I haven’t had the baking bug in quite awhile. I could bore you with all of my reasons and excuses, but instead, I’ll bribe you with chocolate!
The making of these tiny pots of chocolate cream was precipitated by my waking up with a sudden determination to bake something, but this elusive “something” needed to meet several criteria.
The baked good needed to be something that Handsome and I could consume in a short amount of time, with a relatively low level of calorie-guilt. It needed to be something simple– no recipes calling for chilling overnight, or blanching the almonds before toasting, peeling, and re-toasting them, all in the service of eventually candying them as a garnish. I needed something simple, straightforward, and with a tad of elegance.
Enter my mother’s Betty Crocker Cookbook. Amid the recipes for Cherries Jubilee and Grasshopper Brownies was sandwiched a recipe for pot de crème. (Spoiler alert: this is not that recipe.) Flipping through this cookbook was enlightening; Betty takes a lot of shortcuts compared with the all-organic, gluten-free, free-range, Atkins-friendly bloggers of today (all of whom I love dearly and worship faithfully, btw). Betty is all about the pudding packet and the canned pie filling. As I giggled at the subversiveness of using shortening in a pie crust and canned pears for a special company-quality dessert, I remembered a recent post from The Kitchn about using a packet of Jell-O to flavor frosting. The cake they use to demonstrate this technique is every eight-year-old girl’s fantasy. The final product is covered in sprinkles, candles, candies, and glitter.
My pot de crème is not that. But the recipe comes from the fine bloggers at The Kitchn, who lately have won my heart and are my new favorites. Their recipe is simple, easy to follow, and has five ingredients. A quick Google search also informed me that I didn’t need fancy ramekins to make pot de crème; I wound up using four white ramekins and two small IKEA juice glasses. My eggs are free range, but my chocolate sure ain’t Scharffen Berger. And my heavy cream is definitely the store brand. This fancy, intimidating, French-so-it-must-be-impossible recipe came together in about ten minutes with so little effort, it may as well have been the pudding packet.
*Note: I have no photos for this post, because I ate all six little pots of goodness before I could photograph them in daylight. You’ll just have to imagine how beautiful they were.
Chocolate Whiskey Pots de Crème
Adapted from The Kitchn
Makes 6 servings
You will need:
2 c. heavy cream
5 oz. dark or bittersweet chocolate
1/4 c. honey
4 egg yolks
3 tbsp. whiskey (don’t use a smoky variety)
Preheat the oven to 300, and bring 4 cups of water to a simmer in a small pot. Set out six ramekins in a 13×9 cake pan.
Bring the heavy cream to a simmer over medium heat.
Meanwhile, chop the chocolate into tiny pieces. (Note: 5 ounces of chocolate is a weird amount, as bars are 4 ounces. I used one bar and added about a tablespoon of chocolate chips I had on hand. It was fine.)
Combine the eggs, honey, and whiskey in another bowl and whisk about two minutes, or until it starts to thicken.
When the cream starts to simmer, remove it from the heat and stir in the chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted.
Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture slowly, whisking constantly to bring the eggs up to the temperature of the chocolate without cooking them. Once the mixture is fully combined, divide among six ramekins (or juice glasses, or small jelly jars, or pretty coffee mugs). Pour the water into the baking pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake 30-40 minutes, and remove from oven while center still jiggles a little.
Cool at room temperature at least one hour before serving. Store in fridge up to four days.
*Note: when I let them cool for an hour, the texture was very loose, like pudding. (Not that anyone minded.) I chilled the others overnight, and the texture set properly for a much firmer dessert. Do what makes you happy. They taste delicious right out of the fridge, though!