More fun with COFFEE

Posted: 24 October, 2019 | Category: Recipes

‘There is always more fun to be had with coffee.” boasts the glamorous, green lady on page 1 of More fun with COFFEE, a leaflet published by the Pan-American Coffee Bureau, N.Y., which couldn’t be more fabulously 1960’s if it tried.

First things first, we are warned that few things more quickly establish a hostess’ reputation for fine entertaining than the coffee she serves. Detailed rules and instructions on the different methods of making a perfect cup of coffee ensue.

After a whistle-stop tour around the world, finding out about the different ways in which various nationalities serve their coffee, we learn that it has been used in savoury foods ever since early African tribes made patties of ground coffee and fat to snack on. There then follows a selection of classic main-course recipes such as Moussaka, Chicken Paprika and Boeuf Bourguignon that are all augmented with coffee. Whilst we probably won’t taste the coffee, as such, we are told that its presence will enhance the flavour of the other ingredients in the dish. I decide to have a go at making the Chicken Paprika.

Chicken Paprika

1 chicken, jointed, 1 small onion, 3 or 4 parsley sprigs, salt, 4 peppercorns, 1 bayleaf, ¼ cup finely chopped onions, 4 tablespoons fat, divided, 1 cup flour, divided, 6 teaspoons paprika, divided, ⅓ cup cream, ⅓ cup strong coffee, 1½ cups thick sour cream

Place giblets in saucepan with 2 cups water, onion, 1 teaspoon salt, peppercorns and bayleaf. Cover; simmer 1 hour. Cook chopped onion in 2 tablespoons fat until soft, but not brown. Remove onion, leaving fat in skillet. Combine flour (using all but 2 tablespoons), 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons paprika in a paper bag. Shake chicken pieces until coated. Brown well in fat. Add 2 tablespoons giblet broth. Cook chicken, covered, slowly 25 to 40 minutes or until tender. In saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons fat. Blend in 2 tablespoons flour. Add 1 cup giblet broth, cream, coffee and 4 teaspoons paprika. Stir over low heat until smooth and thickened. Return onion to pan. Add sour cream gradually, stirring vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken in skillet; cook over low heat 3 minutes, turning chicken and stirring sauce. Do not boil.

A cream-based sauce is always going to work for me and this one is no exception. However, I tasted the sauce before and then after the addition of the coffee, and I’m not going to lie, it tasted better before. Without the coffee it tasted like a delicious, creamy paprika sauce. After, it tasted, well, as though someone had accidentally poured a cup of coffee into their delicious creamy paprika sauce. Perhaps I was a little heavy-handed with the coffee.

Onwards to the Dessert Tray chapter and the array of recipes becomes much more appealing, if you ignore the hideous brown 1960’s photography.

Coffee Banana Pie

1 envelope unflavored gelatine, ¼ cup cold water, 1 package vanilla pudding mix (regular, not instant), 1 cup strong coffee, ½ cup milk, 2 medium bananas, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon rum flavoring, 1 cup whipping cream, 1 package lady fingers

Soften gelatine in cold water. Dissolve over hot water. Prepare pudding mix as directed on package, using coffee and milk as the liquid. Add dissolved gelatine to hot pudding: mix well. Put one banana, lemon juice and sugar in electric blender or food mill. Blend until liquefied. Add to pudding mixture with run flavouring. Chill thoroughly. Beat until bubbly. Whip ½ cup cream and fold in. Line bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with split lady fingers. Make a rim of split lady fingers around edge. Spoon filling carefully into pie pan. Chill until firm. Garnish with banana slices and whipped cream.

OMG this is SO good. Coffee, banana, cream and trifle biscuits. What’s not to like? Vanilla pudding mix is not something we have in the UK but a quick Google search suggests that Birds Custard Powder would make a satisfactory alternative and this seems to work perfectly well.

Coffee Bread-And-Butter Pudding

1 cup strong coffee, 1 cup light cream, 2 cups milk, 6 thin slices raisin bread, soft butter or margarine, 2 eggs, half cup sugar, half teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, quarter teaspoon nutmeg

Combine coffee, cream and milk. Bring to scalding point. Cut in ½-inch cubes and add to coffee mixture. Beat eggs slightly. Add sugar and salt. Mix well. Add bread mixture and vanilla. Pour into 1½-quart casserole. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Set casserole in pan of warm water. Bake in moderate oven 325˚, 1 hour and 15 minutes or until knife inserted near rim of casserole comes out clean. Chill. Serve with plain or whipped cream. Makes 8 servings.

This turned out well, although the recipe needed to be tweaked a little. I’m not sure what size their their raisin bread was in the 1960’s, but they would have had to have been colossal slices to accommodate the volume of liquid specified in the recipe. The texture of the final pudding was wonderful though – a crisp, crusty, nutmeg topping, with a delicately coffee-infused creamy bready stodge beneath. There was coffee flavour in there, but it wasn’t overwhelming. A generous slug of double cream made a perfect accompaniment.

Coffee Tapioca Parfait

1 egg, separated, 5 tablespoons sugar, divided, 2 cups coffee, divided, 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, ⅛ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup heavy cream, whipped, chocolate syrup, chopped walnuts

Beat the egg white until foamy. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, one at a time, beating until the mixture forms soft peaks. Set aside. Combine egg yolk with ¼ cup coffee in saucepan. Add tapioca, salt, remaining coffee and sugar. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to full boil (5 to 8 minutes). Remove from the heat, pour small amount on egg white mixture and blend well. Quickly stir in the remaining tapioca mixture. Add vanilla. Cool, stir once after 15 minutes. Chill. Spoon alternate layers of tapioca mixture, whipped cream and chocolate syrup into parfait glasses. Top with whipped cream and chopped walnuts. Makes 6 to 8 servings

Vague memories of tapioca being a really bad pudding at prep school caused me to be curious about this recipe. Apart from containing more liquid than three humble tablespoons of tapioca could ever possibly be expected to accommodate, it actually wasn’t too bad, though the slimy texture wouldn’t be for everyone.

If all these puddings are too much for the waistline, More fun with Coffee ends with a selection of low calorie dieter’s delights. And then a nice little bonus section of Facts and Fancies about coffee.

Really, a most excellent and informative publication! I love this little book, so of its time and well worth getting your hands on, if only to marvel at the photography!