Chocolat Pots de Creme

It was great to see you yesterday, Town, but now you know my dirty secret: there isn’t anything pretty about going on a diet. I know it’s hard to trim off extra fluff at the best of times, but at Christmas it is particularly challenging. These past two weeks I’ve struggled to come to grips with new eating habits and portions, so it was difficult to share in a positive light.

Thankfully a new app for my smartphone has made things easier. It’s called Lose it! and so far it has really helped me get on track. Why is it working? Instead of prescribing my food and portions, it let me set a goal and then it becomes an interactive food diary with a set caloric limit for each day.With two weeks of food choices, it is starting to get easier to figure out what works AND today I discovered a new feature: you can input recipes and it calculates the calories! I’m excited about that because I wasn’t sure how I would be able to easily figure out the stats for something I cooked.

Diet or no, I’m not willing to give up fat or sugar. Those are the body’s basic building blocks. I just have to eat more reasonable portions. This recipe is one I have been making for years. Chocolat pots de crème is my favourite dessert. The silky-smooth texture of the custard is emboldened by the earthy notes from the dark chocolate, star anise, cardamom and cloves. Once I tasted it, regular old chocolate pudding was forever ruined for me. Try it – you’ll see why.

I would love to give the original author of this recipe credit, but no matter how hard I look, I can no longer find it on the internet. Whoever you are, your recipe is so wonderful and addictive that every few months, I MUST make it again – no negotiations or substitutions. Please accept my thanks.

Before we begin, a word of caution: this recipe must be strictly followed. I’ve tried variants and most have been flops. Use baking chocolate, not chocolate bars. Use full fat whipping cream. Without these two ingredients, you have inconsistent, uncongealed goo at best. Some things are perfect to begin with and will not bear additions. Believe me, I’ve tried and I have the wasted grocery dollars from going back to repurchase everything again after a foolhardy addition/deletion/substitution to prove it.

This recipe comes together fast and there is no time to stop and put things together for the next step, so it pays to have all of the following ready to go:

6 eggs separated

6 large eggs, separated (put the egg whites aside for another recipe)

8 custard cups in two 8 by 8 pyrex casseroles

8 custard cups placed in a casserole.

cardamom pods anise seeds and cloves with a teaball

a teaball containing 8 cloves, 3 star anise and 10 black cardamom pods

chopped chocolate in metal bowl

7 ounces of bittersweet baking chocolate chopped into pieces that are roughly the same size as chocolate chips

full kettle

A full kettle of water on the stove ready to boil

yolks and sugar

6 egg yolks whisked with 5 Tbsp white sugar

The only other thing that really helps is to have a 4 cup measuring cup with a spout to be used for pouring the custard.

Here we go!

  • Place the teaball in a saucepan. Pour 3/4 cup skim milk and 1 1/2 cups whipping cream over the spices.

spices suspended

  • Set the bowl containing the chopped chocolate on top of the saucepan and set the burner to medium low. You’ll want to stick around to occasionally stir the chocolate to help it melt.

steaming and meltingchocolae is ready

  • When the chocolate is liquid-y, take the bowl off. Set it on the counter. Pull out the teaball full of spices and pour the infused cream over the chocolate. Stir well.
melted chocolate with infused cream

Voila! A chocolate galaxy! Don’t worry – the chocolate will evenly distribute in the oven.

  • Slowly pour 2-3 Tbsp of the hot cream mixture over the yolks and sugar, stirring furiously so that you don’t get scrambled eggs.
tempered eggs

Yay! Tempered eggs!

  • Pour the tempered egg mixture into the rest of the chocolate cream mixture, still stirring furiously. Pour this into the big measuring cup with a spout. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and stir it in well. Pour equal amounts of this mixture into each of the 8 custard cups waiting in the casserole dish.
  • Boil the water in the kettle. Carefully pour the boiling water into the casserole dish without getting any in the custard cups (easier said that done, I know, but it’s worth it if it is done well). There should be enough water in the casserole to come up to about halfway up the side of the custard cups. This bain-marie will ensure a smoothly textured delight!
  • Set the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it is up to temperature, slide in the casserole and loosely cover the top with aluminum foil. Set a timer for 35 minutes.
finished

Fresh from the oven!

  • When you come back in 35 minutes to take these little treasures out, carefully remove each cup and place it on a potholder to cool. Empty the water from the casserole dish and let it cool. Once you can touch it comfortably, put the custard cups back in – the casserole dish makes a handy tray for carrying and covering the dessert. Use the foil again to cover the top and place the pots de crème in the fridge to chill further.

Enjoy!

Nutrition per one serving:

  • Calories: 359
  • Fat: 27.9g
  • Carbs: 24.6g
  • Protein: 3.7g

P.S.: I always took the maxim “Waste not, want not,” to heart, so when I make pots de crème, I use the egg whites to make crunchy, tangy meringues. They’re the perfect complement and I usually serve the two desserts together in one dish:

the perfect complement

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