Alongside the classic Italian coffee desserts like tiramisu and affogato, Coffee Jello looks fantastically goofy. An American original, this witty little dessert was dreamed up by once proprietor, James Hallett, at his Boston-based eatery, Durgin-Park. Dismayed by seeing coffee wasted at the end of service, Mr. Hallett devised a way to give it new life on the dessert menu - and the idea turned out to be a brilliant one!
Coffee Jello mimics the wonderfully lush, rich and refreshing flavors of a good iced coffee in a delicate and silky composition. Coffee Jello is barely sweetened - a gesture that will please those who prefer it black. We went ahead and spiked it with a nip of brandy - not traditional, but oh so good. Topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream, this dessert is one of the best uses for leftover coffee, but it's also worthy of brewing a fresh new pot.
If you have a Moka Pot or home espresso machine, they'll produce the best brew for the job. If neither are available, standard drip will do just fine. Coffee Jello can be set in cups or ramekins, or poured into a baking dish and cut into squares. We used enough gelatin to form light, dainty squares that are more delicate than buoyant. If firm squares are your ideal, add an additional packet of gelatin.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
In a large bowl, add the hot coffee, gelatin and sugar, whisking to dissolve. Allow the gelatin to bloom, about 5 minutes.
Add the cold coffee and brandy, whisking to incorporate.
Pour into cups or ramekins, or into a 6x10 or 8x8 baking dish. Put in the fridge and allow to set, about 2 hours.
Once set, prepare whipped cream. In a medium bowl with a whisk, or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add cream and sugar, then whip until soft peaks form. Spoon over coffee jello to serve.