Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chocolate Pot de Creme

I was inspired to make pot de creme at lunch one day with a friend. We opted to share a dessert and decided on pot de creme - the only option I've never tried. I've heard of it but was curious about the big fuss. I'd say it was one of the best decision I've made in my life. As we dissected the dessert, I determined  it tasted like a cross between an airy cake and a pudding. It was delicious and I quickly went home to begin researching how to make my own pot de creme!

Pot de creme is a French dessert that translate to pot of cream. It is a simple dessert, yet appears to be fancy. I like to make pot de creme seem like one of those desserts that took lots of work to make but really, it's easier than making cake. You will fool whoever you make this for but as long as they think you put a lot of time into it, that's all that really matters. We'll keep it between us - I won't tell if you won't!

If you have never heard of pot de creme, think of it as a hybrid of a pudding and custard. Yes, here's another hybrid recipe for you. Check out a hybrid of a flourless chocolate cake and a chocolate souffle with my Skinny Fallen Chocolate Mousse Cake. Pudding is typically made over the stove top and thickened with cornstarch. Pot de creme is richer than pudding because it only uses the egg yolks but the end product has the texture comparable to pudding. Pot de creme is similar to custard because the way it is cooked - in ramekins and in water bath to ensure a smooth textured dessert. I am not too fond of pudding or custard but when create a baby amongst the two, you get the best of both worlds. Here's to having it all!

Chocolate Pot de Creme
compliments of Oprah

4 ounces good-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Place chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream and milk just to boil. Add to chocolate; whisk until mixture is smooth and chocolate is melted. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Place 10 espresso (or other small) cups in a large roasting pan.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together yolks and sugar until blended but not foamy. Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture until blended. Strain custard through a sieve set over a large glass measuring cup.
5. Pour a scant 1/4 cup custard into each espresso cup. Place pan with cups on center oven rack; carefully pour enough hot water into pan so it reaches halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are set in center, about 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer custards to a cooling rack; cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 1 hour. Makes 10 servings.

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