Monday, February 15, 2010

"Bread and Chocolate - My Food Life In & Around San Francisco" - Chocolate Pots de Creme

Date I made this recipe: February 14, 2010

Bread and Chocolate – My Food Life In & Around San Francisco by Fran Gage
Published by: Sasquatch Books
ISBN: 1-57061-153-X

Recipe: Chocolate Pots de Crème – p. 38

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I made a chocolate dessert. The end.

Okay, that seems a little sparse, doesn’t it? Let me rephrase: “Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I made a chocolate dessert. While watching the Olympics. The end.”

Much better!

Because I tend to find many contradictions in life amusing, the fact that I was preparing a decadent chocolate dessert while watching the end of the Nordic Competition (ski jumping—as if!—and cross country skiing) just cracked me up. (Even worse—I ate this dessert after consuming half of a take -out turkey dinner with all the fixings from one of our favorite restaurants while watching the new season of the TV show Ruby. Ruby [Geller] is this delightful southerner who once weighed over 700 pounds and now weighs around 330. The show chronicles her quest to lose weight. Not that Ruby knows me or anything but I felt kind of guilty eating all this rich food right in front of her (so to speak)). On the other hand, dark chocolate has been proven to be good for you and so I say when it’s Valentine’s Day, some chocolate, in moderation, is appropriate.

Now in my humble opinion, the author could have skipped the “bread” and focused on the chocolate portion of her book but hey, it’s her book and her story and so if she wants to include bread, so be it. Actually, this cookbook has little to do with either food group and instead offers us quite the selection of recipes with stories to boot. And this recipe was such a hit that I’d suggest making some other delectable goodies, sweet or savory, from this book.

But for now, let’s focus on the matter at hand: Valentine’s Day calls for chocolate and this pot of chocolate is a winner. It is easy, it is delicious and it makes a lot! How can that be bad?

Chocolate Pots de Crème – serves 8
Note: the author describes this dish as a “thick, creamy custard that is very smooth” but I felt the texture was more like a mousse than a custard. And this is why you must make it and judge for yourself!
Eight 6-ounce ramekins
2 cups (16 ounces) whole milk
2 cups (16 ounces) heavy whipping cream
½ cup (3 ½ ounces) granulated sugar
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, such as Scharffen Berger or Valrhona, finely chopped. (Note: I found both of these but they are rather expensive – almost $4.00 for 3 ounces. So I substituted Ghirardelli bittersweet morsels instead; I think a 10-ounce package (how did they know?!) cost around $6.00 or so. I then ground them in my Cuisinart so that they were finely chopped)
8 extra-large egg yolks
2 extra-large eggs

Preheat the oven to 325F. Bring the milk, cream and sugar to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted. Cook to lukewarm.

In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks and eggs together. Whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture. Pour it through a sieve into a pitcher and divide among eight 6-ounce ramekins.

Make a bain-marie: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the filled ramekins in a large baking pan. Pour boiling water into the pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil. Bake until the custards are just set, 50 to 60 minutes. They will still jiggle in the center. Remove the ramekins from the bain-marie, let them cool, then refrigerate them until serving.

Serve the custards with a dusting of powdered sugar or with a dollop of whipped cream.

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