How to Make Chocolate Pots de Creme
Earlier this week I was trying to clean things up on the blog and accidentally sent out a post of photos without recipes titled “Deliciously Dull Dinners” that had been languishing in the draft folder for 6 years.
Oops. Life is not perfect.
I still can’t share the recipes for the random shots of Pork Chops and Brussels Sprouts, but I do have this delicious recipe for Chocolate Pots de Crème.
Pots de Creme
Why did I include undeniably creamy and indulgent Chocolate Pots de Crème in a post titled “Deliciously Dull?” Chocolate Pots de Crème are the French version of pudding cups. There’s not a whole lot of glamour in a pudding cup, but they are easy and delicious!
Pots de crème are traditionally baked and served in petite individual ceramic pots with lids and is how they got their name. You can also bake them in custard cups, soufflé molds, or any small glass or ceramic ovenproof bowls.
Pots de Crème is pronounced: “Po” (rhymes with go) + de (sounds like a shortened “duh” with a soft e) + “Crem” (rhymes with gym). “Pots” in French is not pronounced like pots (as in “pots and pans”) is in English.
How to Whip Cream
Whipping real cream is easy – it’s simply a matter of coagulating fat. (Yes, I know that sounds gross.) The key is that everything must be well chilled: the heavy cream in the refrigerator, and the mixer beaters and bowl in the freezer until cold to the touch. I often place a chilled bowl over a larger bowl of ice water to whip cream. Lastly, whipping cream by hand is easy. All it takes is a bit of muscle. You can use a hand-held mixer, but be careful. If you over whip cream, you get butter. When gauging how much to whip remember that heavy cream doubles in size when it’s whipped: 1 cup of heavy cream makes about 2 cups of whipped cream. Some folks add sugar, but I prefer not to add sugar to the cream, as I think most desserts are quite often sweet enough and sweetened whipped cream is overpowering. I like the contrast of silky, buttery whipped cream against the slightly bitter Chocolate Pots de Creme.
Although they are both white, beating meringue has nothing to do with whipping cream. Meringue is whipped egg whites and sugar to form a thick, stiff foam. Different textures are achieved by varying the methods of mixing the sugar and the egg whites, and varying the baking times and temperatures. Meringue can be made soft to top a pie, or dried in the oven as a Pavlova or meringue cookie. Lastly, egg whites are often whipped in a copper bowl as there is a chemical reaction that occurs as microscopic bits of copper interact with the egg white that helps create a firm meringue.
That said, whipping cream in a copper bowl doesn’t make any sense. The copper does not perform any beneficial function and in fact, might mar the taste of the whipped cream. Stick to stainless steel or glass when whipping cream.
News and Events
I am to be the Featured Chef of the Mansion at Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby! WOW. You can read more about it on the official blog of the Kentucky Derby. I’ve also got a few more events coming up this spring. Please check out my events page.
I’m getting SO much great feedback about my Southern Living column “Cooking with Virginia!” I am thrilled. Thank you!! The March issue features fresh, seasonal recipes for cooking Beets and you can check it out on the news stand or online here.
If you give any of the recipes a try, please make sure to tag me on social and make sure to use the hashtag “CookingWithVirginia.”
Sorry about the misfire if you are a blog subscriber, but hopefully this recipe for Chocolate Pots de Creme will make up for it. Thanks so much for reading!
Bon Appétit Y’all!
Chocolate Pots de Crème
Creamy rich and delicious chocolate pots de creme -- French pudding cups!
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 cup whipped cream, for garnish
Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place six 6-ounce ramekins in a roasting pan.
In a saucepan, combine the cream, milk, and chocolate over medium heat. Bring almost to a simmer; remove from the heat. Set aside, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted.
In a large measuring cup, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar. While whisking, add a little of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture to combine. (This technique is called tempering; it makes the temperatures of two mixtures—one containing raw egg—more similar, so the egg won’t curdle in the presence of heat.) Add the remaining milk mixture, and whisk to combine. Whisk in the vanilla and salt.
Pour approximately 1/2 cup of the egg mixture into each ramekin. Cover each ramekin tightly with aluminum foil to prevent a skin from forming. Fill the roasting pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custards are just set in the center, 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove the pots from the water, and place on a wire rack to cool, about 30 minutes. (I usually remove the pots with tongs and leave the roasting pan of water in the oven. Turn the oven off and let the water cool until it is safe to remove the pan.)
When the pots de crème have cooled completely, refrigerate to chill thoroughly, preferably overnight. Just before serving, top with a dollop of whipped cream.
photography by Virginia Willis
Copyright © 2017 Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc.
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