Chocolate Pots de Crème

Sometimes you need something rich and decadent. This is one of those things. Chocolate pots de crème, accented by a coffee flavor (if you want). And this is a no-bake recipe. Great for warm weather (which we have here in South Africa at the moment – Northern Hemisphere folks, sorry about the snow and stuff).

 
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Makes three portions, if using 3 oz. ramekins

Ingredients:

3 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 c. (8 fl. oz.) heavy cream
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. instant coffee (optional)
a pinch of salt
1 large egg yolk

Notes:
I ended up using 9 fl. oz. of cream because that’s what I had left and who wants to leave just a smidge of cream behind in the container? This recipe is pretty forgiving in that sense – if you’re over/under an ingredient, don’t sweat it too much. It’s cool. It’ll all work out in the end.

I love the coffee + chocolate combo, but realize that it may not be everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee?). Leave it out if you want. Maybe throw in a splash of vanilla. I bet you could also put in some orange zest if you wanted to!

If you use a sweeter chocolate, like semi-sweet, I think you could forego the tablespoon of sugar altogether. Your call.

How to:

Finely chop up the chocolate and put it into a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream with the sugar, instant coffee, cocoa powder, and salt over low heat – don’t let it simmer. Just let it heat up until you see wisps of steam. Beat the egg yolk in a small bowl, and pour a bit of the heated cream in while stirring. Once the yolk and cream are incorporated, pour this back into the saucepan with the rest of the cream and stir well over low heat. (Pouring the cream into the egg gives the yolk a chance to warm up, and prevents it from scrambling/curdling.)
Let the cream mixture heat back up until it thickens up just a bit – but again, don’t let it start to simmer!

Now, pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate. (If you got distracted and let the cream come to a simmer, use a fine-meshed sieve to catch any curdled or thickened bits as you pour the cream onto the chocolate.) Let it sit for a minute, and then take a spatula and gently start folding the chocolate and cream together. The heat from the cream should easily melt the small bits of chocolate.

*** Most recipes call for the cream and chocolate to be blitzed together in a blender. It probably helps the ingredients incorporate a little better and gives it a slightly airier texture…but my blender is super loud and I don’t like cleaning it. This mixing method works fine for me, but feel free to go the blender route if you want! ***

Once everything is fully mixed, pour into small ramekins (or coffee cups or whatever vessels out of which you’d like to eat this chocolate decadence). Lay down a dish cloth on the counter and gently tap the bottoms of the ramekins on the counter top to get rid of any air bubbles. Wrap the tops of the ramekins tightly with plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Patience. Patience.

Once the little pots de creme have chilled and set, grab a spoon and dig in. This is a rich, luxurious dessert. This is not diet food. It is cream and chocolate and silky, smooth, and decadent. Don’t feel bad about it – this is why we’re putting them in little ramekins. Portion control. I used three 3 oz. Le Creuset ramekins, but have also used small coffee cups.

Treat yourself. It’s almost Valentine’s Day.

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