Wednesday, January 16, 2013

dark chocolate pot de creme

Pot de creme has been in my mind for a few months now. I've got a small collection bookmarked, from chocolate to vanilla and butterscotch and they all sound just about perfect and exactly like things I need to make. They always end up on the backburner because I've got other apparently "easier" things to try and the ingredients seem a little wasteful. Recently when I used three egg whites in a go at macarons I had the forethought to store the egg yolks, and when I was looking for a use I remembered that I'd been dying to make pot de creme.

It took me awhile to settle on a recipe. I wanted one that specifically called for three yolks and I needed to have all the other ingredients on hand. I browsed through dozens on recipes and was all set to go on a butterscotch pot de creme when I realized we were out of brown sugar and didn't have any real vanilla. Clearly chocolate would be the answer; once I decided that it wasn't too hard to settle on the Martha Stewart version. I don't often make her recipes, but I'm almost never disappointed. I made a few variations, some intentional others not (I definitely grabbed the wrong measuring cup for the sugar, which I didn't realize until just now) and I was delighted how it turned out.

This is just dreamy. Melt in your mouth, reminicient of pudding, flourless cake and mousse while being completely unlike either. It also took me right back to an early dinner I'd made Bunny, which featured an amazing dessert combination of chocolate mousse and red wine. The amount of effort and skill used to make these is very minimal when compared with the payoff in taste. For all that the directions are long, there's not actually a lot of work here. Just make sure you're using the highest quality ingredients you have on hand; with simplicity like this the quality is key. Pot de creme is going to be a common dessert around here, and I can't wait to try all sorts of variation.

The one thing I didn't change yet that I would in the future is the serving size. This makes four individual pot de cremes, but I'd love to play with the cooking times and ramekin sizes and make 8 to 10 smaller ones. Bunny and I split one together and with the richness of this it was still almost too much. That being the case, don't worry about adding whipped cream to the top. This is enough just on its own.

Dark Chocolate Pot de Creme
adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups table cream (18%)
  • 4 squares high quality, extra dark baking chocolate, finely chopped or shaved
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extra
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 ounce kalhua (optional)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a simmer. Remove from heat, add in chocolate and sugar and wisk together until both are dissolved. Let stand 5 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together yolks, vanilla,salt, and liqueur if desired. Stir the chocolate mixture once more to ensure its evenly melted.
  4. Slowly stir the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Add just a couple tablespoons at first so you can bring the yolks slowly up to temperature without cooking them. Once the first bit is mixed in well, slowly pour the rest of the chocolate in while wisking thoroughly.
  5. Pour through a fine sieve into a glass measuring cup. (I didn't have a sieve on hand and I skipped this step. Things turned out fine but at one point I did have a mouthful that had a small unmelted chocolate chunk in it, so I would advise doing this if at all possible).
  6. Place 4 ramekins, teacups, or in my case whatever small oven safe odds and ends you have on hand including a small gravy boat (3 to 4 ounces each) in a shallow roasting pan, and divide chocolate mixture among them. Pour hot water into the pan so it reaches halfway up the sides of cups.
  7. Bake until custards are almost set in centers, about 30 minutes. To test this you'll want to carefully remove one of the ramekins from the water bath (wearing an oven mitt!!) and shake it around. You're looking for the centre to jiggle slightly and the outside edges to stay almost still - this isn't a cake and doesn't need to be set through.
  8. Carefully remove cups from hot-water bath; let cool slightly.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate. Allow the chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Eat these. If you can, have a high quality red wine or a great espresso with them.

2 comments:

  1. Oh this seem absolutely delicious I definitely have to try them. Does the top get crunchy? I made this french chocolate dessert that's more like a soufflé and I wonder if it's similar:

    http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.nl/2012/01/darioles-moelleux-au-chocolat.html

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    Replies
    1. This is absolutely delicious, and so surprisingly easy. I definitely encourage you to try it out. :)

      There's no crunch to the top, it's just as smooth and creamy as the rest. (Unless you leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight, then it might develop a skin.) It probably be really nice with something with a firmer or crunchier texture sprinkled over top before eating as a garnish, but it certainly isn't necessary.

      I think there are a lot of similarities and differences in the recipes - this one is a little mousseier (is that a word?) than yours. Which just got bookmarked for future baking. :D

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