Time Travel Kitchen

When It’s Too Darn Hot: An Easy and Elegant Coffee Dessert, 1924

The words ‘Too Darn Hot’ have been popping up all over social media this week to describe the heat that is broiling much of the country.

The gist of the lyrics in this classic 1948 Cole Porter song are about temperatures that are too darn hot to even ‘pitch the woo’.

I’ve felt pretty woo-less about the prospects of baking in my quirky oven that goes from zero to inferno in a hot minute.

A delicious solution for this comes in the form of a 1924 recipe from the ‘Modern Priscilla Cookbook’ simply titled ‘Coffee Dessert’. It’s cool and easy and looks pretty in a glass — no oven needed.

The cover boasts of ‘One Thousand Home Tested Recipes’ that were made at the Priscilla Proving Plant in Boston. ‘The Modern Priscilla’ was also a popular magazine for homemakers published from 1887-1930.

This recipe is simple and elegant and if I ever throw a fancy dinner party, I’m serving it.

My notes follow the recipe.

  • When I first looked at the yield I thought ‘wow, small portions’. And then I tasted it. It’s so smooth and creamy and rich, just a little is perfect. It also manages to somehow feel light.

  • I had some really nice candies from Poland that were a gift and thought they would taste great with the dessert. Made of dark chocolate and marzipan, they made it special.

  • I don’t have a French Press, so I used my Moka Pot and made espresso. 3/8 cup is a 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons. I love my Moka Pot and the beautiful design of this inexpensive aluminum pot which was first created in Italy in 1933.

  • I placed the mixture in the ice and salt bath and in half-hour it started to thicken. But then I really wanted to try it, it looked so good, so I removed it from the ice bath and put plastic wrap on the surface of the mixture (which was in a small stainless bowl) and popped it in the freezer. Within an hour I was able to scoop.

  • The texture is smooth like a coffee and cream gelato, but airy like mousse.

  • Most people didn’t have refrigerators in the home in 1924, and this recipe seemed to be designed for chipping off some ice from a block in an ice chest and making the ice/salt bath. This method is also great for quickly chilling champagne.

  • I would definitely use this recipe (before freezing) as the most luxurious coffee whipped cream and put a dollop on a flourless chocolate cake, or even a brownie.

I hope you try this. I loved it and I hope you will too.

Update: I’m getting a new oven!

Have a great weekend.


photo 📸: Jolene


Modern Priscilla Cookbook, Copyright, 1924, The Priscilla Publishing Company, Boston; Too Darn Hot, song by Cole Porter, 1948.