I have become very
fond of these Chocolate Pots de
Crème. On the one hand their velvety smooth texture and deep chocolate flavor
remind me of a chocolate pudding. Yet their wonderful light and airy texture
makes me think more of a chocolate
mousse. What I will say is that they are hard to resist and I often find myself
sneaking a spoonful or two during the day when a chocolate craving hits. Chocolate Pots de Crème make a perfect "do
ahead" dessert, as they can be made and refrigerated for up to five days. I
really don't think they need an accompaniment, but you could serve them with whipped
cream or crème fraiche, with maybe a crisp shortbread cookie on the side.
Chocolate Pots de Crème
means "chocolate pots of cream" and is pronounced "Poh - duh -
krem". This lovely dessert is so named because they were originally made
in small individual pots, each with its' own lid. The advantage of the lid
was to prevent a skin from forming on the top of the chocolate cream as it
Even though you may not be able to find these special little pots, you can
still make this recipe by using small heatproof ramekins or bowls covered
with a piece of aluminum foil. Now, some recipes tell you to make the Chocolate Pots de Crème on the stovetop as you would a
chocolate pudding. But my preference is to bake them in the traditional
way, in the oven, in a water bath (bain marie). The water bath provides an
gentle even heat that prevents the eggs from curdling. And the moisture
gives these chocolate creams their light and airy texture, that is similar
to a mousse. Bake them just
until they are set, yet the centers are still a little wobbly. Let them
cool completely (at least an hour) before covering and placing in the
refrigerator, as this will prevent condensation (droplets of water) from
forming on the tops of the puddings. I prefer to chill the Chocolate Pots
de Crème in the refrigerator overnight before serving, as I find this
allows the chocolate flavor to soften and to blend with the other flavors.
A few notes on
ingredients. Chocolate is what gives these
Pots de Crème their great flavor, so choose your chocolate wisely. I
prefer a good semi sweet chocolate with a percentage of between 58 and
60%. However, you could use up to a 70% bittersweet chocolate. I have also
added a little instant espresso powder (or instant coffee powder) as I
find it highlights and adds depth to the chocolate flavor. However you can
leave it out.
Chocolate Pots de Crème:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and have the oven rack in the center of
Place 4 - 1/2 cup (120 ml) ovenproof
dishes or ramekins in a large shallow pan.
In a saucepan, over medium
heat, bring the cream,
milk, coffee powder, and chocolate
just to a simmer (the cream just begins to bubble around the edges).
Meanwhile in a
heatproof bowl beat the egg, egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale (about
1-2 minutes). (You can do this with a wire whisk or hand
mixer.) Gradually pour the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture,
making sure you keep whisking constantly so the eggs don't curdle. Stir
in the vanilla extract.
Pour the mixture back
into your saucepan, and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or
heatproof spatula, heat the mixture just until hot to the touch. Strain
into a large measuring cup or pitcher and then evenly pour the cream
into the ramekins.
water bath (bain marie) by
carefully pouring enough boiling water so that the water comes about halfway up the sides
of the ramekins. Cover with a large piece of aluminum foil, cutting a few slits
in the foil to allow the steam to escape. Bake for about 30 - 40 minutes (baking time can vary depending on
size of ramekins and temperature of water) or just until the
Chocolate Pots de Crème
are set (they will still wobble a bit in the center).
the Chocolate Pots
de Crème from the
water bath and cool to room temperature on a wire rack (about one hour). Cover
and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight, or until cold and
firm. Can be served with whipped cream. At this point they can be stored (covered) in the refrigerator for
about 5 days. (This recipe can be doubled.)
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