Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it is finally my time to pick a recipe! I have been baking with the group since almost the beginning, but I didn’t have a blog for the first couple years. You see, my good friend Caitlin of Engineer Baker introduced me to the group when she first started in it, and if you look at the member list, she is one of the originals. When I first met Caitlin, my baking repertoire pretty much consisted of chocolate chip cookies and boxed cake/brownie mixes. Now I’ve baked over 150 of the recipes from Dorie’s cookbook! Wow…it’s hard to believe how far I’ve come. I’m no longer scared of pies and I can actually make pie dough from scratch. Something I had never done finding this group. Caitlin and this group have really helped me overcome my fear of modifying recipes and of messing up. I’ve learned that not every recipe turns out as expected, some for the better and some for the worse.
Now onto the recipe I have chosen for the week, Chocolate Pots de Creme. When I originally calculated when I was going to pick my recipe for the week it looked like it was going to be in late spring or early summer. Then I was planning on picking one of my stand-by recipes, the Strawberry-Rhubarb Double Crisp. With this being late winter/early spring though and so good strawberries and rhubarb are harder to find for us living in the north, I had to change my mind. For the past few years I have been playing around with different recipes for chocolate creme brulee. Two years ago, my husband took me out to a nice dinner for my birthday at one of my favorite restaurants, the Water City Grille. The restaurant’s dessert special that evening was chocolate creme brulee. I had never had that, so I ordered it and it was amazing. A week later, the restaurant closed it’s doors in anticipation of losing a lot of its patrons when the theater next by also closed its doors. It was a very sad day for me and that then set me on my quest for a recipe for chocolate creme brulee. I’ve come across quite a few recipes, most of which though are rather strange and include things like corn starch or chocolate syrup. These did not make the cut. I did eventually develop my own recipe after modifying Dorie’s regular creme brulee recipe. It’s good, but it doesn’t always come out as it should. So, I’ve been meaning to try this recipe and seeing how it compares to creme brulee.
This recipe has all the same ingredients and techniques used when making creme brulee, except that you do not carmelize sugar on top (we’ll discuss this later). The recipe comes together very easily and I did not have any trouble. The pots de creme came out beautiful and creamy. They taste deceptively light, although after eating one ramekin one feels rather full. It is hard to put your spoon down after one bite. I also decided to carmelize some sugar on the top of some of them and make them into a creme brulee style dessert. They were delicious. I think I am going to throw my long sought after recipe for chocolate creme brulee out the window and just make these next time. They seem so sophisticated, but they are so simple. I really hope that you do try them. The recipe is below if you so desire.
Chocolate Pots de Creme (from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my home to yours, pg. 390-391)
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 large egg
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300degrees F. Line a large roasting pan with a double thickness of paper towels, then put eight 4-oz custard cups, ramekins, espresso or pot de creme cups in the pan. Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat.
Put the chopped chocolate in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or a large heat-proof bowl. Bring 1/2 cup of heavy cream to a boil. When the cream is just at a boil, pour it over the chocolate and wait for 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula and starting in the center of the bowl, gently stir the cream and chocolate in ever-widening concentric circles until the ganache is smooth; set aside.
Stir the remaining 1 cup cream and the milk together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a large glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk the egg, yolks, sugar and salt together until pale and slightly thickened. Still whisking, drizzle in a little of the hot liquid – this will temper, or warm, th eggs so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remaining liquid. Finally, slowly whisk the egg mixture into the ganache, stirring gently to incorporate.
With a spoon, skim the foam off the top of the custard, then pour the custard into the cups. Pour enough hot water from the teakettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Cover the top of the pan snugly with plastic wrap, poke two holes in two opposite corners and very carefully and steadily slide the setup in the oven. (Personal note: the plastic wrap melted in the oven for me, so cover with something more heat proof like a lid or foil.)
Bake the custards for 35-40minutes, or until the tops darken and the custards jiggle a little only in the center when tapped or lightly shaken. Gingerly remove the roasting pan from the oven and place it on a cooking rack. Allow the custards to rest in their warm bath for 10 minutes, then peel off the plastic wrap and transfer the cups from the water (careful – they’re still hot) to a cooling rack. Refrigerate when they reach room temperature. When the pots de creme are cool, cover them tightly with plastic wrap or their little lids.
(Personal note: When serving time came, I carmelized a little sugar on the top of them in the same fashion as creme brulee.)
And finally, this post wouldn’t be complete without a cat update. This past week my husband and I decided it was time to try to figure out the car seat. So, when Rosie wasn’t expecting it we grabbed her and quickly put her in it. Here’s a picture of it before she realized what had happened. I think we can handle getting a baby in the seat if we can handle a cat.