Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Chocolate Pots-de-Crème

Chocolate Pots-de-Crème is an easy, yet thoroughly elegant French dessert that only uses a few ingredients. You probably have all of them in your kitchen (and bar!) right now. If you're looking for something to impress your guests, this is it. (Just don't let on how ridiculously simple it is to make.)

The traditional way to serve Pot-de-Crème is with a Pot-de-Crème set--natch! It consists of a serving tray and six or so little ceramic pots with lids:


(There's a Dutch word that means something like "short, fat, cute thing": I wish I could remember it, because it's the perfect description for these little dudes.)


You don't have to use specialized china for this recipe. You can use teacups, espresso cups, shot glasses, juice glasses, or old-fashioned champagne coupes (the ones that are wider than they are tall).


To make the recipe, you scald half-and-half (also called light cream) on the stovetop. The cream is ready when there's a line of bubbles around the edges of the pan and a thin film has begun to form on top.


To incorporate the hot cream into the rest of the ingredients, you'll need either a standard-sized blender or an immersion blender.

The recipe can be made with chocolate chips or chopped chocolate. Use the best you can find, because the deliciousness of this recipe hangs a lot on the quality of the chocolate:


Along with the chocolate you'll use two egg yolks:


And some tasty booze. We like using Kahlúa or Bailey's Irish Cream (below):


You can also add a pinch of salt if you wish, but you don't have to. When all the ingredients except the cream are in the blender or bowl or large measuring cup (as you see here)...


...then pour the scalded cream into the other ingredients and either buzz until the racket stops (if using a blender) or use an immersion blender until everything is creamy-smooth:


Pour the mixture into the waiting cups (or shot glasses or teacups or whatever):


Chill for 3 hours, then serve:




Chocolate Pots-de-Crême
Serves 6-8
Note: not suitable for very young children or anyone with a compromised immune system (because of the eggs)


1-1/4 C. half-and-half
1 C. good-quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chopped-up chocolate)
2 egg yolks
a pinch of salt (optional)
3 Tbsp. rum, brandy, or Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur

In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half to scalding (a small line of bubbles forms around the edges of the saucepan). Into a standard-size blender, place the rest of the ingredients. Remove the scalded half-and-half from the stove and carefully pour it into the blender with the other ingredients. Cover and blend at high speed until the racket stops.

Pour into small espresso cups (or demitasse cups, small teacups, or heavy shot glasses). Chill for three hours or more before serving. Depending on the size of the cups, makes 6-8 servings.

Variation: Kahlúa Pots-de-Crème

Reduce the half-and-half from 1-1/4 C. to just 1 C. Increase the booze to 1/2 C. Kahlúa. Proceed with the recipe, above.

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