Coffee Flummery

This brilliant and storied dessert recipe comes courtesy of our friends Amy and Mark, and particularly Amy’s mother.  Even before we tried it, we seized upon it because of the name…it’s just fun to say, and the limerick possibilities are intriguing.  But it turns out to fill a critical gap for us on Upward Wing.  I’ve bemoaned before the frozen dessert deprivation; with no freezer, ice cream and ALL its valuable contributions to life are curtailed when you aren’t in port.  Furthermore, while this recipe fulfills the first meaning of “flummery” in the Oxford dictionary — “a sweet dish made with beaten eggs, milk, sugar, and flavourings” — it is the second definition that just sounds like a pirate saying: “meaningless or insincere flattery or conventions.”  I shudder to think our readership finds our blog to be full of flummery … beyond the dessert, of course.

Coffee Flummery

Jump to Recipe

3 cups strong coffee
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup milk
2 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin
2 eggs, separated
Scant 1/2 cup sugar
1-2 cups heavy cream

Mix the coffee, 2/3 cup sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan and heat over very low heat (this is one of those times you’re supposed to use a double boiler, but this pirate lacks the patience).  Dissolve the gelatin in the milk and add it to the coffee mixtures as it is heating. Use the back of a spoon to mash out and incorporate any remaining lumps of gelatin as best you can.

Beat the egg yolks and scant 1/2 cup sugar together.  Temper this by adding a few spoonfulls of hot coffee mixture, then stir it into the pot and cook over low heat for a few minutes. Things should never get above a simmer.

Now get out your inherited, 1940s egg beaters and beat the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry.

Off the heat, stir (more or less “fold” … don’t beat) the whites carefully but thoroughly into coffee mixture.  I’ll confess I have no idea if I’m doing this quite right … I’ve followed Amy’s performance-art instructions about how her mother looks doing it, but I’m still not convinced.  I think the idea is to make sure there’s some coffee flavor in the whites, but not to merge them into the liquid.  Rather you leave them sitting on top of the liquid almost like a meringue.

In a move that will no doubt mortify four generations of women in Amy’s family, I’m making this in one of my Caire industrial food storage containers with a foolproof snap on lid.  We’re going to be heeled over in 15 knot winds today and the last thing I can afford to do is put this in a delicate crystal bowl and prop it up in my icebox!  It tasted just as good in the end … if not as pretty.  Chill thoroughly until gelled.

Spoon the flummery into serving cups or bowls.  Serve with [whipped] cream.  Amy’s family — and particularly Mark-by-marriage — feel strongly about simply pouring the heavy cream as-is over the flummery and having the gelatin blobs floating in a pool of liquid cream.  I am a lover of fresh whipped cream and like the loft it gives the finished dessert.  I compromised here and whipped it partially, leaving it fairly liquid.

It’s not QUITE coffee ice cream, but comes pretty close to satisfying the craving.  I might also add that this is Pirate-approved as breakfast: coffee, eggs, cream … perfect.

Coffee Flummery
Course: Dessert
Servings: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 cups strong coffee
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup sugar, scant
  • 2 cups heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Combine coffee, 2/3 cup sugar and pinch salt in top of double boiler (or saucepan over low heat). Dissolve gelatin in milk and add to coffee mixture while it heats.

  2. Beat egg yolks and scant 1/2 cup sugar. Temper with a few spoonsful of hot coffee mixture and add to the double boiler. Cook at no higher than a simmer for a few minutes.

  3. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Off heat, fold into the liquid to thoroughly but gently.

  4. Chill until gelled, and serve with whipped cream.

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