I don't know who first came up with the idea of adding coffee to brownies, but the idea was a stroke of genius. Coffee and chocolate is just one of those combinations that bring out the best in each other.
I recently bought a bag of Ethiopian coffee from a Swedish coffee roaster, that had these intense notes of exotic fruits combined with herbaceous, floral notes. It got me thinking if these same flavours I tasted in the coffee could be combined in an actual plate of food.
I began by making the coffee ice cream. For this particular recipe I cold brewed the coffee and added skimmed milk powder rather than make an infusion in the milk it self. It brought out a lot more of the fruity, floral notes I wanted to highlight in the ice cream. And the ice cream was great on its own, just churned and drizzled with chocolate sauce. I can definitely recommend that as well. You don't have to ship Swedish coffee to wherever you are, but I urge you to try and find a coffee with a fruity, floral flavour profile rather than a dark roasted, molasses/nutty one.
There are a few components here, but they aren't difficult to make, and each are great with other dishes as well, or on their own.
Coffee brownies with mango + blackberry, kaffir lime creme anglaise and coffee ice cream
Cold brew coffee ice cream
600 ml cold brew coffee
95g skimmed milk powder
100ml heavy cream
6 egg yolks
Heat the cold brew coffee with skimmed milk powder and heavy cream to 60C. Whisk egg yolks with sugar until pale and airy. Slowly pour the heated milk and cream over the egg yolks while stirring. Return the mixture to the pot and heat to 75C while stirring. Be careful not to scramble the egg yolks. Pass the mixture through a sieve and chill overnight. Allowing the ice cream to "age" helps with flavour development as well as ensuring a better finished ice cream.
Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. I prefer to freeze my ice cream for at least an additional half hour in the freezer before scooping and serving.
Coffee Brownies with mango + blackberries
125g dark chocolate
100g dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. strongly brewed coffee
1⁄2 tsp. fine salt
50g mango, diced
Heat oven to 175C/350F. Line a 16x16cm square cake pan with parchment paper and grease paper. Set the pan aside.
Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl over a water bath (or in the microwave). Stir until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from the water bath and cool slightly while whisking the eggs with the salt and sugar. Stir in the chocolate mixture and coffee. Fold in the flour and pour the batter into the cake pan. Scatter mango and blackberries over the batter and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until done. Allow to cool to room temperature in the pan before turning out. The cake only gets better after being wrapped in clingfilm and stored overnight in the fridge.
Mango and blackberry compote
100g mango, diced
Combine fruit, sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until the fruit is tender and releases its juice. Smash with a fork and stir together to a rich, syrupy compote. It shouldn't take more than 5-7 minutes total. Remove from heat and set aside til ready to serve. Leftover compote is great on yoghurt, oatmeal or spread on toast.
Kaffir lime crème anglaise
250ml half and half
6 egg yolks
4 kaffir lime leaves
Bring the milk and cream to just under a boil in a small saucepan. Add the kaffir lime leaves and allow to infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the leaves and reheat the mixture. Meanwhile stir together sugar and egg yolks in a bowl and temper the yolks by pouring a little of the how milk over the egg yolks while whisking. Then pour the egg mixture back in to the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Thicken the custard over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of about 85C. Remove from the heat, sieve the custard and place in a bowl. Place a piece of clingfilm directly on the custard and chill in the fridge for a few hours.
Spoon a suitable amount (I want a lot - some may want a little less..) crème anglaise in the bottom of 4 serving bowls. Arrange 4 slices of brownie in the center of each bowl and top with mango and blackberry compote. Arrange a scoop of ice cream with the brownies and you are ready to serve.