We’re having guests over for dinner this week, and tonight I made the dessert ahead. I may have blogged about these before. They’re a go-to recipe for chocolate fiends, and they can be made up to 3 days ahead, and kept under plastic wrap in the fridge. For those who like to have their mise en place, this is a winner. Who doesn’t like rich thick chocolate? And who says you need a bain marie to make Pots de Creme?
I slightly modified a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. I used 2 oz ramekins instead of 5 oz ones, because I find the full size to be too much if you are serving more than a salad before it. Besides, who doesn’t like having one or two (or 6) left over to share with friends the next day?
Chocolate Pots De Creme
Serves 8 – 14, depending on ramekin size (5oz for 8, 2 oz for 14)
- ramekins: eight 5oz. ramekins, or about fourteen 2 oz. ones (I’ve used espresso cups before with good luck, also.)
- sheet pan
- 4 qt. saucepan
- heatproof silicon spatula or wooden spoon with flat edge
- 1 qt Pyrex measuring cup for portioning
- fine mesh strainer
- large mixing bowl
- rolling pin or hammer (or chef’s knife and cutting board)
- 1 cup liquid measuring cup
- small bowl and spoon
- measuring spoons
- instant read thermometer
- plastic wrap
- 10 oz bittersweet chocolate (2.5 Ghirardelli bittersweet bars from the baking section)
- 5 large egg yolks
- 5 Tbs. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup milk (I used skim, since it’s what I had)
- 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder mixed with 1 Tbs. water
- Set out your ramekins on a sheet pan.
- Break up the chocolate. I use my rolling pin, and bash the bars before I unwrap them. You can do the same thing with a hammer. Otherwise, you can show your real knife skills by unwrapping the bars, and chopping the chocolate with a chef’s knife on a cutting board. Either way, put the chocolate bits into the large mixing bowl, and put the fine mesh strainer over the bowl, and set them aside. Put the 1 qt Pyrex measuring cup beside the bowl.
- Separate the eggs, putting the yolks in your saucepan. Do what you will with the egg whites at a later time. Add the sugar, salt, cream and milk and whisk until combined. Put the whisk aside with the large bowl, strainer, and large Pyrex measuring cup.
- Mix the espresso and water in the small bowl, and measure in the vanilla. Set aside with the large bowl, etc.
- Put the saucepan over medium low heat, and stir constantly with the silicon spatula/wooden spoon so the custard can cook without sticking to the pan. Cook for 8-10 minutes. It will heat up and thicken slightly. Use your instant read thermometer to check the temperature during the process. When you reach 175-180 degrees F, turn off the heat.
- Immediately take the saucepan over to the large bowl, and pour the custard through the strainer, to remove any lumps. Scrape out all the custard with the spatula. Let the hot custard melt the chocolate for a couple minutes, then begin stirring gently with the whisk. Whisk more vigorously until the custard and chocolate are incorporated, and whisk in the espresso and vanilla.
- Scrape the mixture into the large Pyrex measuring cup for portioning into the ramekins. Fill the ramekins. Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Allow to stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving.
- At serving time, serve plain, or with whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa.