When I think of the ultimate sensuous desserts, chocolate pot de creme just about tops my list. Rich and supple, the chocolate-laden custard envelops your mouth in a way that a chocolate cake just can't.
It's also not just another chocolate pudding. And here's my decidedly unsexy explanation: though similar in flavor and texture to a pudding, a pot de creme is technically a different beast. Both are custards, so it all comes down to the thickener and the method used to set the custard. A pudding is classified as a "stirred" custard and thickened with a starch (generally cornstarch), while a pot de creme is baked and only relies on the eggs to gently set it.
Which do I prefer? As a die hard chocoholic I'm hard pressed to choose. Pudding has its creamy merits (and I do make puddings a heck more often than pot de cremes), but since a starch can tend to mask flavor, I'll have to go with a pot du creme for having the truest chocolate flavor. This time of year couldn't be a more perfect time to bake up a batch of these decadent little "pots". And by decadent, I mean decadent. With a blend of milk, heavy cream, and yolks, these dangerously potent pot de cremes do not mess around. And by swapping in a deep dark 70% bittersweet chocolate, these custards are decidedly more chocolate than sweet. Cuddle up under a blanket and slowly savor every spoonful.
- 8 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 6 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- Whipped cream for garnish, optional
- Chocolate shavings for garnish, optional
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 325°F. Place ramekins in large roasting pan. Place chocolate in large bowl. Heat milk, cream, and pinch salt in small saucepan over medium-high heat until it just comes to boil. Pour over chocolate and let sit 3 minutes. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted.
Whisk yolks and sugar in small bowl until completely combined. Whisk into chocolate mixture. Stir in vanilla.
Divide mixture between ramekins. Set pan onto oven rack and fill pan with hot water about halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake gently until puddings are barely set, about 30 minutes. Chill until set, about 4 hours. Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate shavings.
6 ounce ramekins