Published 18/08/2007 | 12:13
Legions of caffeine fans know that coffee's so much more than a drink - it has a multitude of uses. It can be a lifesaver, kick starting the day, plugging energy gaps, reputedly helping sell houses with its homely aroma and not least smoothing the way to romance via the age-old chat up line: 'fancy a coffee back at my place?'
There are, of course, limits - as teenage waitress, Jasmine Willis found out recently. She drank 14 shots of espresso - almost three times the recommended daily amount of caffeine - in just four hours, and had to be taken to hospital with a high temperature and heart palpitations.
She said ruefully: "Coffee's fine in moderation and really does pick you up but I just overdid it. I felt exhausted for days afterwards."
There are other less extreme ways of getting that coffee flavour - by using the ingredient in recipes. Susannah Blake makes that easy with her collection of cakes, desserts and drinks in her new book, Coffee Indulgences.
Susannah says: "Coffee isn't just for enjoying as a drink, it's the perfect flavouring too.
"Dark and bitter or subtly elusive, the taste of coffee is perfect in pastries, mousses, custards, sauces, creamy desserts, refreshing ices, cookie and cakes and hot and cold drinks."
She demonstrates this with mouth-watering recipes for Coffee, Pecan And Maple Cake, Coffee Cremes Brulees, Dark Mocha And Kahlua Mousse, as well as great summer cocktails like Coffee Granita, or Espresso Martini.
Susannah's chosen Cappuccino Cheesecake "ideal for coffee and a gossip with the girls" and a dinner party dessert, Ground-Coffee Crepes With Vanilla Ice Cream And Coffee Sauce for you to try.
÷ 150g plain chocolate-covered digestive biscuits
÷ 60g butter, melted
÷ 500g mascarpone
÷ 125ml creme fraiche
÷ 3tbsp instant coffee, dissolved in ÷ 3tbsp just-boiled water
÷ 125g caster sugar, plus 1 1/2tbsp for the topping
÷ 4 eggs, beaten
÷ 240ml sour cream
÷ cocoa powder, to dust
÷ a 20-cm springform cake tin, greased
Put the digestive biscuits in a food processor and process until they become crumbs, then combine with the melted butter. Tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth out to make an even base. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Beat together the mascarpone and creme fraiche until smooth, then stir in the coffee and sugar. Stir in the eggs until well mixed.
Wrap the base and sides of the tin in two single sheets of aluminium foil, then pour the masarcarpone mixture over the crumb base.
Put into a roasting tin and pour water around the cake tin so that it reaches half to two-thirds of the way up the sides. Bake for about 50 minutes until set but still soft.
Meanwhile, stir the remaining 1¿ tablespoons of sugar into the sour cream. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, gently spoon over the sour cream, spreading it out evenly, then return to the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then cover and chill for at least four hours or overnight. To serve, carefully unmould and dust with cocoa powder.
GROUND-COFFEE CREPES WITH VANILLA ICE CREAM AND COFFEE SAUCE
÷ 2 tbsp fine coffee grounds
÷ 115g plain flour
÷ 1 tbsp caster sugar
÷ 2 eggs, beaten
÷ 280ml milk
÷ Sunflower oil, to grease
÷ Good quality vanilla ice cream, to serve
÷ 120ml double cream
÷ 3 tbsp freshly brewed espresso
÷ 150g white chocolate, roughly chopped
Combine the coffee grounds, flour and sugar in a bowl, then make a well in the centre. Beat the eggs and about a quarter of the milk to make a thick, smooth batter. Gradually beat in the remaining milk, cover and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
To make the coffee sauce, put the cream, espresso and chocolate in a pan and warm gently, stirring, until the chocolate has melted. Keep warm or leave to cool, as desired.
Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. To make the pancakes, heat a non-stick frying pan until very hot, then moisten a piece of kitchen paper with sunflower oil and wipe over the surface of the pan.
Add a small ladleful of the batter and swirl to thinly coat the base of the pan. Cook for about one minute until the edges are dry and the crepe golden underneath, then flip over and cook the second side for 30 seconds or so until golden. Keep warm in the oven while you make another seven crepes.
Fold each crepe in half, then into quarters to make a cone shape. Place a ball of ice cream inside each cone. Drizzle with the coffee sauce and serve.
Coffee Indulgences, by Susannah Blake, Ryland Peters & Small, £8.99