So, where was I? I believe the last time I posted, I was talking about a fabulous meeting with the happy bunch that are the foodbloggers of this country and I was full of promises for my famous (or should that read infamous?) choco-mocca liqueur. Since then, I have received a lot of emails asking for the recipe, so without further ado...
This comes out of my little treasure chest of delicacies I encountered while living in Mexico - if you thought tequila and tacos were the only culinary highlights ever originating from that glorious country, then you're wrong. If it wasn't for the Aztecs, we would still be eating onions instead of potatoes as our staple diet, we'd never have encountered the delicacy that is a perfectly ripe avocado (in all shapes and formats) and, I shiver at the thought, we could never have indulged in chocolate!
The origins of this choco-mocca liqueur probably lie whereever Kalhua took its inspiration from, but I assure you it couldn't be more different if it tried. It's actually closer to Bailey's, but like so many home-made things, much more delectable! It also combines a lot of flavours I fell in love with in Mexico: coffee infused with spices (the Mexican "café de olla", a coffee prepared by simmering ground coffee with cinnamon, cloves and other spices and served in a clay mug), condensed milk (I have a secret love affair with the traditional Mexican flan which most people nowadays prepare with "Leche Nestlé", as it is commonly known there) and cocoa.
Over the years, I have been tinkering with a recipe in a cookbook I've long recycled and forgotten the name of, added this, some more of that and left out the other - but the biggest difference is that I am not using the brandy the original calls for, but some whisky (rather cheap, but keep that a secret!). And in all its various incarnations over this period of refinement, it has served well as a Christmas gift to many a friend and relative and has rounded up dozens of happy, boozy seasonal celebrations like the one we enjoyed the other day...
(yields roughly 1.5 litres)
250 ml espresso*
2 cinnamon sticks (15 cm each)
150 g light muscovado sugar (or unrefined cane sugar)
6 egg yolks (large eggs)
125 ml UHT milk
200 ml condensed milk (eg Nestlé Carnation)
2 level tbsp cocoa powder
125 ml whisky
Heat the espresso up with the cinnamon and 50 g of the sugar and leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes. Remove the cinnamon and strain through a fine sieve.
Place the yolks in heat-proof mixing bowl and place over a pot of boiling water. Add the remaining sugar and beat with a mixer or whisk until the mixture is pale, creamy and very thick, about 15-20 minutes.
Take off the heat, add the cocoa, then mix in the milk, coffee and condensed milk. Add the whisky and leave to cool.
Sterilise enough flip-top bottles and dry thoroughly, best in the warm oven. Fill up with the choco-mocca liqueur, using a funnel and a fine sieve.
Leave to stand, covered, but not fully closed, until the foam has gone down.
Keep in the fridge, it should last up to 6 months. Shake before serving and enjoy chilled, over some ice, if preferred.
* You can also dissolve 4 tbsp instant coffee in 250 ml water if you haven't got an espresso machine.