Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chocolate Pots de Crème with Whipped Cream

Serves  6
Pots of Chocolate
For the pots de crème:
1/4 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped, plus about 1/2 oz more for garnish
For the whipped cream:
1  cup heavy cream
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
For the pots de crème:  Pre-heat the oven to 325 F.  Arrange a rack in the bottom third position of the oven.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, to be later used as a water bath. 
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks, then set aside.
Pour the cream into a medium-sized saucepot, and bring to just a simmer over medium-high heat.  Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, whisking until melted and smooth.  Gradually whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture.  Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large measuring cup or small pitcher.  Evenly divide the mixture between six soufflé dishes. 
Just Before Baking
Place a clean dish towel over the base of large roasting pan, then evenly arrange the filled soufflé dishes in the pan.  Place the roasting pan onto the oven rack, then pour boiling water into the pan, enough so that it rises about half-way up the soufflé dishes.  Bake until the tops are set but the centers still wiggle slightly when shaken, about 1 hour.  Remove the soufflé cups from the water, and let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes.  Then transfer, uncovered, to the refrigerator and chill until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.  After four hours, once the custards are completely chilled, you can cover them with plastic wrap. 
For the whipped cream:  Whip the cream to soft peaks (When you stick a spoon into the cream and lift it out, a point will form then droop down after a second or two).  Add sugar and vanilla and whip to firm peaks (The point formed in the cream will stand straight up and not fall over).
To serve: Top each pot de crème with a dollop of whipped cream and about 1 teaspoon chocolate curls, which you can make by shaving a small chunk of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate with an ordinary vegetable peeler.