Traditionally, pots de creme are very rich custards. This
is a luxurious chocolate version, best eaten after a light
meal. These will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator
after they are made, but they do not freeze. Natural accompaniments
are lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh raspberries
or strawberries; the whipped cream really is important
here, as it helps to cut through the richness of the dessert.
You'll need six "pots de creme" cups; mine are actually
miniature souffle dishes. They are made of white porcelain,
and each measures 3-1/2" top diameter and 1-3/4" in height,
with a capacity of just under 2/3 cup. You'll also need
a baking pan into which all six cups can fit without touching
each other or the pan sides; it must be at least 1" deep.
I use a 13" by 9" by 2" baking pan. If your pan is aluminum,
sprinkle a bit of cream of tartar into the bottom before
adding the water to prevent discoloration.
unsweetened chocolate, chopped
semisweet chocolate, chopped
light cream, divided
firmly packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. coffee OR orange liqueur
yolks, from eggs graded "large", beaten lightly just
- Lightly sweetened whipped
- Fresh strawberries or
rack to center position; preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Have ready six pots de creme or other white porcelain cups,
each of just under 2/3 cup capacity. Have ready a baking
pan at least 1" deep in which all six cups can fit without
touching the sides of the pan or each other. Have ready
enough hot water to cover the baking pan to a depth of 3/4"
and a ruler that can stand very hot water (briefly). Set
In small heatproof
bowl, place chopped chocolates. Heat heavy cream in small
saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until very
hot. Add about 2/3 of hot heavy cream to chopped chocolates.
Place bowl of chocolates over simmering water on low heat
(water should not touch bottom of bowl). Whisk often until
melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat and hot water.
Gradually whisk in remaining cream. Let cool at least 10
In medium bowl,
combine about 1/3 of light cream (reserve remainder), sugar,
optional liqueur, vanilla, and salt. Stir gently with large
spoon to mix well, pressing out any lumps of brown sugar.
Do not whisk or beat this mixture; you don't want a lot
of air in it. Add beaten egg yolks; again, stir gently to
mix. Stir in the chocolate mixture, which may still be slightly
warm. Heat the reserved light cream over low heat in a small
saucepan, stirring often, until very hot. Very gradually,
add the hot light cream to the chocolate-yolk mixture, stirring
gently but constantly. When all ingredients are incorporated,
strain mixture through a fine strainer into pitcher or liquid
measuring cup of at least three-cup capacity.
as evenly as possible among the six pots de creme cups,
which will be quite full. Now, place large baking pan onto
oven rack; add enough very hot water to cover the bottom
of the pan. Working quickly but carefully, place five of
the six filled pots de creme cups into the pan (make one
row of three and one row of two, leaving a space for the
last cup in the row of two). Remember, the cups must not
touch the sides of the baking pan or one another. Now, measure
the depth of the water; it should be between 1/2" and 3/4"
deep (too much water will slow baking time). Adjust water
depth as necessary; if you must add or remove water, be
very careful not to get any in the custards. When the water
depth is right, add last filled cup to the pan. Carefully
slide the oven rack in and close the door.
Bake 32 to
40 minutes. Tops of custards will appear dark and shiny,
and centers will quiver when cups are tapped lightly. Do
not overbake. Gently remove pan from oven. Remove individual
cups from pan (I find a slotted pancake turner helpful for
this, but BE CAREFUL-- the filled cups are hot and their
sides can be slippery). Cool briefly, then chill at least
4 hours before serving, covering tightly when cold. Serve
with lightly sweetened whipped cream and strawberries or
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