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This is my first time making this traditional French dessert. I have happily finished a meal with a pot de créme at various restaurants but I knew I had to try it for myself when Mom lent me some beautiful red ramekins. Aren’t they just begging to be filled with chocolate custard? Now, I was truly ready to expound upon this perfect little dessert until I came upon an entire story about pots de créme by one of my favourite bloggers. If you have never visited the La Tartine Gourmande before today, please go read her entry (http://www.latartinegourmande.com/2008/07/07/chocolate-vanilla-pot-creme-french-dessert/) about her favourite comfort food! She makes me want to jump on a plane toute suite. . . .and the photos . . . and just the way she writes about food. Yes, I have a blog crush. I also love that each recipe is translated into French so I can get a little french practice on the side.
Now for my recipe. I wanted to definitely do a chocolate pot de créme but with some nice spices that would make it a little different. I found a recipe on line and modified it a little by adding less cream and more spice and vanilla. As I wait for them to cool I can already tell that the Chai-themed spices will strike a stronger chord when it is completely chilled – so I think it will be just fine with some fresh fruit and espresso for our dinner guests tomorrow night.
Chai Spiced Chocolate Pots de Créme
1 c whipping cream
1 1/4 c milk
10 crushed cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
3 whole star anise
7 oz/ 200 g bittersweet chocolate (use the good stuff!), finely chopped
6 eggs yolks
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Heat cream, milk and spices in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for about 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan and heat again until steaming. Whisk in chocolate until smooth.
In a large bowl whisk the sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow and them whisk in about 1/2 cup of the chocolate mixture. When smooth whisk in the rest of the chocolate, vanilla and salt. Strain again through a fine sieve. Pour equally into 8 ramekins and place in a roasting pan. Pour in enough boiling water to come half way up the sides. Cover roaster with foil and bake at 325 F for about 30 minutes – until the edges are set but the middles still jiggles! Remove from roaster and cool, them cover and refrigerate.
Enjoy the last of summer!
A chocolate soufflé is one of those desserts that can inspire both fear and wonder. You are warned of a lengthy wait if you order one in a restaurant, though the warning is accompanied with an implicit promise that your patients will be rewarded. And, everyone has heard of the inevitable collapse caused by a slamming door or dropped pot. Soufflés are finicky and temperamental, only to be attempted by the culinary expert or adventurer, at least that is what some would have you believe. But the reality is quite the opposite. I am here to tell you my friends that if you have an oven and a whisk, you can make a chocolate soufflé.
I have cooked chocolate soufflés for virtually everyone I know. I have taken them to dinner parties and made them at a beach house. My little red ramekins have been around and will continue to see a lot of action. Chocolate soufflés are such a standby that I have to remind myself that I need to expand my horizons if only for the sake of my guests who quite likely believe I don’t know how to cook anything else. That said I have never been disappointed by the result. I’m no baker but these little chocolate treasures are close to perfect and as fool-proof a recipe as there is.
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 6 tbps unsalted butter
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- ¾ cups sugar
- pinch salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 6 tbps flour
Melt butter and chocolate together in a double boiler. Remove from heat and let cool to luke warm.
With electric mixer whip eggs, egg yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla until they are pale yellow and form ribbons. It will take 5 to 6 minutes or more longer with a whisk.
Sift flour over eggs and fold in. Gently fold in chocolate.
Pour batter into buttered ramekins. Cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.
Bake at 400o for 18 minutes. Serve immediately.
You can serve your soufflé with whipped cream or ice cream or dress them up with a dusting of icing sugar. I prefer mine served with a spoon.
These soufflés have a light cakey exterior and a rich gooey centre. The basic recipe is perfect in its simplicity but lends itself to embellishment. A dash of almond or hazelnut extract is a great addition. A tablespoon of rum or brandy is nice touch too. I haven’t tried it, but my guess is a splash of Grand Marnier would be awesome. The most important ingredient is your imagination.
This is the perfect make-ahead dessert. You can mix them up the day before or even throw them in the freezer for a week. Just add a minute to the cooking time if you’re starting with a frozen soufflé. Like so many of the French classics the soufflé has been ascribed with almost mystical qualities. But I want the moral of this story to be “don’t be afraid of the soufflé.” They are not finicky or temperamental. There is no magic and no secret society of soufflé chefs. The only “secret” is the air you whip into the eggs.