Serves 8; halves or doubles easily
20 minutes plus 6 to 36 hours chilling time prep, 5 to 8 minutes cooking, 6 hours 25 minutes total

Sometimes you need a break from all that lush summer fruit with a sweet that reminds you of what good chocolate and summer cream can do for each other. The bite of strong, dark roast coffee teases out chocolate’s appealingly bitter edge, so things don’t go too far over the top. This desert comes together easily and holds in the fridge for several days.

Make the cream up to 3 days ahead and keep it covered in the refrigerator.


  • 2-1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 2-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (organic if possible)
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or more to taste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup very strong dark roast coffee 
  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (such as Valrhona, Cluizel, Scharffen Berger, Lindt, or Guittard)
  • 1 cup (8-ounce container) sour cream (not low-fat)
  • Chocolate coated coffee beans or shaved chocolate for garnish


1. Gather 8 coffee cups or 2/3-cup ramekins, or small wine glasses and set aside. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. Let stand 5 minutes. In a 3-quart non-aluminum saucepan, warm the cream with the sugar, salt, and vanilla over medium-high heat. Do not let it boil. 

2. Stir in the gelatin until thoroughly dissolved (you can tell by rubbing the cream between your fingers to see if there is any gritty unmelted gelatin). Take the cream off the heat and let it stand until it’s warm, but not hot. Whisk in the coffee and chocolate until the cream is absolutely smooth.

3. Place the sour cream in a large bowl. Gently whisk in the cream a little at a time until smooth. Taste for sweetness, adding sugar to taste. Fill each one-serving container three-quarters full with the cream. Chill 4 to 48 hours. Serve cool, topped with chocolate-covered coffee beans or chocolate shavings.

From A Summertime Grilling Guide by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Copyright © 2012 by American Public Media.