Café Caramel Noix - SHF#11

15 August 2005

Well, it’s Monday today and I missed the coffee-themed SHF hosted by Ronald of Love Sicily – not that I couldn’t take part in it, but I thought it was this Friday… silly me – but coffee is something I can’t live without so I made a dessert anyway.

I found the recipe in a Japanese book written by Katsuhiko Kawada who runs a popular patisserie called Au Bon Vieux Temps in Tokyo. Most of the recipes in the book are traditional French desserts and it also has lots of background information about pastry making. Some of the recipes require quite advanced techniques – if, like me, you’ve never learnt pastry making, it’s difficult to even figure out some of the terms used in the book. But the coffee dessert I found in this book was really tempting and I though it would be worth a try.

This cake has dacquoises as a base (I used walnuts and almonds), coffee caramel mousse and walnut croustillant (thin tuile type biscuits, I added ground coffee beans too) on top. The mousse also has walnut praline inside, so as you can imagine, there are lots of different textures to enjoy as well as the taste. The mousse is similar to the cake called Brésilienne that I made before – which has two layers (caramel and coffee), but I definitely prefer this nutty crunchy version of coffee caramel mousse. As you tuck into it, you can taste acidity from the coffee, blended with the sweet caramel flavour, and then the crunchy praline comes in – delicious! I know I’ll definitely be making this again, but maybe not too often – it was more complicated than I expected!

Maybe I’m not as geeky as these people, but I’m quite fanatical about coffee. Although my little old espresso machine did a brilliant job for quite some time, I didn’t hesitate to move on to something more serious. Since Matthew bought me this machine and a grinder for my birthday almost two years ago, I’ve enjoyed great coffee (although I’m still learning, it’s more of an art than a science to get it right every time).

According to the folks at, the Rancilio Silvia and Gaggia Classic are the most popular machines for home use, but I wanted something more attractive and this Isomac machine seemed to fit the bill. (I considered a Francis! Francis! which seems a must if you have to have the latest trend, but again, I wanted something nice-looking and a workhorse at the same time.) I find the grinding, tamping and brewing process really therapeutic, and I feel really happy when the lovely aroma fills in our kitchen! (my current favourite beans are creole blend from HR Higgins and organic blend from Monmouth Coffee Company)

As much as I love drinking coffee, I love this plain dessert too – Affogato. You simply need good quality vanilla ice-cream and espresso.

This machine makes a really good brew

Check the lovely crema

Get your ice-cream ready (preferably home-made, it needs to be solid)

Enjoy as soon as you can!

Food - Sweet        28 comments    Permalink

  • Dear Keiko

    As always, your posts are divinely inspirational. I wish more Japanese cookbooks would get translated into English (more beautiful reasons to add to the cookbook collection!). For someone who has "never learnt pastry making" you certainly put some professionals to shame :) I must say your Isomac does deliver a gorgeous crema. Makes me want to hide our airhead of a FrancisFrancis in the store room.

    Posted by S | 16 August 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko

    Better late than never ;) Incredible pictures as always...If you ask me, I think you could teach some pros out there a thing or two about the art of pastry, of which you are a master!That thick cap of crema looks wonderful...Btw, I must confess I have been lusting after that set of crockery you used for the affogato and in some of your previous posts...the glaze looks very unique, the shapes in perfect proportion, rustic yet elegant...Cheers,J

    Posted by Joycelyn | 16 August 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko, Your posts are always so beatiful...from the writing to the pictures to the actual food, truly a joy to read! Just wanted to drop a line about how much I enjoy your blog :-) Oh, and from one coffee-lover to another, I so envy your wonderful Isomac!

    Posted by joey | 16 August 2005 #
  • Wonderful..........I wish too if Japanese cookbooks would get translated into English ( let us know if you)

    Posted by Latifa | 16 August 2005 #
  • Wow Keiko! That looks professionally made. And thanks for the simple dessert idea too. I recently made a batch of banana ice-cream by French Laundry and am looking for ways to eat it. I think I’ll pour coffee onto it!

    Posted by Lynn | 16 August 2005 #
  • Heya Keiko

    Affogato is the best of both worlds I think, though I like adding a little vanilla syrup sometimes to spruce it up a little.

    Posted by pseudochef | 16 August 2005 #
  • Gorgeous! Love it, will have it tomorrow. Excellent idea!

    Posted by Dreska | 16 August 2005 #
  • Hi there,

    S - thanks so much for your kind notes. Although I’m happy with my machine, I definitely prefer FF in terms of looks - they are really pretty and I’d love to get one (which colour do you have?) some day... so don’t hide your beautiful machine in the storeroom :)

    J - thanks, the crockery is from one of my favourite ceramic shops in Paris - they are pricey so I can afford only one item every time I visit...

    Joey - thank you for your kind words, I’m happy to know that you are a coffee fanatic too ;)

    Latifa - there are so many good Japanese books, aren’t there?

    Lynn - your banana ice-cream sounds delicious, let me know if coffee works with it.

    Pseudochef - adding vanilla syrup sounds like a great idea, I’ll definitely try it next time ;)

    Dreska - yes, have it tomorrow!

    Posted by keiko | 17 August 2005 #
  • Keiko - what a gorgeous dessert for SHF (and late in my books is never a disaster!)! And Affogato is just so sinfully delicious it’s amazing. Glad you made it - it wouldn’t be the same without you!

    Posted by Jennifer | 17 August 2005 #
  • Yum. I love affogato. My favourite dessert in summer for when I need both a caffeine AND ice cream fix (iced coffees rarely cut it).

    Gorgeous shots as always!

    Posted by AugustusGloop | 17 August 2005 #
  • I am so developing a fetish for Japanese pastry books!

    You know what we need Keiko? We need you to get a job as a translator to edit several of these treasures for us silly non-Japanesse speakers. I mean it (just like when I say you should make a calender of your gorgeous food pictures- really! I’ll remind you again closer to Christmas time:) )

    Posted by McAuliflower | 17 August 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    It all look so delicious! And as always, the photos are gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Posted by Reid | 17 August 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    We received an orange FF X1 as a wedding gift. It matches our set of orange Le Creusets, also wedding gifts :) BTW, I love cruising though too!

    Posted by S | 17 August 2005 #
  • I must comment again. The coffee machine is sooo super! You lucky thing! It looks (as you say) very attractive and stylish.

    Posted by Dreska | 17 August 2005 #
  • Wow that looks AMAZING! How did you make the ice cream?

    Posted by emi | 17 August 2005 #
  • Your desserts are always amazing. Thank you for sending me a note on my food blog today, maybe you have noticed that your blog is among my favourites... will continue reading your site, for sure.

    Maybe we will meet at Johanna’s one time in London ?

    Kind regards from Vienna angelika

    Posted by angelika | 17 August 2005 #
  • Hi - You should take what you do here and turn it into a magazine - your images are beautiful - you have excellent taste and style!

    Get busy!

    Posted by jolayne | 17 August 2005 #
  • Hi there,

    Jennifer - as I’ve said before, SHF is definitely my favourite event - I always learn something new from it.

    AugustusGloop - I’m glad you are an affogato lover too ;)

    McAuliflower - I never thought about it, but like you say, Japanese pastry books are great - I like them especially because they have lots of pictures showing the stages involved so you’ll know what you are doing! I don’t think I can translate them (you know how bad my English is), but I’ll try to put some recipes up here...

    Reid - thank you ;)

    S - FF + Le Creusets set for wedding gifts! You are so lucky! Loving cruising must mean we are geeky too...

    Dreska - thanks, I know you are addicted to coffee too :)

    Emi - that is plain vanilla ice-cream, I think we always have some in the freezer along with other flavours, I’m such a custard fiend! I’ve put up a recipe before, just omit bread from it and you might want to add extra sugar to it as it won’t have the sweet crumbs.

    Angelika - thanks for your kind note. It’d be lovely to meet you with Johanna in London, let me know when you come over.

    Jolayne - thanks for dropping by, your site is amazing - I’m already a big fan :)

    Posted by keiko | 18 August 2005 #
  • Looks so yummy! That is sme nice crema you have there! You should try roasting your wn green coffee beans ;)

    Posted by clare eats | 18 August 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko- What a wonderful cake again! Actually I love any coffee flavored desserts and I also like caramel especially when they are really creamy and smooth. I think this dessert is perfect for my taste buds. I haven’t tried any dessert that combines coffee and caramel, but it think it will be really wonderful since I love the two flavors very much.You are lucky that you can read Japanese because there are a lot of cookbooks that are good but written in Japanese. I would be really really glad if you can post this recipe if you have the time. Thanks

    Posted by Cathy | 18 August 2005 #
  • Keiko,

    this looks utterly amazing. I think this might have to be the dessert for my next dinner party -- I can’t wait to read through the rest of your site - what a nice treat to be forwarded to your site after your very nice comment!

    Posted by Cath | 18 August 2005 #
  • Always reminds me of one of the Three Colours Movies. There’s scene where one of the characters sits eating expresso poured over icecream. The cool thing is yo ucan make your own in any cafe you happen to be long as the coffees good.

    Posted by Monkey Gland | 18 August 2005 #
  • Amazing series composition and lighting are very nice. And...mmm the subject make me hungry ;)

    great shots, sorry for my english


    Posted by Sakana | 18 August 2005 #
  • I just adore everything you make! Great photo, as usual.

    Posted by obachan | 19 August 2005 #
  • The dessert looks so good, I want one please. The coffee machine looks very high-tech too!

    Posted by Mel | 19 August 2005 #
  • Hi there,

    Clare - I was very tempted when I read a post on Nic’s site, have you tried roasting yourself too?

    Cathy - I think you’ll like this one, the combination is just fab ;) I’ll try to put the recipe up but don’t hold your breath (sorry, it was a long complicated recipe)...

    Cath - thank you for dropping by, I hope you enjoy making the dessert for your dinner party!

    Monkey Gland - oh, Kieslowski is one of my favourites, I feel a film-related post coming up soon ;)

    Sakana - thank you for your kind note, I wish I could take beautiful photos like yours...

    Obachan - thank you, it was hard work but definitely worth it :)

    Mel - I guess you are another coffee fanatic too... ;)

    Posted by keiko | 19 August 2005 #
  • hi keiko i am so happy i found this foodblog and foud you!! i love the way your desserts look i love the pictures but as a little sugestion or question why don’t you put the recipes you use? or you don;t like to give them. thanks very much good luck

    Posted by marissa a | 30 June 2006 #
  • Hi Marissa - thank you for your notes - as for the recipes, I always note the source of the recipe if I don’t include the recipe itself - and as for Japanese ones, I simply don’t have time to translate them all - for example, this dessert was more than 4 pages long!

    Posted by keiko | 4 July 2006 #

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