Back in the 1940s, coffee gelatin became a popular quick dessert for patriots on the home front. With chocolate and sugar rationed and directed overseas to our boys in uniform, housewives here at home made do with other ingredients. The Knox Gelatine company published a recipe for gelatin made with a few teaspoons of instant coffee powder and a little sugar, satisfying the urge for sweets and the patriotic sense of sacrifice at the same time.
Today, most people think of gelatin as a sweet, fruity dessert loved by kids but seldom used by adults. This elegant coffee parfait is so quick, easy and elegant that you’ll find yourself serving it often — and collecting accolades every time you do.
Espresso Gelatin Parfait
|2 pkg unflavored gelatin||Medium mixing bowl|
|2 cups hot brewed coffee||Drink blender|
|2 cups cold brewed coffee||Dessert glasses|
|Sugar to taste|
|Whipped cream for garnish if desired|
Gather your ingredients. Plain granulated sugar is fine, but if you enjoy a bit of exotic flavor to your coffee, try using turbinado sugar or raw sugar. This recipe calls for 2 pkgs of unflavored gelatine, but you can adjust as needed to make more or fewer servings. Just use 1 cup of hot and one cup of cold brewed coffee for each package of unflavored gelatine.
Pour two cups of cold brewed coffee into a bowl. Sprinkle two packages of unflavored gelatin over the surface and let it sit for five minutes to soften the gelatin. After five minutes, stir the gelatin into the coffee.
Heat two cups of brewed coffee to boiling in a small saucepan, or brew two cups of coffee in a moka pot. Pour the boiling coffee into the gelatin mixture and stir until all of the gelatin is dissolved.
Add sugar to taste — about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per cup of coffee makes a reasonably but not overly sweet dessert. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Ladle about 3/4 cup of gelatin mixture into dessert dishes, filling each dish about half-full. I like to use clear dessert glasses for this coffee dessert because it shows off the layers so prettily.
Pour the remaining coffee gelatin mixture into the two-cup container of a personal drink blender or regular blender. Whirl it on high for three to five minutes, or until it is thick, creamy, light and opaque.
This is the trickiest part — and you’ll find that there’s nothing very trick about it. Hold a clean tablespoon just above the surface of the coffee gelatin in one of the dessert dishes. Carefully pour the coffee froth over the back of the spoon and let it spread over the top of the coffee gelatin. The spoon is an old bartender’s trick — it spreads the stream of liquid being poured on top of the sitting liquid so that it sits on top of the liquid already in the glass instead of mixing with it. See how easy that is?
See how pretty? Carefully place the dessert glasses in the refrigator and allow them to set for at least four hours before serving. You can serve as is, or garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.