Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What I'm Cooking...Dark Chocolate Pot de Creme

Last Thursday I took a cooking class at at The Chopping Block, called Midnight in Paris.  This class was really great.  Everything we made is something that I will make again in the future.  The other classes I've had at the Chopping Block have yielded one or two recipes that have made it to my recipe box, but never 100% of the recipes we used. Even though the other recipes (from other classes) might not have made it to my recipe box, I learned some new techniques that I constantly use.

This recipe is from the Chopping Block -- and is not my my recipe at all.  As always, you should read the recipe all the way through before beginning - something I often fail to do.  You'll notice below that numbers 2 and 3 go hand in hand and should be undertaken concurrently.  The full recipe is at the bottom of this blog post.

The recipe is very straight forward and as all you know, I really don't like to bake (too much science versus an artistic flair).  A couple comments -- I wonder if you could use vanilla extract in lieu of the vanilla bean. I wonder only because vanilla beans are so expensive.  I've read it is acceptable to swap it out and should use 2 teaspoons for every one bean -- but you also need to pull out that same amount of liquid so you don't upset the delicate balance of baked goods.  Would two extra teaspoons of half and half really cause an issue?  When I make this at home (this weekend??) I will try it without the bean and a reduced amount of half and half.

According to our amazing instructor, Sara, you can keep the custard (I prefer the word "batter") in the refrigerator (unbaked) for up to 3 days.  Then the next piece of great news -- you can keep the baked Pot de Creme in the refrigerator for 3 days as well. That means you can make these things on Sunday and have them all week.  You can't beat that, can you?

I apologize for the last picture -- it isn't mine, I just found it online at LA Weekly.  I was just too damn excited to try my creation and ate it long before I realized I hadn't taken a picture of it.  Sorry guys!

Their recipe is as follows:

  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • Chocolate Shavings
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Place the cream in a small saucepan. Scrape the pulp from the vanilla bean; add the pulp and the pod to the cream.  Heat until steaming. Remove from heat and whisk the chocolate in until smooth. Remove the vanilla pod.
  3. While the cream is heating, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.
  4. Slowly temper the warm cream mixture into the eggs, stirring gently
  5. Place the ramekins in a baking dish, then pour the custard into the ramekins.  Fill the pan halfway up the sides with hot water.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes, until jiggly but firm.
  7. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or until cold (May be refrigerated overnight).
  8. Serve chilled with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.
I can't recommend the Chopping Block enough. If you have any questions about what they do or how they teach, just let me know. If you want to take class there, but don't have anyone to go with, shoot me an email, I'd love to meet up with some of my readers and take a class.

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