It's a rich and creamy espresso and chocolate budino (fancy Italian term for pudding) that we topped with chocolate-hazelnut (read: Nutella) foam and a piece of hazelnut-cardamom biscotti.
The original inspiration for this dessert came from the cup of espresso enjoyed at the end of a meal, enhanced by a good piece of biscotti for dunking. Dunking biscotti in coffee is great, but now I've learned that dunking it in pudding is even better. :)
Everyone really loved this dessert, and told us it was the perfect way to end the meal. The pudding is addictive! And I love the spice of the cardamom in the biscotti. Serving it in little mason jars was especially amazing, both for the look and ease of serving (dinner party hostesses take note).
The recipe below is very similar to what we used, except that I whittled it down to serve 10 instead of 40. We also used an iSi canister for the Nutella foam, so I adapted that as well.
If you want to make it tonight, you may want to cut it down even further. The pudding on its own would be perfect for a romantic dessert for two, maybe with the addition of whipped cream - either the Nutella version below, or a cardamom whipped cream (I love this one: Infuse 2 cups heavy cream with a handful of cardamom pods for 20 minutes or so over gentle heat, and then refrigerate and whip as usual).
Enjoy, and Happy Valentine's Day!
- Espresso-Chocolate Budino
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup brewed espresso
- 3/4 stick unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 (3.5-ounce) bar bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- Hazelnut-Cardamom Biscotti
- 1-1/4 cups hazelnuts (skinned and lightly toasted)
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 15 cardamom pods - shells removed and seeds ground
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 eggs plus 1 egg white beaten with salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cooking spray
- Nutella Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup Nutella
- Stir vanilla and espresso powder together in small bowl; set aside. Whisk sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt together in large saucepan. Whisk in yolks and cream until fully combined, scraping corners of saucepan. Whisk in milk until combined.
- Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbling, about 10 minutes. Continue to whisk another 30 seconds and remove from heat. Whisk in butter and chocolate until melted. Whisk in vanilla mixture and espresso.
- Pour pudding through fine-mesh strainer into bowl. Place parchment paper against surface of pudding; refrigerate until cool, at least 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using ruler and permanent marker, draw two 8-inch by 3-inch rectangles, spaced 4 inches apart, on parchment paper. Grease baking sheet and place parchment on top, ink side down.
- Pulse 1 cup hazelnuts in food processor until coarsely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses; transfer to bowl and set aside.
- Process remaining hazelnuts in food processor until finely ground, about 45 seconds. Add flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt; process to combine, about 15 seconds. Transfer flour mixture to bowl.
- Process 2 eggs in food processor until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With processor running, slowly add sugar until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Add melted butter and vanilla; process until combined, about 10 seconds.
- Transfer egg mixture to bowl. Sprinkle half of flour mixture over egg mixture and, using spatula, gently fold until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and chopped hazelnuts and gently fold until just combined.
- Divide batter into 2. Using floured hands, form each piece into an 8-inch by 3-inch rectangle, using lines on parchment as guide. Spray each loaf lightly with cooking spray.
- Brush loaves with egg white wash. Bake until golden and beginning to crack on top, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.
- Let loaves cool on baking sheet for 30 minutes. Transfer loaves to cutting board. Using serrated knife, slice each loaf on slight bias into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Lay slices, cut side down, about 1/4 inch apart on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 35 minutes, flipping slices halfway through baking. Let cool completely before serving. Biscotti can be stored in airtight container for up to 1 month.
- Heat cream over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and stir in Nutella. Refrigerate until chilled. Transfer to bowl of stand mixer and beat until soft peaks form.