David is hosting this month’s Sugar High Friday and the theme is CHOCOLATE!!! Thanks to him, I finally got to try a recipe that I tagged as a “must try” a couple of weeks ago from the book “The Sweet Life – Desserts from Chanterelle” by Kate Zuckerman. This dessert combines two of my most favorite ingredients: Chocolate and caramel.
When it comes to chocolate desserts, I try to use the highest quality of chocolate I can find. When my pantry runs out of chocolate I bring from overseas trips, the highest quality of chocolate available to me within the borders of Turkey is Lindt 70%. And the funny thing is, over the years I have observed that people favor the desserts I prepare with Nestle’s bittersweet chocolate much more than the ones prepared with Lindt, which has a higher percentage of cocoa solids.
This time around, I used the chocolate my friends brought from Belgium: Cote d’Or Culinaire (54%). My original order was Valrhona, but thanks to the New Year, all the shops in Paris were closed the morning after and my friends picked this one up from their second stop in Europe.
Back to the dessert… Chocolate Pot by Jamie Oliver is one of those recipes I frequently turn to when I have very little time left to prepare for a dinner party. It is a simple and delicious dessert, and so rich that even a spoonful is enough for any chocoholic.
Zuckerman’s version is much more sophisticated. This is the best combination of chocolate and caramel I have tasted so far. By the way, her book is amazing. Almost every recipe is accompanied by wonderful photographs, which is always appreciated because I like to visualize before baking. She also explains quite a number of techniques in depth. The guidelines for ice cream and sorbet was very educational for me. Definitely one of my best buys in 2006.
Once again, I thank David for choosing such a beloved ingredient as the theme for SHF. Because this also means that I will get to read/discover/salivate over numerous other chocolate desserts on Friday!
Chocolate Caramel Pot de Creme
recipe from the book ” The Sweet Life – Desserts from Chanterelle” by Kate Zuckerman
For eight 4-ounce pots of cream
- 1 cup sugar
- Pinch of cream tartar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup plus 3 tbsp whole milk
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (66 to 70 percent cocoa solids)
- 7 egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 325F (170C).
- Make the caramel cream: In a heavy-bottomed medium-sized saucepan combine the sugar, cream of tartar and 1/4 cup water. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. After 1 minute of rapid boiling uncover the pan. Cook until the sugar caramelizes and turns a light golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat (the sugar will continue to cook). When the caramel is a deep golden brown, stand back and carefully add the cream. The caramel will erupt with bubbles and steam. Place the pan back on the stove over medium heat and whisk until the caramel is completely dissolved and smooth. Add the milk and continue cooking for one minute. Set the caramel cream aside.
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the bowl of a bain-marie, stirring occasionaly with a rubber spatula. Once the chocolate is melted, remove from heat. In a metal bowl, vigorously whisk the egg yolks and salt until they lighten in color a bit, 1 minute. Slowly, 1 cup at a time, add the caramel cream to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Then slowly whisk the caramel and egg mixture, one ladle at a time, into the bowl with the melted chocolate. After each addition of the caramel and egg mixture, the chocolate should appear shiny and hold the lines of a whisk. After adding about half of the caramel cream, the chocolate custard will become thinner, like hot chocolate. You can bake the chocolate and caramel custard immediately or chill it over an ice bath and refrigerate it for up to 2 days.
- Place the ramekins in a baking dish, fill with custard 4/5 of the way up the inside of the mold, add water to the baking dish to reach 2/3 of the way up the outside of the ramekins. Cover the baking dish with a cookie tray or aluminum foil (punch a few air holes to prevent steaming and overcooking).
- Gently place in the oven and bake until the custards are set and have a uniform jiggle, 40 to 45 minutes (if custards are chilled, bake for 60-70 minutes instead). Allow to cool uncovered. Remove from water bath, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
- The custards should be served in the ramekins slighlty chilled. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving. The custards will keep, refrigerated, for 5 days.