Cafe au Lait Pots de Creme with Meringue Topping
Whether you're looking for a special indulgence to reward yourself for a job well done or need a fabulous ending for a company dinner, these little cafe au lait pots de creme are just right. Unlike many coffee desserts that call for instant coffee, our recipe infuses the coffee into the milk, so you can highlight your favorite coffee varieties. Pick a coffee that stands up well to cream, like The West Bean's Malawi Mzuzu, with its nuanced chocolate, berry, biscotti and salted caramel notes.Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 1+ hours Yield: 4 servings
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup coarsely ground coffee
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted and divided
- Preheat the oven to 325 F.
- In a saucepan, combine the milk with the coffee. Stir the mixture to wet all the grounds.
- Bring the coffee mixture to a simmer over a medium fire. Remove the pan from the heat. Cover it and let it sit for half an hour.
- Strain the coffee milk through a cloth-lined sieve. Measure it and add enough whole milk to make 2 cups.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of confectioners' sugar until they are light yellow in color, thick and creamy.
- Add 1/2 cup of the warm coffee to the egg yolk mixture, beating it in well.
- Pour the egg mixture into the remaining coffee milk and whisk it together until the mixture is foamy.
- Place four ramekins, custard cups or other oven-proof dishes into a shallow roasting pan or casserole dish.
- Ladle the custard mixture into the dishes, filling each one 1/2 to 3/4 full.
- Pour boiling water into the casserole dish until it is at the same level outside the cups as the custard mixture is inside.
- Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes. The custard should be set around the edges, with a small (about the size of a dime) are in the middle that is still just a little jiggly. Turn the oven down to 250 F. and continue baking while preparing the meringues.
- In a small mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until they're foamy.
- Continue whipping the egg whites while slowly adding the remaining 1/4 cup of confectioners' sugar.
- Continue whipping the egg whites until they are glossy and stiff peaks form.
- Drop the egg white mixture by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, or, if you prefer, fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe it out in rosettes.
- Bake alongside the custards for 20 minutes. Turn the oven off, but leave both pans in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Chill the pots de creme for 2-3 hours. Store the meringues in a covered, airtight container until ready to serve.
- To serve, "float" a meringue on top of each custard.
- Serve the remaining meringues alongside -- or save them to enjoy later!