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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chocolate Pots de Creme


Chocolate Pots de Creme

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated Magazine 
Serves 8

From the magazine: "We prefer pots de creme made with 60 percent cocoa bittersweet chocolate (our favorite brands are Ghirardelli, Callebaut, Valrhona, and El Rey), but 70 percent bittersweet chocolate can also be used. If using a 70 percent bittersweet chocolate (we like Lindt, El Rey, and Valrhona), reduce the amount of chocolate to 8 ounces. A tablespoon of strong brewed coffee may be substituted for the instant espresso and water. Covered tightly with plastic wrap, the pots de creme will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, but the whipped cream must be made just before serving."

Pots de Crème:

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (see note above), chopped fine
5 large egg yolks
5 T sugar
1/4 teas table salt
1 1/2 c heavy cream
3/4 c half-and-half
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 teas instant espresso powder mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Whipped Cream:

1/2 c heavy cream (cold)
2 teas sugar
1/2 teas vanilla extract
Garnish (optional)

Cocoa powder for dusting
Chocolate shavings for sprinkling

For the pots de creme:

Place chocolate in medium heatproof bowl; set fine-mesh strainer over bowl and set aside. Whisk yolks, sugar in a medium saucepan (make sure you whisk carefully so nothing escapes into the pan's corners). Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spatula until thickened and silky, 8 to 12 minutes.. The custard should register 175 to 180 degrees on instant-read thermometer. (If you don't have a thermometer, you can test the custard by determining if it coats the back of a spoon: Stir custard with a spoon, pull it out and turn it over. Make a line with your finger. If the mixture is thin and not quite ready, the line will not hold. If the custard has thickened correctly, the line will hold and have neat edges.) Do not let custard overcook or simmer or it will likely curdle and you'll have sweet scrambled eggs.

Immediately pour custard through strainer over chocolate. Let mixture stand to melt chocolate, about 5 minutes. Whisk gently until smooth, then whisk in vanilla and espresso. Divide mixture evenly among eight 5-ounce ramekins. Gently tap ramekins against counter to remove air bubbles. (This is so rich I may purchase some smaller ramekins.)

Cool pots de crème to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 72 hours. Before serving, let pots de crème stand at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes.

For the whipped cream:

Using hand mixer, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds longer. Increase speed to high; continue beating until nearly doubled in volume and whipped cream forms soft peaks, 30 to 45 seconds longer. (Cream can also be whipped with an egg beater or by hand with a whisk--both more work but if you don't have a hand mixer you can do it--don't use cream substitute.)

Dollop each pot de crème with about 2 tablespoons whipped cream; garnish with cocoa or chocolate shavings, if using. Serve.

Note from Colette: This may be one of the times you should use Callebaut. I tried the recipe with Trader Joe's Pound Plus chocolate which they claim is produced in Belgium, but I found it to be a bit grainy for this application.

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