Friday, July 23, 2010

Chocolate Pot De Creme

I've never really been a creamy dessert person.  Anything remotely like flan sends me immediately to the next item on the dessert menu.  No thank you.  Maybe I'll eat a moose and obviously I like ice cream (which I consider something different entirely), but custards are not my thing.

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. 

There was a couple with us that night, too.  We didn't offer them a taste.

Since that pot de creme night, I started poking around ye olde internet for a chocolate pot de creme recipe.  The first place I looked with 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.

This recipe would be perfect for a dinner party.  It is served at room temperature, looks fancy, and will knock your taste buds off. 

As always, use good ingredients (or even better yet, great ingredients) because this is a simple recipe.  I found that the uber-rich chocolate flavor needed something to cut it, and since I didn't have any whipped cream or ice cream, I topped it with raspberries.  For someone who loves the chocolate-raspberry combination, this was perfect.  I suggest you use something to complement the chocolate flavor to make this dessert even better.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Chocolate AND raspberry! How can you do better? John must be thrilled he chose a chem major that knows how to follow a recipe and can adapt to make things even better!


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