I baked eight cakes yesterday, but I couldn’t resist making something for Food52’s coffee-themed contest last night, too. I made a thin, crisp shortbread crust flavored with concentrated coffee, whole wheat pastry flour, and turbinado sugar and filled it with a barely sweet, egg-rich, coffee scented custard. Since there are only two tablespoons of sugar in the custard, I think it might be equally nice for dessert or as part of a brunch. It’s a bit like eating the creamiest cold café crème atop a toasty, nubbly, cookie that tastes faintly of wheat and more coffee. And since it’s the shortbread that adds the sweetness, the custard is pure, creamy coffee. If you like your coffee with a pour of cream, I suspect it’s right up your alley.
1 ½ c. very strong coffee
7 egg yolks
2 c. heavy cream (I love Cedar Summit Farms.)
2 T. sugar
2 T. all purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur.)
- Start with very strong coffee. I use ¾ c. ground dark roast coffee to 4 c. water and use a French press. Any method will work, but the stronger the coffee the better, I think, here. Take 1 ½ c. coffee and simmer it in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is reduced to about ½ c.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk the egg yolks. Whisk in the cream, sugar, and ½ c. concentrated coffee, reserving 1 T. of the coffee for the crust.
- Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it is beginning to thicken and coats a wooden spoon.
- Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. The custard will thicken slightly as it cools, too.
- Sieve the custard if you fear you have lumps. Set it aside until it is time to fill the tart crust.
Coffee Shortbread Crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 c. turbinado sugar
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 T. concentrated coffee
1 pinch sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
- Add the flours and mix only until incorporated.
- Stir in the coffee concentrate.
- Transfer the shortbread dough to a 9″ tart pan, and pat it out. Sprinkle it with a pinch or two of sugar to make the job a bit easier. Using your fingertips, press the crust evenly into the tart pan and up its sides.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper into the tart shell and fill it with pie weights or dried beans.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes.
- Remove it from the oven and gently remove the parchment and pie weights or beans.
- Bake the crust for an additional 10 minutes.
- Cool the crust slightly and then pour in the coffee custard. Spread it with a spatula. Chill in the refrigerator to set and until serving time.