Coviglia al Caffe

1 cup milk
2 teaspoons very finely ground espresso coffee (freshly ground)
2 teaspoons flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
11/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup strong brewed black coffee
11/2 cups whipping cream, divided
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
Grated bittersweet chocolate, for garnish

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the milk until it is just hot to the touch, but do not let milk come to a boil. Keep warm.

In a small bowl, combine the ground espresso and flour, tossing with a fork to mix well. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, add the sugar to the egg yolks and beat until mixture is light-colored and thickened. Continue beating as you slowly pour in warm milk. Add 1 teaspoon of the vanilla, the coffee and mixture of ground espresso and flour, beating constantly.

When everything is well combined, transfer mixture to a heavy saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens to a creamy consistency. Note that it's important to watch mixture and stir constantly because if it comes to a boil, it will curdle as eggs start to cook. (If that starts to happen, immediately pull pan off heat and cool it by setting pan's base in cold water. Strain mixture to get rid of any curdled/cooked bits and continue with remainder.) In the end, mixture will thicken to a custard and coat back of a spoon. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Beat 1 cup of the whipping cream in a chilled bowl to soft peaks, then fold whipped cream into coffee mixture. Rinse beaters and beat egg whites to stiff peaks; fold into coffee cream.

Pour into a glass bowl and freeze about 1 hour, then stir mixture, which should be half-frozen. Divide into espresso cups and return to freezer until almost frozen, an additional 2 to 3 hours.

Whip the remaining cream together with the powdered sugar and remaining vanilla to soft peaks. Spoon a small dollop of whipped cream onto each serving and sprinkle lightly with some of the bittersweet chocolate. Serve immediately.

Makes 10 servings.

— Recipe adapted from "Cucina del Sole" by Nancy Harmon Jenkins.

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