It's a testament to the depth and quality of Dorie Greenspan's book Baking; From My Home to Yours that even after three-plus years of the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group, the final 50 remaining recipes include an array of interesting, unusual, and also classic, choices for the group to make. Case in point is this week's assignment, the Chocolate Pots de Creme, a wonderfully elegant French nod to chocolate pudding.
I'm not sure I've ever tasted pots de creme, but I've certainly enjoyed my fair share of pudding, so a fancy-sounding French version seemed quite enticing. I'd make them in my glass ramekins. And then I looked at this week's P&Q post. The first comment, from Becky O., gave a link for purchasing specialized pots to make pots de creme. Once I clicking on that link I was smitten with the little pots, with their adorable little lids, and with their matching saucers. I had no idea such cuteness in baking dishes existed. Although I managed to resist purchasing any unitasking dessert bakeware, seeing the array of pots de creme sets kind of ruined me for making this dish in my everyday ramekins!
n.o.e.'s notes:- Christine of BlackCatCooking chose this week's recipe. If you'd like the recipe for the pots de creme, click over to her post to find it.
- The hardest part of this recipe was figuring out what in my kitchen would be a decent substitute for the adorable pots de creme pots. I pulled out a couple of small pitchers and some tiny saucers that could serve as lids. Then I spied it: my little sugar bowl was just the right size and nearly the right shape. It didn't have a sweet floral print but it did have its own lid!
- Back in the early days of TWD the fact that this recipe entailed tempering eggs would have sent me into a tailspin. But after making custards, ice cream bases, creme anglaises, etc., I've gotten quite used to add hot liquid to eggs without scrambling them.
- As I was portioning the liquid among my four assorted pots, I sampled a little spoonful. It tasted more creme-ish than chocolate-ish, and I wondered if I should have used darker chocolate, or more chocolate. But it was too late to change anything, so into the oven the little pots went, in their water bath, or bain marie, as the French would call it.
- My pots were baked in about 30 minutes.
- I served the pots plain so that we could assess/appreciate the chocolate flavor.
Based on my pre-baking sneak taste, I was not expecting great things from my pots de creme. But baking and chilling magically transformed the custard into a creamy version of milk chocolate heaven. The rich creaminess of the pots put chocolate pudding to shame.
My daughter JDE loved the pots de creme as much as I did. "These are soooooo good," she said, "I'm going to dream about them! Let's make every flavor of pots de creme." I think we might start with vanilla bean. And maybe this will be my signature dessert, and I can justify a little purchase of pots de creme pots...