Tuesday, March 1, 2011

{TWD} Chocolate Pots de Creme


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!

- I made half a recipe and decided this dessert was worthy of the good chocolate, so I pulled out some 62% Schaffen Berg dark chocolate.

- 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.


the verdict:

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...

10 comments:

mike509 said...

Ok - what a wonderful array of cooking vessels - very creative! Mine were my grandmother's pyrex glasses - but hey... they worked! Such a strange thing.... creamy going in - chocolatey coming out of the oven! Glad you've overcame the tempering - it's the numerous ice creams that have made me able to do this in my sleep! Great post Nancy!

Tia said...

i love your choice of bakeware for this. lovely !
Buttercreambarbie

Jessica said...

There was something magical about this recipe - pretty pedestrian ingredients (with the exception of good chocolate) transformed into something exquisite. And look what it did for your little dish assortment! I realized after reading your post that I have four espresso cups with saucers - I'll have to use those as cups/lids next time.

Tracey said...

When I saw your top picture I thought you may have owned cute pots de creme! I definitely think you can justify the purchase if you're going to bake lots of flavors, but maybe you shouldn't listen to me since I'm a giant enabler...

I wasn't expect much from these, but I really did enjoy them.

Tracey said...

When I saw your top picture I thought you may have owned cute pots de creme! I definitely think you can justify the purchase if you're going to bake lots of flavors, but maybe you shouldn't listen to me since I'm a giant enabler...

I wasn't expect much from these, but I really did enjoy them.

Mary said...

I had a flash of jealousy when I saw the first picture and thought you that you bought the pot de creme pots! I love the sugar bowl idea. I agree, DG knows her stuff. We loved this too.

Di said...

Great choice of dishes for these--they all look so cute! I was surprised how chocolatey these ended up, too. And B&G loved them.

Karen said...

I love your assorted pots for these! It is amazing what practice with tempering eggs has done for each of us in the group! :)

steph- whisk/spoon said...

the pots are so darling. making every flavor is a fine idea!

Kayte said...

We NEED to get the little pots...we NEED them...we WILL GET THEM...Mark loved this dessert, top 5 for him...he has a lot of top fives but this is definitely up there, we will need to remove something else to put it up there. Shoot me the link for the pots, I want to see them...you are a very bad influence on me. Keep it up.