Thursday, November 24, 2005


siberia, redux

yesterday's siberia brought its namesake weather with it to nyc! today's holiday is cold with a vicious wind.

while i had planned to make scott and jessica's batdorf "latitudes" siberia pacamara in the chemex, this raw morning made me do an about face, and instead i decided to brew it as a single-origin espresso in my silvia.

devoted readers may recall that yesterday i couldn't find the lime aroma that is said to be a hallmark of this coffee -- clearly it's in the grind. because when i ground the siberia in the mazzer mini for espresso and stuck my nose over the doser, the lime-leaf scent was unmistakable.

i pulled this coffee as a 30-second triple, and i loved it. it's a great coffee this way!

i easily drank it without any sugar, not that there's anything wrong with adding sugar to espresso! my heavens, the italians add loads!

what i'm saying is that as an espresso, it offers a very sweet taste, with a light tangy brightness. it also has a surprising amount of crema even at 6 days old.

the lime-leaf flavor is quite clear in the espresso, along with a very dark caramel, and a long after taste of dutch cocoa and that note jean le noir in his nez du café just calls "roasted coffee."

not too long ago i had a passion-fruit crème brulée type object with a burnt caramel crackly top in a chocolate tart shell. so imagine a similar thing in a thai version, with a lime-leaf and coffee-scented custard instead.

yummy. as espresso, it also offered a lovely creamy, buttery body, which is to say it coated the back of the demi-tasse spoon like thin gravy.

i had just finished making the chocolate mousse for thanksgiving dessert -- i was using julia childs' dead-simple recipe for the mousse -- and had built little "cages" of piroulines glued together with dabs of chocolate to hold the mousse.

my intention is to randomly drizzle the plate with chocolate sauce, position the cookie cage so that the hardening sauce will hold it in place, heap the cages with the mousse, then garnish with fresh sliced strawberry "roses," powdered sugar, and michel cluizel's white-and-dark chocolate caramel mushrooms.

long-time readers know i dislike overly-fussy food and presentation, so this simple conceit is about as far as i'll ever go in plating. if you try this for your own gig someday, take care to make it nice but don't get all perfectionistic about it or else you'll fall into the dread, sterile martha stewart land. . . show-off suburban-foodie stuff to photograph, not to enjoy eating.

this isn't hard to make at all -- in fact it's idiot-easy to assemble while making you look like pierre hermé or david lebovitz to those who don't know -- but when you have molten chocolate you have to work a little quickly you know before it cools too much.

so after this burst of creativity, i had to kick back with a shot of the fantastic siberia. purely in the interests of culinary exploration (harumph!) i did of course try this as an americano, but it wasn't nearly as good to my mind.

this is one siberia where i could easily spend the winter! but this coffee is so rare, i don't think there's enough to last that long!

posted by fortune | 10:32 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 1 comments

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