Carte Noire has made a range of espresso capsules that work with Nespresso* machines. I’ve got a Krups Nespresso Citiz, an easy to use machine that produces great coffee every time. When I saw a call for blogger to test and review Nespresso-compliant capsules from Carte Noire, I was intrigued and applied. A few days later, I received a big, elegant box with coffee and espresso glasses. Trying the coffee wasn’t enough. I wanted to cook with it, make something really nice that captured the flavour and elegance of the box it came in. It didn’t take long to come up with an idea: kaffebiskvier.
Carte Noire Capsules
When we first bought the Nespresso machine, there wasn’t a Nespresso boutique in Edinburgh so when we ran out of the trial pack, we got decaff capsules from Sainsbury. Unfortunately, they weren’t a very good fit: they worked, but they stuck and getting them to release was a nuisance. The Carte Noire capsules don’t have that problem. They fit perfectly and release smoothly. It just like using a Nespresso capsule.
Carte Noire’s four espressos are pure Arabica coffees that produce a dark coffee with a creamy but soft crema. I’m a little sensitive to bitterness and acidity in coffee and enjoy savoury notes. It’s no surprise that the coffee I enjoyed the most was the lightest one.
- Elégant (3) – My favourite. This is light, has some bitterness but very little acidity and gives me hints of toast and hazelnuts. This, and Délicat, I enjoy as an espresso after lunch.
- Délicat (5) – A little more intense, this is still light in flavour with light bitterness and notes of dark chocolate and malt.
- Aromatique (7) – At this level there’s a more of the characteristic coffee bitterness coming through but it has nicely balanced acidity with notes of nuts.
- Intense (9) – Intense is just that: big with tones of burnt rubber as well as smoke and tobacco, and rich bitterness.
Conveniently, the Carte Noire capsules should be available from most supermarkets and are good value at £2.74 for 10 capsules. My favourite coffee is still a Nespresso coffee, but the Carte Noire capsules are a convenient alternative.
Coffee’s not just for drinking, so I decided to cook, well, bake, with it. If we weren’t a vegetarian house hold, I would have put some beef in the slow cooker and made a coffee molé, but instead I made rich and delicious chocolate and coffee confections based on a traditional Swedish recipe. I used the Intense in a ganache to give the full coffee flavour a chance to cut through the rich chocolate, and the Elégant in the chocolate cover to infuse it with just a hint of coffee flavour. I found an Amaretto and coffee shot a very good accompaniment.
Kaffebiskvier – Swedish Coffee Macaroons
Every country seems to have its own version of the macaroon, an almond-based, usually chewy, pastry. France has the macaron, delicate meringues sandwiched with buttercream, ganache or other fillings, the UK has the macaroon, a large, chewy coconut cookie, and Scotland has its own version – a fondant covered in chocolate and coconut.
The Swedish version is the chocolat ‘biskvi’ (bisque-vee). Traditionally, it has an almond base topped with a mound of chocolate flavoured butter cream and covered in dark chocolate. A version with a butter-based chocolate truffle centre is called a Sarah Bernhardt. My version is coffee-flavoured and uses a ganache instead of butter cream. The result is very indulgent indeed.
- 300 grams almond paste
- 1 egg white (from a medium egg - a large white may make the almond mixture too soft)
- 200 grams milk chocolate
- 150 grams dark chocolate
- 3 capsules Carte Noire Espresso Intense
- 10 cl whipping cream
- 100 grams dark chocolate
- 1 teaspoon almond oil
- 1 capsule Carte Noire Espresso Elegant
- Pre-heat the oven to 175C (fan).
- Grate the almond paste with a fine grater.
- Add the egg white and stir smooth.
- Use two spoons to form 15 biscuits with the almond paste on baking paper. (I marked 15 5cm rounds to give myself a guide to follow.)
- Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Remove cakes from paper.
- This step can be done at the day before the biscuits are assembled.
- Break the chocolate into a bowl.
- Make two Intense espressos (about 5 cl in total).
- Mix espresso and cream in a pan, add the content of the third capsule, and bring to the boil.
- Strain the cream over the chocolate.
- Mix until smooth and creamy.
- Let cool to room temperature. (This can take up to three hours.) You can make the ganache a day in advance, to give it plenty of time to set. It should be firm enough to keep its shape, but not actually hard. Let it cool slowly at room temperature and you'll be fine.
- Turn the bases upside down - the ganache goes on the flat side, the side that was against the baking sheet.
- Divide the ganache between the bases.
- With a butter knife, or palette knife, form the ganache into a top on the base, making sure it spreads all the way to the edge. If the bases held their shape well in the oven, and didn't spread much, you'll get a sharper peak. A wider base gives a less pronounced peak.
- Put the bases in the fridge to cool for an hour or overnight.
- Break the chocolate into a bowl.
- Open the Cart Noir capsule and put about a teaspoon of the ground coffee into the chocolate.
- Melt the chocolate over a water bath.
- Add the almond oil and stir in the coffee.
- Take the bases out of the fridge.
- Dip the ganache side of the base into the melted chocolate to cover it completely.
- Hold the edges, dip the ganache in quickly and turn it as you lift the biscuit out.
- Let cool on a rack.
The first time I served kaffebiskvier was a Friday night, so I served them with an amaretto espresso shot to make them even more festive and to strengthen the almond flavour.
- 1 tablespoon amaretto (I used Di Saronno).
- 1 capsule Carte Noire Aromatique
- Pour the amaretto into an espresso cup or glass.
- Make a lungo directly into the cup of glass.
Top tip: if you want to keep the coffee as hot as it can be, heat the amaretto in the milk heater before using it.
* Nespresso® is a registered trademark of a third party without any link with Mondelez International group. Compatible with all Nespresso®* machines bought before July 1, 2013. After that date, compatible with most Nespresso®* machines bought. Additional information regarding compatibility.
This post is an entry in the Foodies100 Espresso Collective Challenge, sponsored by Carte Noire. Each box of Carte Noire Espresso capsules contain 10 single servings and are available in supermarkets at an RRP of £2.79 and are available in four intensities. To Find out more about the new Carte Noire Collection Espresso collection, click here.