We made this recipe yesterday, for National Coffee Day.
Instead of our favorite after-dinner coffee—a steaming cup of French or Italian roast with a shot of coffee liqueur, substituting for dessert—we celebrated with a Café Liégeois (lee-eh-ZHWAH). It’s a parfait with layers of iced coffee, ice cream, and whipped cream (called chantilly [shon-TEE-yee] in French).
We highly recommend it as an easy-to-make dessert for coffee (and especially iced coffee) lovers.
While the original recipe does not contain alcohol, no one stops you from adding a shot of coffee, chocolate, or vanilla liqueur.
If you don’t have parfait or sundae dishes, use what you do have—beer glasses, wine goblets, any tall glasses, or glass mugs. You can even make the recipe in conventional coffee cups, although part of the eye appeal is looking at the layers through the glass.
Ingredients Per Serving
A modern variation of Café Liégois (photo © Benoit Bistro | NYC).
Chocolate Liégois. Photo courtesy Relais de l’Entrecôte | Hong Kong via Kee Hua Chee.
1. MAKE the coffee and refrigerate. Also, refrigerate or freeze the dishes or glasses. When ready to serve…
2. FILL each dish or glass with ice cream and pour over the iced coffee and the optional liqueur. Add the whipped cream, garnish as desired, and serve immediately.
According to Wikipedia, Café Liégeois did not originate in Liège, Belgium; it was initially known in France as Café Viennois (vee-en-WAH), Viennese Coffee.
Following the Battle of Liège in World War I, in which the city of Liège put up a resistance to the advancing German army with its Austrian-made guns—Paris’s cafés changed the name of the dessert from Viennois to Liégeois. Curiously, notes Wikipedia, in Liège itself, the dessert continued to be known as Café Viennois for a while.
PARFAIT VS. SUNDAE: THE DIFFERENCE
In the U.S., both ice cream desserts are made from the same ingredients. The difference is in how the ingredients are presented.