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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Chocolate Natillas with Coffee-Bean Granita

By Juvy S. Iliwiliw

Natilla is the Cuban answer to a French pot de creme. Here, an icy coffee granita tops the pudding for a cool contrast. (The puddings need to chill overnight and the granita needs freezing time, so be sure to start a day before serving.) This is serving something to cool the blazing heat of the day.



CHOCOLATE NATILLAS WITH COFFEE-BEAN GRANITA

You will need:

6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3¼ cups whole milk, divided
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Here's how:

Stir chocolate in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth.  Remove from over water.

Pour 3 cups whole milk into heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring milk to simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; cover and let steep 15 minutes. Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl to blend. Sift cornstarch over; whisk until mixture is blended and smooth. Gradually whisk in warm milk mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan. Whisk mixture constantly over medium heat until custard boils, thickens, and is smooth, about 4 minutes. Discard vanilla bean. Whisk in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, then whisk in melted chocolate. Pour pudding through fine strainer into 4-cup measuring cup. Divide chocolate pudding among 8 goblets or dessert glasses (allow about ½ cup chocolate pudding for each glass). Cover puddings and refrigerate overnight.

Top each serving with scoop of granita and serve.


COFFEE-BEAN GRANITA

You will need:

4 cups water
1 cup sugar
2½ cups whole coffee beans (about 6 ounces)

¼ cup coffee liqueur (such as Tia Maria or Kahlua)

Here's how:

Combine 4 cups water and sugar in large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil 3 minutes. Stir in coffee beans; boil 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; cover and let sleep until mixture is cool, about 3 hours. Strain liquid into 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish; discard coffee beans in strainer. Add coffee liqueur to liquid in dish; stir to blend. Freeze until firm, stirring every 45 minutes, about 5 hours. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and keep frozen.)

Before serving, scrape surface of granita with fork until crystals form. Using ice cream scoop, scoop out granita and serve.



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