This pudding was inspired by New Orleans coffee. Blended with steamed milk and topped with a froth of milk, it's a decadent treat. I used espresso powder to make the coffee, but if you have a French drip pot and can get some good coffee with chicory, have at it! (Properly French-dripped coffee is very syrupy, so I suggest using 1/2 cup strong dripped coffee and 2 1/2 cups of half and half in place of the 3 cups of half and half and the espresso powder.) This probably shouldn't be served after dinner (unless it's going to be a LATE night)--it's pretty heavy on the caffeine. I use a milk frother to make the milk topping, but if you don't have one, freshly whipped cream is fine (maybe better even). Serve it with a sprinkling of nutmeg, cinnamon or cocoa powder on the top if you like. —drbabs
For the pudding
half and half
large egg yolks
For the topping
whole milk or heavy cream
sprinkling of cocoa, cinnamon or fresh ground nutmeg
In a large saucepan heat half and half, sugar, salt, and espresso or coffee, stirring so that all ingredients are completely blended.
Whisk the egg yolks until smooth. When the half and half mixture steams and is hot but not simmering, whisk 1/2 cup of the hot cream into the egg yolks to temper them.
Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the tempered egg mixture.
Return the saucepan to the cooktop over medium heat. . Cook, stirring, until the temperature reaches 175-180 degrees, or the pudding is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. (When you draw your finger across the spoon, it should leave a clear mark through the pudding. )
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Strain through fine mesh strainer into individual portions and place plastic wrap over the top, laying it flat against the surface of the pudding so that a skin doesn't form. Refrigerate till cold.
Froth milk (or whip cream) with sugar (if desired), and spoon over the top. Sprinkle top with cinnamon, cocoa or nutmeg.