Not every nephew or niece of mine gets an elaborate birthday cake. Sometimes there are constraints, and sometimes I’m just too tired. If I don’t make them a cake, their grandma usually does. But if I don’t make them a cake, I make them something else. This year for my eldest nephew’s birthday, I made mocha-vanilla krembo.

On my first try, I made a mocha-vanilla krembo (Ombré style) with chocolate syrup. As per usual, I made it with Italian meringue. That’s how I previously made the chestnut krembo and the lemon krembo. It works pretty well, but the fact that the egg whites aren’t pasteurized always bothered me. No more. I decided to make it again, but this time with Swiss meringue.

For Italian meringue, you pour hot sugar syrup onto the egg whites and whip it into a stable and shiny meringue. If you add gelatin to the mixture, you get an airy texture closer to the original krembo. Unfortunately, the hot syrup isn’t enough to pasteurize the egg whites. Here’s where the Swiss meringues enters the picture.

Swiss meringue is made by warming egg whites and sugar on a double boiler until you reach a temperature that pasteurizes the whole deal. Apart from the pasteurization, you get a stable enough krembo that doesn’t need the gelatin addition. Furthermore, the texture is closer to the original krembo, at least in my opinion.

To make mocha krembo, I added half a teaspoon of instant coffee (that’s what I had in my kitchen at the time) and got a krembo with a delicate coffee flavor, hence mocha. If you want your krembo stronger, go ahead and add a whole teaspoon of coffee.

Cocoa cookies
Mocha meringue
Piping meringue
Dipping krembo in dark chocolate
Naked krembo

Cookie
200 g flour
10 g cocoa powder
100 g powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
80 g cold butter
(cut into cubes)
40 g egg yolk
15 g water

Swiss meringue
100 g egg whites
180 g sugar
Pinch of salt
½ tsp instant coffee
½ tsp vanilla paste

Coating
200 g dark chocolate
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Cocoa nibs

Equipment
Round cookie cutter, 5.5 cm diameter
A pastry bag fitted with a 16 mm smooth tip


The recipe makes about 15 krembo


Cookie

Put flour, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, salt and butter cubes in the mixer bowl and keep in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Remove from fridge. Using the paddle attachment, start mixing at low-medium speed until the batter reaches sand-like consistency. Make sure the butter chunks are as small as possible at the end of the process without melting the butter.

Add egg yolk and water all at once and keep mixing at medium speed until the dough starts to form but is not yet completely uniform. Remove dough parts from the bowl and combine together. Place the dough on parchment paper. Flatten the dough a little bit and lay another parchment paper on top.

Roll out the dough with a rolling pin between the two parchment papers to a 3-4 mm thickness. Keep turning the dough throughout. Place the dough with the parchment papers on a tray. Keep in the fridge for at least an hour.

When the dough is stiff and cold, remove the parchment papers and place the dough back on one of the papers. In a cool room, using a 5.5 cm round cookie cutter, cut out circles from the dough.

Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, each circle 2 cm apart (they don’t expand much during baking). Keep in the freezer for about 10 minutes and preheat the oven to 175 ºC /345 ºF in the meantime.

Please note (!) If at any point the dough starts to soften, put it back in the fridge until it is stiff again.

Remove the cookies from the freezer and transfer them to another baking tray. Place the tray in the oven and bake for about 12-14 minutes until the cookies begin to set and brown. Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature.

Swiss meringue

Put egg whites, sugar and salt in a stainless steel bowl and whisk well. Warm the mixture on a double boiler (medium heat) while whisking all along to melt the sugar and pasteurize the egg whites.

Once the temperature reaches 60 °C /140 °F, lower the flame and keep whisking for about 5 more minutes (OR bring the temperature to 70 °C /160 °F and whisk for 1 minute).

Make sure the temperature doesn’t pass 75 °C /165 °F. (I just lower or turn off the flame accordingly and keep the temperature between 60-70 °C /140-160 °F).

Remove from heat and strain immediately into the mixer bowl. Add coffee and vanilla. Whip the mixture on maximum speed for about 5 minutes until the meringue is stable and shiny (stiff peaks).

Fit a pastry bag with a 16 mm smooth tip and fill it with the meringue. Holding the pastry bag vertically, pipe the meringue in the center of each cookie to form 3 layers of meringue.

Keep in the freezer for about half an hour before coating.

Coating

Melt chocolate on a double boiler. Add vegetable oil and mix. Transfer the melted chocolate to a narrow cup. Dip each krembo in the chocolate while it’s warm (to get a thin layer of coating).

Let the excess chocolate drip back into the cup and set the krembo aside. Sprinkle cocoa nibs on the krembo before the coating sets.

Keep these mocha krembo in the fridge for at least half an hour until the coating sets. Keep it in an airtight container for about 2 days (or even more in the freezer, just let it thaw a little before you eat it).

Mocha krembo
Yum

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