This weekend I had company, so I wanted to offer up a dessert after the Chicken Sofrito.
I went with another offering of our magazine of the month, which isn’t really for this month it’s for next month but as I said yesterday no publication in January really appeased me so we’re going with February Food and Wine since it looks really amazing and I think I may need more than a month to get through everything in there that I want to try anyway. Capiche?
At any rate, there’s a section in the Feb. Food & Wine for milk chocolate desserts. The very first one on the list was for a pots de crème. Truth be told, I had never made one before. I like pudding, and pots de crème looked similar. I really didn’t know the difference, so I went to work.
So what’s a pots de crème?
According to Dorie Greenspan:
Chocolate pudding and chocolate pots de crème are often thought of as culinary siblings when they’re really more like cousins from opposite sides of the family. The big difference between them is how they’re cooked: the pudding is stirred on top of the stove and gets its thickening from cornstarch, while the pots de crème are baked and depend entirely on eggs and heat to set them. And, although the cremes seem lighter than pudding, they are actually considerably richer. What both desserts deliver is comfort, even if pudding is homey and pots de crème elegant enough to serve at a dress up dinner.
– Dorie Greenspan, Baking from My Home to Yours
The funny thing about the F&W recipe I worked with does not bake the pots de crème. The custard is heated on top of a stove, but not baked. After the yolks are added, the mixture is poured into a blender and pureed until incredibly smooth.
Milk-Chocolate Pots de Crème
Courtesy of Food & Wine Magazine
10 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks
Crème fraîche and chocolate shavings, for garnish
The instructions are fairly straightforward:
In a large heatproof bowl, combine the milk and bittersweet chocolates.
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, heavy cream and sugar to a boil, whisking constantly until the sugar is dissolved. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Gradually whisk in half of the hot cream. Whisk the egg-and-cream mixture into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the custard coats the back of the spoon, about 4 minutes. Pour the custard over the chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until very smooth, about 1 minute. Pour the mixture into eight 4-ounce ramekins and refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours.
Let the pots de crème stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Garnish with crème fraîche and chocolate shavings; serve.
I really didn’t get “action shots” of this in progress, because the transitions are all really fast and, let’s be honest, you know what chicken egg yolks look like when they’re whisked together. If they aren’t, then you’re probably a moron who could stand to read a book. With pictures. I mean, come on. Seriously.
I didn’t give this two hours to chill, but it still set somewhat nicely. The end result was an ultra-rich, very thick and incredibly creamy dessert that I will make again. The difference I thought between this and a generic American pudding is that this was much more dense, and the amount of chocolate in this almost sent me into sugar shock. I did fill up my 4-ounce ramekins all the way, and did not dollop with anything on top. This was, undoubtedly, my problem with this dessert, as I gave my palette nothing to soften the ultra-rich, incredibly focused chocolate taste. Next time I will not fill the ramekins up all the way and I will add a dollop of something on top.
Overall, I was very surprised – in a good way. This dessert took very little time to prepare and the results were quite refined. I would definitely recommend this.
Here’s a shot of my (blurry) pots de crème, after I snuck a little spoonful. 🙂