I followed the recipe from the Chopping Block almost exactly. I opted to use two teaspoons of vanilla extract in lieu of the half a vanilla bean. I also used 70% cocoa from Ghiradelli - I'm not sure what chocolate was used in class, but the 70% seemed a bit more rich and flavorful than the semi-sweet we used the week prior.
Almost every thing I read about substituting vanilla extract for vanilla beans said you had to remove as many teaspoons of liquid as you are adding -- to keep the balance. I didn't do that. I figured since this is a custard, it wouldn't really matter. It didn't.
The recipe indicated we'd bake these for 25-30 minutes -- after 30 minutes the Pot de Creme were completely liquid still. I kept it in the over for 5 more minutes...then 5 more...then 5 more. I cooked these things for 45 minutes then pulled them out. They were firm yet jiggly. I was afraid I over cooked them, but I really don't think 30 minutes was enough for me.
My mother says I have a "slow" oven. Not sure how she would know, since she never cooks..but in this case it appears she is right. I think this is another reason I don't like to bake -- I'm afraid I'm going to over cook or undercook because the timing is a bit off. Just another level of stress.
All in all this recipe was absolutely fantastic. The dark chocolate was perfectly rich. The texture was creamy with just a bit of chocolate flake scattered throughout adding to the richness. This recipe makes 4 servings, but the creme brulee ramekins were a bit smaller so I made 6.5 servings -- which I think were perfectly sized for the richness.
And yes -- I did make homemade whipped cream (heaping teaspoon of powdered sugar and an 1/8 cup of whipping cream -- beat with a wire whisk until just perfect).
Does baking give you a lot of angst too? Have you been successful is altering a fantastic recipe offered by someone else into something your own? Do you have a problem with having half a dozen amazing desserts in your refrigerator -- are you like me and just want to sit down and eat them all at once?