This three-layered dessert is a combination of three foams: a zabaglione, whipped cream (or, in this case, creme fraiche) and steamed milk.
The main flavors are coffee, cinnamon and sugar. Each layer contains only one of them, so you have to get a little of each on the spoon to taste them all at the same time. The layers have different temperatures, and in a quite unusual order: the top is hot, the middle is cold and the bottom is warm. The steamed milk will start melting the whipped cream, so this is best served immediately after assembling.
Creme fraiche adds a little bit of acidity and freshness to the dish, but a stabilized heavy whipping cream (using a little softened unflavored gelatin or a commercial stabilizer such as Whip-It or buying a brand of stabilized heavy whipping cream) will also work.
- 2/3 cup crème fraîche or heavy whipping cream (see headnote)
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 to 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup brewed espresso, preferably warm
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
Have four dessert glasses or wineglasses at hand.
Whip together the creme fraiche or heavy whipping cream and 4 tablespoons of the granulated sugar to form a somewhat stiffened mixture. Cover and refrigerate.
Combine the egg yolks, warm espresso and the remaining tablespoon of granulated sugar in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over the opening of a medium saucepan filled with few inches of barely bubbling water (so no steam escapes, over medium or medium-low heat). Cook for about 12 minutes, whisking continuously to form a zabaglione that has doubled or tripled in volume. The consistency should be uniformly foamy. Remove from the bowl from the saucepan.
Continue to whisk for a couple of minutes, until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch. Divide the zabaglione among the glasses.
Transfer the whipped creme fraiche or whipped cream to a pastry bag or to a resealable plastic food storage bag with one bottom corner snipped off.
Add the cinnamon (to taste) to the milk; steam the milk until it is soft and foamy. If you do not have a milk steamer, you can alternatively whisk the milk in small saucepan over medium heat.
Add a layer of the chilled cream over the zabaglione, then sprinkle on a little confectioners' sugar to form a thin, insulating layer.
Pour the hot cinnamon milk on top. Serve immediately.
From Gastronomer Andreas Viestad.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.