Serves 6 in a 5 oz. ramekin or cup
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
6 oz. fine-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons brewed espresso or 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, or to taste
1 tablespoon Turbinado sugar, or to taste Sea salt
Whipped cream, shaved chocolate, or coco powder and fresh fruit for serving
Preheat oven to 300oF.
Add the cream, milk, espresso, vanilla and a pinch of salt to a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk the mixture until just before it comes to a boil. You will see a few small bubbles around the edge of the pan. Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl and pour the cream mixture over the chocolate, whisking until all of the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
If the chocolate mixture is to hot when you incorporate it into the egg mixture, the eggs may cook and the pot de crème will have a granular texture.
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, egg yolks, and a pinch of salt, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is a light yellow color, about 3 minutes. Then gradually add the some of the chocolate mixture, whisking until it is incorporated and smooth. Continue to slowly add the chocolate mixture, whisking until it is all fully incorporated and smooth. Strain into a large bowl and allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Carefully fill 6 5oz ramekins, or 8 smaller pot de creme cups and place them in a shallow baking pan on top of a folded kitchen towel. Poke several holes in a piece of aluminum foil that is large enough to cover the baking pan.
Add enough hot water to the baking pan to come halfway up the side of the ramekins. Cover the pan tightly with the aluminum foil and bake the custards until they are set around the edges, but slightly wobbly in the centers, about 30 to 35 minutes. (The custard will continue to set as it cools.) The actual cooking time can vary for a number of reasons, so it is a good idea to check after
20 to 25 minutes. In some ovens it may even take 45 to 50 minutes. An oven thermometer will help you achieve the proper result.
Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let the custards cool, uncovered, on a wire rack for about 1 hour.
Then cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 or 4 hours hours or up 2 days.
Remove the custards from the refrigerator at least 10 minutes before serving for the best texture. Top with some whipped cream, shaved chocolate or cocoa powder on top, and perhaps some fresh fruit.
This recipe is adapted from Gourmet, February 2004