Friday, July 23, 2010
So picture this. John and I enjoyed a remarkable dinner at Zuni Cafe and...what does a good dinner beg for if not a good dessert? So we scan the dessert menu and John lays his eyes on the chocolate pot de creme. This doesn't surprise me because the keyword, "chocolate" was in the title, already selling this dessert to my husband. I shrug (which my mom tells me is almost my signature move) and don't expect much. While we are waiting for dessert I spot a young couple across the room snapping pictures on their iPhones of their entrees. I probably would do that for you guys if food didn't look so disgusting when photographed in low light on a phone. Eventually the chocolate pot de creme arrives with the requisite chocolate smear on the plate and rich whipped cream. I pick up my spoon, take my first bite, and my eyes widen. I look up at John and his face reflects the look plastered across my face: "ohmygod!" We pretend to play it cool and alternate bites, but both of us secretly plots a way to get as much of this dessert into our bellies.
David Lebovitz's blog, but he cruelly didn't have a recipe posted. Luckily for me, I had his book Ready for Dessert out from the library, and it had a winning recipe enclosed. Two of my other library books had pot de creme recipes, but I decided I'd trust the Parisian. It was a good decision.
So there ends the story of a big city restaurant inspiring me to make something at home. If we lived in San Fran we would be able to go to Zuni more often, but as it is, I'll settle for homemade in the meantime. We have less fog here anyway.
Chocolate Pot de Creme
Adapted from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz
Makes 4 servings in 2-inch ramekins
3.5 oz (100 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso or coffee powder (optional)
Pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place four 2-inch ramekins in a roasting pan. Chop 3.5 oz. of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate and place in a large bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 cup half-and-half, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 teaspoon instant espresso and a pinch of salt until very hot. Stir to dissolve the sugar completely. Pour the hot mixture over the chopped chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted. If you see any specks or chunks, continue to whisk (it will eventually melt). Let the mixture cool until tepid. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When the chocolate mixture has cooled sufficiently, whisk in 3 large egg yolks and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour the custard into a measuring cup and divide evenly among the four ramekins. Pour enough warm water into the roasting pan to go halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until the sides have just set and the center is still slightly jiggly. Remove the ramekins from the hot water and allow to cool on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, ideally with whipped cream, ice cream, or raspberries.