Monday, March 24, 2014

Chocolate Pots de Creme

I am not a baker, I heartily admit. I am a cook, and love throwing new dishes together in the kitchen. But when it comes to baking, I don't quite have the patience to follow a precise recipe. But every cook needs a few desserts in her repertoire, and I'm happy to say that I have found one that I love to make- chocolate pot de crème. It's an amazingly rich chocolate mousse topped with homemade whipped cream. It is creamy and decadent and satisfies every chocolate craving you've ever had. Best of all, it is easy to make and is best made a day ahead of time, leaving me with all my of energy when I'm hosting or catering a dinner party to prepare the meal, not the dessert!

Chocolate Pots De Crème
A sinfully rich and simple dessert to wow your dinner party!
Serves 8

10 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
5 large egg yolk
5 T sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder mixed with 1 T water (or 1 T espresso or strong coffee)

Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream (cold)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Garnish (optional)
Cocoa powder for dusting
Chocolate shavings
Chopped toffee

For the pots de crème: Place chocolate in medium heatproof bowl; set fine-mesh strainer over bowl and set aside.

Whisk yolks, sugar, and salt in medium bowl until combined; whisk in heavy cream and half-and-half. Transfer mixture to medium saucepan. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon, until thickened and silky and custard registers 175 to 180 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 8-12 minutes. Do not let custard simmer or overcook.

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-oz ramekins. Gently tap ramekins against counter to remove air bubbles.

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

For the whipped cream: using a hand mixer or standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, 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, 30-45 seconds longer.

Dollop each pot de crème with about 2 T whipped cream. Garnish with cocoa, chocolate, or toffee, and serve.

Recipe by Cook's Illustrated

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