Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pas Pots De Crème

Pas Pots de creme 009

Sigh. Heavy, heavy sigh. I’ve mentioned before that I have my I Love Lucy moments in the kitchen. They’re usually of the “hey, I can fix this and make it okay” variety, but sometimes they lead to great dissatisfaction and disappointment.
I’ve been coveting this recipe since January when I received my Martha Stewart February Valentine issue. I’ve had the expensive dark chocolate in the freezer for two months, somehow managing to ignore its presence every time I required a sweet, saving and hoarding it until I could try this recipe.
The thing I loved about this recipe is that the only sugar involved was that found in the chocolate bars themselves. I had even been dreaming up the subtle variation I could make to the recipe to make it taste more like Jacques Torres Wicked chocolate – the ingenious addition of cinnamon and pepper flakes, making it a little spicy, and bringing out the depth of flavor of the dark chocolate.

Wonderful intentions, all.

I’m sure every person who tries a new recipe makes mistakes. Even the kind I made. I bet even Ina Garten has made this kind of mistake, and just started over! But I realized my mistake too late, and decided to pout instead, and stubbornly move on to other things. Mainly TV watching.

Pas Pots de creme 015

I think the lesson here is to read the entire recipe through a FEW times before beginning. Maybe even just before measuring. That way, when you have poured the chocolate mixture into the serving dishes and are putting them in the oven, and you look back and realize that you poured the entire amount of cream (3 ½ cups) into the mixture, rather than reserving one cup for a whipped cream topping, you won't cry.

And as pretty as these look, they are mostly inedible. Imagine a delicious chocolate truffle, but a bowl sized portion rather than bite-sized. I have managed to find a creative use for my 6 portions of Pas Pots de Crème, but melting a spoonful in the microwave and pouring it over ice cream just doesn’t have the same enjoyment factor as a successfully tackled recipe.

Spiced Pots de Crème

6 ounces best quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 1/2 cups heavy cream (reserve one cup for whipped cream)
6 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 teaspoon pepper flakes

Boiling water for pan

1. Preheat oven to 325. Put chopped/shredded chocolate, cinnamon and pepper flakes into a medium bowl. Bring 2 1/2 cups cream (remember to reserve one cup) to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour over chocolate in bowl. Let stand 5 minutes, and then stir until smooth.
2. Whisk together egg yolks, vanilla, and salt in large bowl. Pour chocolate mixture through a fine sieve into the egg mixture. Whisk all ingredients together.
3. Place 6-6 ounce oven proof cups or ramekins into a roasting pan. Pour chocolate mixture into cups dividing evenly. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan so it comes halfway up sides of cups. Cover pan with foil. Cook until custards are barely set, about 2 minutes.
4. Transfer cups to a wire rack, and let cool slightly. Cover each cup with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour (up to overnight).
5. Beat the remaining cup cream until stiff peaks form. Spoon a dollop over each Pot de Crème before serving.

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