (home-cured is best)
- quite a bit of downtime
- Fry up your bacon until it is nice and crispy. Once finished, set it on a plate until it is cool to the touch. Use a knife to chop it into small pieces.
- Put all the milk, brown sugar, coffee beans, and 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream into a sauce pan. Heat the mixture over medium low heat while you stir it tenderly. Once it starts to steam a little, kill the heat, put a lid over the top, and set it aside for at least an hour.
- Once the mixture has steeped for long enough, scramble the egg yolks in a large metal bowl.
- Bring the coffee bean mixture to the same slightly steamy temperature, then kill the heat and pour it a small splash at a time into the egg yolks while stirring with a whisk or spoon. It is very, very important that the mixture is not too hot. If the eggs end up cooked, it is all over before it began. Remember, we are tempering the eggs.
- Put the egg and coffee slurry back into the sauce pan and start to cook it over medium high heat. Do not leave the pan unattended. While it cooks, stir it with a spatula or whisk. After fifteen minutes or so, it should be thick enough to coat the spatula without running.
- Chop the bananas and add them to the metal bowl you used earlier. Pour in the last of your heavy whipping cream, then mash. Don’t mash the bananas too much, a little bit of texture goes a long way. Set the bowl inside another bowl filled with ice and a little cold water.
- Pour the egg /coffee slurry into the mashed bananas through a fine mesh sieve. Throw away the coffee beans. Stir the contents of the bowl together for a little while until they are nice and cool to the touch.
- Add a few dashes of vanilla extract and the crispy chopped bacon. Stir once more.
- Put the bowl into your freezer and set a timer for 45 minutes. After the time has elapsed, remove the bowl from the freezer and use a hand mixer or a spatula to smash any ice crystals that have formed. Then, put the bowl back in the freezer.
- Repeat the same process every thirty minutes for two or three hours.
- You’ll know when it is ready. Garnish it with a little bit of leftover bacon and a few stray coffee beans, and enjoy the fruits of your labors.
Note: I based this recipe off of a David Lebovitz’s vanilla ice cream recipe, which means this recipe is very labor-intensive. I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I had no other way to make this recipe work. Once the custard mix is chilled, you can just as easily just pour it into an ice cream maker instead of blending and freezing a few dozen times.