The second pastry chef ever to win the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef, Camille Cogswell is known for melding Israeli ingredients with her own Southern flair at Zahav in Philadelphia. Visit the restaurant (if you can get a reservation) and you'll find a menu of nostalgia-inducing comfort food sweets, like coconut cream konafi or this dreamy Turkish coffee pudding that's dipped in a homemade chocolate Magic Shell.
Though the recipe is spread out over a few days, each step is surprisingly easy, making this the ideal make-ahead dessert to have ready in case last-minute guests—or late-night sugar cravings—come knocking at your door.
Turkish Coffee Custard
Recipe adapted from Camille Cogswell, Zahav, Philadelphia, PA
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus cooling and freezing time
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour and 25 minutes, plus cooling and freezing time
For the Coffee Custard:
2 cups heavy cream
⅔ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
½ cup coarsely ground coffee
8 large egg yolks
For the Chocolate Magic Shell:
3⅔ cups chopped dark chocolate
2⅓ cups coconut oil
1 cup corn syrup
1. Make the coffee custard: Heat the cream, sugar, vanilla bean (both seeds and whole pod) and coffee in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it comes to a boil. Take the pot off the heat and cover with a lid.
2. Place the egg yolks into a large bowl on a clean kitchen towel to hold it in place. Slowly stream the hot coffee cream into the yolks, one ladleful at a time, whisking constantly until fully incorporated—about 1 minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the mixture overnight.
3. The next day, preheat the oven to 250°. Strain the chilled custard base through a fine-mesh strainer. Place a rectangular heat-resistant silicone baking mold inside a baking dish with high sides. Divide the custard between the molds, filling almost to the top. Place the dish on the middle rack of the oven and pour hot water into the dish until it comes two-thirds of the way up the sides of the molds.
4. Bake in the oven until the edges of the custard are set and the middle jiggles just slightly when you move it—approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven, then remove the molds from the water bath. Let cool for 10 minutes at room temperature, then place the molds in the freezer until completely frozen, at least 2 hours. Pop the custards out of the molds and keep in the freezer until ready to dip.
5. Make the chocolate Magic Shell: Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler. Stir the coconut oil and corn syrup with a spatula into the melted chocolate until completely incorporated, trying not to create air bubbles. For easy dipping, transfer to a bowl where the mixture nearly reaches the top of the bowl.
6. Put one frozen coffee custard on the tines of a fork and dip it into the Magic Shell. Tilt it slightly, so any excess runs off the top and down the edge. Let the Magic Shell start to harden before sliding the coffee custard off the fork with an offset spatula onto a sheet of acetate or sturdy parchment paper.
7. Place in the refrigerator and let completely thaw before serving with any combination of whipped cream, fresh fruit, candied nuts, chocolate sauce or anything you think sounds tasty.
Note: If you can't find silicone molds, this recipe can be made in eight heat-proof ramekins: Allow to chill in the refrigerator until the custard is set (no freezing required) and top with the chocolate magic shell.