TWD: Caramelized-Coffee Bean Pots de Crème & the Dinner it Inspired
I often compose meals around a dessert. I'll have a craving for a particular sweet or want to try out a new recipe and I'll consider how the main course can build to the tastes featured in the dessert. I think about eating the dessert first (and sometimes I do).
Getting ready for the first TWD November bake, I was inspired to make a dinner that complemented Dorie's caramelized-coffee bean pots de crème.
In the head note to the recipe, Dorie describes eating this dessert in a restaurant near her Paris apartment where the food was "old-fashioned and pleasant." The dessert was the high point of her meal. I decided to throw together a vegan stew as something pleasant to build to our dessert experience. Chuck full of potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms, I based my stew off of Brand New Vegan's Hearty Vegetable Stew, adding seasonings to taste.
Reading through the pots de crème ingredients, I was skeptical that I would like this dessert. I'm not the biggest fan of custard but I'll bake something once to rule out the idea that if I bake it I'll like it (no matter how many times I make Boston cream pie or cake, I never like it). I grabbed a can of coconut cream and a carton of almond milk/coconut half and half and wished for the best.
Would the custard actually set with non-dairy products? Would I even eat it? Part of me figured I'd like it solely because of the coffee. For the first time, I enjoyed every spoonful of a custard. Eating it was like drinking the perfect iced latte--not too sweet but just sweet enough to satisfy cravings for sugar and caffeine. I did say to Sam that I would've liked it better if it had some kind of cake underneath; give me a slice of cake any day and I'm happy.
While the pots de crème take a bit of time--the coffee has to steep in the milk/cream mixture, they bake for 35-40 minutes, then they should be refrigerated for at least 2 hours before eating--the whole process was rather simple. Sam and I enjoyed coffee with our coffee dessert--I made us each a shot of espresso--and I enjoyed every last bite of the custardy treat.