You may choose to allocate this variation of crèma catalana as a crème brûlée of sorts. Or, you may determine this dessert to be a fancy stirred stovetop pudding.
But no matter how you spell it, there’s something extra special about this sweet, creamy, and rich vanilla custard.
Yes, it’s brûléed for a sweet, glassy finish over the top…
…but underneath the caramelized creamy custard lies a secret – well TWO, in fact.
Hidden below a thick, glossy layer of bittersweet mocha paint rests the deep crunch of a truly buttery and amazing shortbread crust.
So a special sensation over and under – burnt sugar crust and mocha glazed shortbread engulfing a large pot de creme, or zabaglione, truly IS something to write home about.
Or at least whip up for yourself to taste.
Over-Under Mocha Crusted Zabaglione
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 Tbs. very finely ground strong coffee
2 cups half and half
1/2 vanilla bean, sliced and scraped
3 large organic egg yolks
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 Tbs. caster sugar (very finely granulated sugar)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Stir together the Walkers “powder” or crumbs and the melted butter and press into the bottom of a 6-8″ porcelain pie plate.
Bake for about 15 minutes.
Allow to cool.
Meanwhile, over low heat, melt the chocolate chips, stirring in the finely ground coffee.
Pour the chocolate mixture over the crust.
Allow to cool thorough.
Once the painted crust has cooled, combine the half and half, vanilla beans, and the vanilla bean pod in a very heavy porcelain saucepan (not metal or stainless steel). Heat on medium-low to medium heat until the milk is hot and small bubbles begin to form around the sides of the pan.
Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks until frothy. Add the sugar, cornstarch, and salt and continue stirring until well combined and a lighter yellow color. Stir a cup of the hot half and half into the egg mixture and beat to combine – temper. Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the remaining half and half in the saucepan.
Reduce heat to low to medium-low and cook the custard, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. Watch carefully, whisking constantly towards the end to make sure the eggs don’t overcook. Whisk, whisk, whisk. Remove the saucepan from the stove. Whisk in the vanilla extract and remove the vanilla bean pods. Stir the custard for another minute or so to release some of the heat.
Pour over the cooled, painted crust. Allow to cool to about room temperature.
Finally, sprinkle the caster sugar over the top of the cooled custard and torch to brûlée and burn the sugar.
Serve alongside a hot cup of KAHLÚA spiked espresso.