Lebanese folks fall into two categories: the ones that like to drink their Turkish coffee with ground cardamom mixed in (hale in Arabic) and those who like it just plain. In the Middle-Eastern stores, the packages of Turkish coffee with cardamom have a green border and printed with cardamom at the bottom.
People (in the West) also either love Turkish coffee or can’t stand it. This pudding is a spur-of-the-moment inspiration I had looking at a sealed package of Turkish coffee with cardamom. Milk in the pudding obliterates the bitterness of the coffee, while preserving its exotic and strong flavor.
- 3 cups of whole milk
- 5 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 heaping teaspoon of Turkish coffee with cardamom (or without)
- 1/2 cup of cornstarch
- 1/2 cup of good quality semi-sweet chocolate (Callebaut, for instance) chopped coarsely
- a few rock sugars, for garnish
- Heat 2 1/2 cups of milk in a saucepan on low heat, adding the sugar and stirring from time to time to dissolve the sugar; use the remaining 1/2 cup of milk to dissolve the cornstarch in. Set aside to add as soon as the milk starts steaming.
- While the milk is slowly heating, boil 1/2 cup of water in a Turkish coffee pot (or small saucepan) and as soon as it boils, remove from the heat and add two heaping teaspoons of Turkish coffee; return to the heat, and as soon as it boils, remove from the heat and stir quickly; place back on the stove and bring to a boil, remove from the heat and stir. Set it on the counter for a couple of minutes for the ground coffee to settle at the bottom; pour the coffee into the hot milk (leaving the residual grounds in the saucepan, add the vanilla, and as soon as the milk starts steaming add the cornstarch mixture.
- Stir the milk and coffee mixture for a few minutes until it thickens, stirring constantly; pour into a bowl through a sieve to get the smoothest possible mixture.
- Pour into small goblets, and let the pudding cool at room temperature. Sprinkle some cocoa on top and a few chopped up rock sugars. Refrigerate and eat cold, with a bit of whipped cream if you wish.
NOTE: If you find that the mixture is not thickening (it should get thick after 2 or 3 minutes of stirring once the milk is steaming), not a problem: add more cornstarch and a bit of liquid, at the rate of one heaping tablespoon and 1/4 cup of liquid (water or milk), and add to the hot mixture.
You can replace the Turkish coffee with instant coffee and half a teaspoon of cardamom powder. Mix the coffee and cardamom with boiling water. Add to the milk and proceed.
TIP: Don’t throw away the coffee sediments at the bottom of the pot; they can be mixed with some shower gel (3 Tablespoons) and used to scrub your body. Also, they can be used to drain and deodorize the sink or drain in the tub or shower. The coffee sediments will contribute to a smooth skin.