Chocolate Pots de Crème
There is a small blizzard going on right now, and I have the privilege to watch it while sitting at my desk and peering out my window. I LOVE the snow. It’s even nicer knowing that I don’t have to go out in it today (although I really should be shoveling the driveway…). Our furnace, however, is kaputz. We realized it yesterday when we woke up to the coldest Sunday morning to date. Luckily we spend all Sunday singing for money, so we set up a space heater in the bedroom and left for the day. Today I’m sitting right by that space heater and watching the snowplows drive by while I wait for the repair man.
I really wish the repair man would come now. I’m pretty comfortable, but I wish I was eating one of these beauties I cooked up on Friday, and right now the kitchen is just too cold…
These pots de creme are incredible. We have been rehearsing all week for a recording with our choir and I made these as a little reward for us. And boy were they a reward. So let me tell you about them.
I’ve never had pots de creme before I tasted this recipe. My good friend Arwen made them a year ago for her birthday dinner. She was really upset because she didn’t think they turned out quite right. But I was obsessed and demanded the recipe. Turns out she got it from Vegetarian Times, and it’s low-cal desert. Which you would’t know if I hadn’t just told you.
I made it up several times when I lived by myself in Bloomington. I would divide the mixture into 4 Pyrex custard cups (which come with handy lids) and keep them in my fridge for eating whenever I felt lonely (which was a lot). And to be honest, most of the time they turned out really poorly. The taste was always great, but sometimes it wouldn’t set right, and sometimes a weird waxy glaze would develop over the tops… But when I pulled out the recipe last week, everything went fine. I think the key is to keep the eggs at room temperature. I they’re too cold, they won’t integrate into the custard well-enough.
If we’re going off of the recipe this time around, I would describe these little custards as a cross between a chocolate mousse and a chocolate cheesecake (without the cheese…or crust…but you know). Frank, who loves them more than he loves me, just calls them “pudding” (which I tried to fight, but it’s a losing battle). They’re very easy to cook up (as far as custards go) and will keep in the fridge for a few days, but it will take restraint to keep them there even for a few hours.
Please get here, repair man. I would love some “pudding” right about now.
Chocolate Pots doe Creme
(taken from Vegetarian Times, November 2009)
1 egg (room temp)
1 egg yolk (room temp)
2 tbsp sugar
1 5 ounce can of low-fat or fat-free evaporated milk
1/3 cup low-fat or skim milk
2 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate/ or 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)*
pinch of salt
whipped cream for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 300. Gather up 4-6 ramekins** and place them in a large roasting pan.
Whist together the egg, yolk, and sugar in a largish bowl and set aside.
Heat the evaporated milk with the rest of the milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. WATCH THIS because it goes from “boil” to “OMG THERE ARE MILK BUBBLES ALL OVER THE KITCHEN! RUN!” very quickly. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Return to the stove and heat just long enough for the chocolate to melt, which should be less than a minute, stirring carefully so as not to burn anything.
Take the pot off the heat again, and this time whisk about a half cup of the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Once it is well-incorporated, add the rest in a steady stream, whisk-whisk-whisking away. Add the vanilla, salt, and nutmeg (if you are using).
Pour the custard into the ramekins, and then pour boiling water in the roasting pan to set the custards in a little water bath. Bake the custards for 25 to 30 minutes. Baking time really depends on when the custards set, and what your preference is. I usually leave the custards in there a little too long so ultimately they set up a little harder. But whatever. Remove the custard cups from the water bath. (DON’T USE TONGS. This come from personal experience–I ruined many of these by accidentally dropping the custard cup from the tongs, and so forth. Everything you can imagine. Just use an oven mitt) Chill the custards for a few hours, then serve with fresh whipped cream.
*I did not like nutmeg in this. Maybe I’m just a chocolate puritan. I always add it , but I’m just not so sure you need it…
**I always divide the batter among four ramekins, but the recipe says six. But wouldn’t you want to have MORE chocolate cream per serving? That’s how I feel, too.