If you are up for something different this Valentine’s day, then make sure to save room for dessert! Pots de crème translates to jars of cream in French. This dessert is a type of custard that is velvety smooth and traditionally served in an adorable petite pot with a lid.
Dress it up for your sweetheart with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, grated chocolate, a drizzling of My Favorite Salted Caramel Sauce and a few of your favorite cookies.
Photo by Victoria Greenstreet
Chili Chocolate Pots de Crème Recipe
• 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
• 4 tablespoons sugar
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream, plus more
• 1/3 cup whole milk
• 1/2 cinnamon stick
• 1/2 dried guajillo chili pepper
• 3 large egg yolks
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
• Garnish: whipped cream, grated chocolate, My Favorite Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe below), cookies
• Two 8 ounce ramekins or four 4 ounce ramekins
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Put the chocolate and the sugar in a medium heat-proof bowl and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan bring the cream, milk, cinnamon and guajillo chili pepper just to a boil, cover with a lid and let sit for 5 to 20 minutes, the longer you let this mixture steep the more spice you will detect, so adjust time to your spice preference.
4. After steeping is complete, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass measuring cup and add more cream if necessary to measure 1 1/3 cup.
5. Discard the chili pepper and the cinnamon stick and put the cream back into the small saucepan, bring the mixture just to a boil. Remove from heat and pour the mixture over the chocolate and sugar. Let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes then stir until well mixed.
6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla and salt. Whisk this mixture into the chocolate mixture. Strain the mixture once more through a fine-mesh sieve.
7. Pour into two 8 ounce or four 4 ounce oven proof baking vessels. Bake in a water bath at 300 degrees until the center is nearly set, about 25 to 30 minutes. (You are aiming for firm sides and a touch wobbly in the center).
8. Carefully remove the cups from the water bath and let cool at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
9. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours prior to serving. Makes 2 large or 4 small servings
When ready to serve top with freshly whipped cream, grated chocolate, a drizzle of My Favorite Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe below) and your favorite cookies.
My Favorite Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1/3 cup water
• 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1/2 vanilla bean, seeded
• 3/4 teaspoons fleur de sel
• Large heavy-bottomed deep saucepan
• Long-handled heat resistant spatula
• Clean pastry brush
• Cup of water
• Oven mitt (please wear if you are concerned about burning yourself with the steam or the hot sugar)
1. In a large heavy-bottomed deep saucepan, add the water to the sugar. Put over medium flame and let the sugar dissolve, about 5 minutes, do not stir.
2. Once the sugar is melted, turn the flame up to medium-high and boil uncovered. Resist the urge to stir, if the sugar is crystallizing on the sides of the pan, simply use the clean pastry brush dipped into the cup of water and brush down the sides, this dissolves any sugar crystals.
3. Bring the mixture to a boil until the sugar turns a deep amber color, pull the pot off of the burner and slowly stir in the cream and butter, the mixture will rise and splatter so pay special attention not to burn yourself with the steam (this is when your tall pot comes in handy!) Stir until well mixed. The caramel may harden a bit, that's okay.
4. Stir in the vanilla bean seeds and fleur de sel.
5. Put the pot over low heat and stir constantly until the caramel is melted, about 2 minutes.
6. Let cool to room temperature and it will thicken up a bit, about 3 hours. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Makes 1 3/4 to 2 cups
Victoria Greenstreet is inspired by seasonal ingredients. Her focus is whole foods and gluten-free cookery. She is a classically trained chef, freelance food writer, stylist and photographer. She is currently working on her first cookbook due during the winter of 2014-2015. Visit her blog Honey Dumplings for more recipes and culinary adventures.