and condensed milk make this coffee pudding dense and
rich, while espresso and crushed espresso beans give
the right path — so says the sermon, convocation and
nature guide. But if a trailhead offers only one route, and
you’ve hiked it every autumn forever, you’re good to go.
your path is springy with pine needles. Overhead, it’s
shady and cool. Ahead it promises water crashing a narrow
canyon and a boulder, wide and flat as a piazza, perfect for
walk. You talk. You find your rock, scrabble up and are met
not with waterfall, but with flat field, and, in the
distance, abandoned truck.
retrace your steps to the right path. You stride up the rock
and gaze out on field and truck. You’ve found the same
wrong rock, twice.
you stretch out and stare up. One cloud, a dragon, unfurls
its claws. It dissolves into a ship gliding the soft white
waves. You spend the afternoon adrift in the whipped-cream
panorama. Surely you’re on the right path.
tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
teaspoon vanilla extract
teaspoon kosher salt
cup whole espresso beans
sweetened condensed milk
cup whole milk
cup heavy cream
vanilla bean, split, scraped
cup prepared espresso (about 4 shots)
Prep: Drop butter and vanilla into a large bowl. Top with a
fine-mesh strainer. Set aside.
Whisk: In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar,
cornstarch and salt.
Crack: Slide espresso beans into a zip-close bag. Roll over
the bag with a rolling pin, cracking, but not pulverizing,
Scald: In a large saucepan, bring condensed milk, milk,
cream, vanilla bean (and its seeds), espresso beans and
espresso just to a boil.
Temper: Slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture over
eggs, whisking constantly. Pour egg mixture back into the
saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until
thick, about 1 minute.
Strain: Pour custard through the sieve onto the butter and
vanilla. Discard contents of sieve.
Blend: Swirl smooth with an immersion blender, standard
blender or whisk. Let cool. Press a piece of plastic against
the surface of the pudding. Chill until cold (or up to 3
Serve: Scoop pudding into 4 demitasses (small coffee cups).
Top with whipped cream. Enjoy.
cream: Whip to soft peaks 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon
vanilla and 1 tablespoon sugar.
Adapted from a recipe by pastry chefs Zoe Nathan and Laurel
Almerinda of Cassia in LA.