Vietnamese Coffee Popsicles
The bold sweet flavor of Vietnamese Coffee in a whimsical popsicle recipe. Pull out your molds because popsicle season isn’t over yet!
Sitting in the corner of a sparse dining room with canvas scrolls hanging on the walls, I watched a frail little women bring a tray loaded with apparatus to a nearby table.
As the diners talked, she carefully sat down glasses of ice, smaller stemmed glasses with something whitish in the bottoms, a kettle of hot water, and several small metal devices that looked like top hats.
She placed a metal hat over each stemmed glass and filled it with water. Then she left.
Trying not to look like a stalker, I kept a sharp eye on the glasses as the metal devices casually dripped black liquid onto the white surface below. Not penetrating it, simply creating a fine line of black and white.
Several minutes later, the little lady came back to the table and removed all the metal toppers. She then stirred each glass, creating a dusky cloud in the darkness, turning the color to a tawny brown. Finally she poured each cup over ice and was off again.
Whatever that was, I must have it.
I later discovered, these table-side beverages were Vietnamese coffee. I didn’t even drink coffee at the time, but was enamored by the little ritual that proceeded the beverage, and the clash of the dark and light.
The metal devices I saw were individually sized French drip filters, made to sit right on top of a glass or mug.
Vietnam was a French colony in the 19th century and became a thriving force in the coffee industry. Therefore Vietnamese coffee is traditionally made with a dark bold French roast. The mysterious white substance at the bottom of the glasses, sweetened condensed milk, became popular in Vietnamese during times of war because milk was scarce.
These two ingredients are the backbone of Vietnamese coffee as we know it today.
Can you imagine what a generous dollop of sweetened condensed milk would do to a strong rich cup of coffee? Earthy, acidic, creamy and ultra sweet. It’s a magical thing, turning even those most opposed to coffee, to the dark side.
I’ll take sweetened condensed milk over cream and sugar any day.
Even though I don’t own a metal drip filter, I secretly like to keep a can of sweetened condensed milk around the house for the moment when Vietnamese coffee calls. I use my French press and simply pour the coffee over the condensed milk. Sometimes I even skip the ice, naughty.
The general proportions for a Vietnamese coffee are 4 parts coffee to 1 part sweetened condensed milk. Here’s a little clip on the basics of Vietnamese coffee making.
It’s pretty clever…
Today we’re taking our iced Vietnamese coffee one step further. We are turning it into a popsicle recipe.
Why? …Because it’s fun.
And I’m fun.
And YOU’RE fun.
So let’s do this!
In testing this popsicle recipe I discovered something interesting. Sweetened condensed milk does not freeze, at least not well. So I had to change the proportions of the recipe to ensure proper freezing.
First I prepared the Vietnamese coffee, poured it into the popsicle molds and froze halfway.
Then I made a creamy layer for the tops (bottoms) with heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk. I added the sticks when I added the second layer and froze again until firm.
The layers represent the look of a traditional Vietnamese coffee before it’s stirred.
This is definitely a “grownup” popsicle recipe, but make them along with these Mango Lassi Popsicles and you’ll have frozen treats for both the young, and less young. *wink*
Prep Time: 10 minutes active time + 4 hours freezer time
Vietnamese Coffee Popsicle Recipe
2 cups very strong French roast coffee, hot
1 - 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk, divided
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Place 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk in a bowl or measuring pitcher. Pour the hot coffee over the top and stir until blended. Allow the coffee to cool for a few minutes.
Carefully pour the Vietnamese coffee into 12 popsicle molds, 2/3 - 3/4 full. Place in the freezer and freeze until slushy, about 1- 2 hours.
Mix the heavy cream with 3 Tb. sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Pull the Popsicle out of the freezer.
Pour 1-2 tablespoons of cream over the top of each pop and add a popsicle stick to the middle.
Return to the freezer and freeze until hard.
To remove from the molds: Fill the sink with warm water and dip the bottoms of the molds in the warm water for 30+ seconds. Pull the sticks straight up, don't turn or twist them. *Although I love the look of wooden popsicle sticks, the molds that come with plastic sticks (with holes throughout the sticks) are easiest to un-mold.
Eat immediately, or place in freezer bags and return to the freezer.
More Frozen Favorites:
Goat’s Milk Frozen Yogurt with White Tea Infused Canteloupe ~ Gourmande In The Kitchen
Blueberry Basil Martini Pops ~ Creative Culinary
Blood Orange Popsicles ~ White On Rice Couple
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