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To Prove I’m Not a Complete Valentine’s Scrooge (and still cooking the book)

2012 February 16

Okay, okay, so we might have had a little something special here for Valentine’s Day after all.

Just because I cooked myself a dinner for one while Mr. Kitchenette had (a really early, like 4:30p) awesome steak dinner for work doesn’t mean we didn’t have a little V-Day dessert action together later that night. And of course, it had to be chocolate. With whipped cream. Not because it’s a Valentine’s cliche, but because in our house we LOVE CHOCOLATE. And if you’re going to make this, you’d better LOVE CHOCOLATE, because this dessert is not messing around. I was even thinking of one of my favorite chocolate fiends, the Kitchenette Dad, who is usually a mousse man, and wondering if it would be too rich for him (there’s still a couple of days before Lent so maybe he’ll laissez les bon temps rouler next Tuesday and report back here).

In the tradition of really great chocolate desserts, this recipe is unfussy with very few ingredients, letting the gorgeous flavor of bittersweet chocolate really shine. And I adore how self-contained the recipe is, with 3/4 cup of cream in the custard and the other 1/4 cup from your perfect little one-cup carton left to be whipped (and don’t skip the whipped cream). The methodology here spares you any creme brulee style hot water bath baking and is more like making ganache, with a stove top-warmed custard melting the chocolate (and a sieve on standby in case you end up with a little scrambled egg in the bottom of your custard pan).

As for The Good, The Bad and The Leftovers? First, it’s chocolate, so it’s all Good. Therefore, there is no Bad. Well, maybe. Barely. I didn’t whisk everything together in a bowl; I did it right in the saucepan before I turned on the heat. There’s no need to dirty another bowl for this. I don’t know why that’s in there. And the only “Leftover” tidbit I have is, unless you have instant espresso sitting around (and, um, ew, gross), just sub a teaspoon of really strong coffee or actual espresso. The chocolate really needs that teeny bit of bitterness to cut the richness, but there’s no need to stress about ingredients on this one. It’s simple, easy and SO CHOCOLATEY.

Chocolate Pots de Creme

from Cooking for Two 2011

Serves 2


for pots de creme:

2 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (use something with at least 60 percent cocoa; I’m fond of the Ghirardelli, which come in half-ounce squares), chopped

2 large egg yolks

4 teaspoons granulated sugar

pinch salt

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon instant espresso dissolved in 1 teaspoon water (or one teaspoon actual espresso or very strong coffee)

for whipped cream and garnish:

1/4 cup heavy cream, chilled

2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)

chocolate shavings, for sprinkling (optional)


For the pots de creme: Place chocolate in heatproof bowl, set fine mesh strainer over bowl and set aside.

Whisk egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt together in medium bowl until combined, then whisk in heavy cream. Transfer mixture to small saucepan. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of the pot with wooden spoon, until it is thickened and silky and registered 175 to 180 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 3 to 6 minutes. (Do not let custard overcook or simmer.) Immediately pour custard through strainer over chocolate. Let mixture stand to melt chocolate, about 5 minutes. Whisk gently until smooth, then whisk in vanilla and espresso.

Divide mixture evenly between two 5-ounce ramekins. Gently tap ramekins against counter to remove any air bubbles.

Cool pots de creme to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover ramekins tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. Before serving, let pots de creme stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

For the whipped cream and garnish: Before serving, whisk cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla together until cream forms soft peaks. Dollop each pot de creme with about two tablespoons and garnish with coco powder and /or chocolate shavings, if desired.


2 Responses leave one →
  1. Barbara Putrich permalink
    February 21, 2012

    A chocolate dish too rich for Kitchenette Dad? Hmmm. . . . Saw this too late to make before Lent — but will definitely make it after Easter and let you know.

    Kitchenette Mom

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