Search finds recipe for a coffee gelatin
ONE OF MY e-mail correspondents, Natalie, wrote seeking a recipe for a coffee gelatin that she'd had at a party.
"They are just sweet enough and taste like they have milk in them. They are firm, not hard, but don't fall apart when you pick them up," she said. "I suspect this is an old recipe which obviously is hard to find."
My first thought was, "sounds Japanese," like those firm squares of kanten my aunties used to make -- although I've always seen them in bright fruit versions, never coffee.
A search of Jell-O recipes got me nowhere, but a few recipes turned up in local community cookbooks, and they do seem to be from another generation. A couple of them used raw eggs, not an idea considered safe these days.
The recipe below is based on one from Muriel Miura's "Japanese Cooking Hawai'i Style" (Mutual Publishing, 2006, $26.95). Miura remembers the dish as being popular many years ago in Japanese restaurants, often served with a pour of evaporated milk. That sounds kinda yucky, but the gelatin on its own is a very refreshing dessert treat.
Miura's version is Kohi-Azuki Kanten, or Coffee-Red Bean Gelatin, with azuki beans in a layer below the gelatin. This isn't what Natalie was looking for, so I tried it plain. Turned out great, but if you like azuki, that variation follows.
1/4 cup (4 envelopes) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold strong coffee
2-1/2 cups hot coffee
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Sprinkle gelatin over cold coffee; let stand 15 to 20 minutes.
Combine hot coffee with condensed milk. Mix well. Add softened gelatin and stir until dissolved. Pour through a strainer into 8-by-8-inch pan. Discard any undissolved gelatin. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares. Gelatin will be ready to eat after about 2 hours, but for very firm squares -- the type you can pick up with your fingers -- refrigerate overnight, uncovered. Makes 12 to 16 pieces.
» Variation: Stir in 1 can tsubushi an (azuki beans) into hot coffee along with condensed milk. The an forms its own layer as the gelatin cools.
» Note: If using instant coffee, dissolve 1 heaping teaspoon in 1/2 cup cold water; and 4 heaping teaspoons in 2 1/2 cups hot water. It's convenient to at least make the cold coffee with instant, so you don't have to wait for fresh-brewed coffee to cool.
Nutritional information unavailable.
CAN YOU HELP?
Here's a request from my Hope Springs Eternal File: "My uncle constantly talks about how great the spaghetti was at Honda Delicatessen back in the '50s. He remembers what made that spaghetti unique was that it was baked and had lots of pepper. Whenever he talks about it, which is often, it always makes our mouths water."
Anyone have this recipe or something like it?
Send queries along with name and phone number to: "By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. Or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org