Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chocolate Pots de Creme

Is it just me or does it feel like Christmas is going to be upon us any minute now?

Somehow, Mr. Pixie Crust and I are booked every weekend in December. Last night was our first Holiday event- an indie music concert sponsored by KCRW (NPR). Adult concerts are fun! The show was at a beautiful old theater in downtown LA, which was a vast contrast to the small ska/indie concerts I frequented during adolescence- small, divey clubs packed with jumping, moshing and sweaty teenagers. It was truly fantastic to have a cushioned seat and no one stepping on my feet or pushing me into the tangled arms and feet of a mosh pit.

I'm sure there are holiday parties on the horizon that you all are hosting or attending and for those occasions, chocolate pots de creme make a rich and delicious dessert, yet are extremely simple to make. You can even make them 2 days before serving.

The garnish is simply a fresh mint leaf and a "pine cone" made out of sliced almonds stuck into a ball of fondant. For the pine cone, I highly recommend using marzipan instead, if possible, fondant was kind of a pain to use- I had to add a little water and shortening to each little ball to increase pliability. I like the addition of the garnish because it gives this dessert a wintery, yet elegant touch.

For the Chocolate Pots de Creme (from Epicurious)

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 325°F. Bring cream and milk just to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot chocolate mixture. Strain mixture into another bowl. Cool 10 minutes, skimming any foam from surface.

Divide custard mixture among six 3/4-cup custard cups or soufflé dishes. Cover each with foil. Place cups in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are set but centers still move slightly when gently shaken, about 55 minutes. Remove from water. Remove foil. Chill custards until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.)

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