Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chocolate Pots de Creme

The name of this fantasy French dessert says it all: Pot (little pot) de (of) creme (cream)...add some really high quality chocolate and you have the chocolate version of the "pot of cream". This dessert is EASY to make, and it impresses people so much you almost feel guilty by the oohs and ahhs you receive.

Make this dessert with the best quality chocolate
you can find. Don't overcook it (like I did this time), or you will end up with a really hard pot de creme...which isn't really creme anymore. The final result will look wet on top when you take it out of the oven, and that is ok.

Do use ramekins to make the pots de creme, they are really the best baking and serving dishes for the pudding-like dessert. Serve your pots de creme with whipped cream and a "cigarette russe" cookie. I like to add a slice of strawberry for color.

To make six 4 ounce servings:

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I use Vahlrona)
2 cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks (save the whites for some macarons!)
1 1/3cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, with a sieve on top. Pour the cream in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer (be sure it is hot enough to melt chocolate), then remove from the heat.

While the cream is heating, whisk the egg yolks, gradually adding the sugar. Whisk for about one minute, and stop once the yolks are thick and light yellow, forming a ribbon when dropped from the whisk.

Very slowly pour the hot cream into the yolks, stirring with the whisk until blended. Immediately pour this through the sieve over the chocolate. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the chocolate is melted and blended with the custard. Stir in the vanilla extract and skim off any bubbles on the surface.

Arrange the ramekins in a baking pan and fill each with approximately 1/2 cup of custard. Cover the cups with tin foil (I cover each cup individually). Pour hot water in the pan, halfway up the ramekins.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until the tops are just set. The custard will be soft, don't worry it will set after you remove it from the oven. Carefully remove the baking pan from the oven and lift the ramekins from the water. Let them cool at room temperature, and then place them in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

This recipe can be made the day before serving.

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