Monday 30 December 2013

Pots de Creme!

For special occasions it is fun to add a bit of spark! This rich chocolate single-serving gourmet dessert can easily be made ahead for parties, holiday entertaining or for you and your sweetie for Valentines.

A classic French, decadent dessert with a satiny texture and an intense chocolate flavor. I favor bittersweet chocolate over milk and semisweet chocolate, which I consider to be too mild. I use 60 percent cocoa bittersweet chocolate (my favorite brands are Ghirardelli, Callebaut and Valrhona), but 70 percent bittersweet chocolate can also be used. If using a 70 percent bittersweet chocolate, I use Valrhona and reduce the amount of chocolate to 8 ounces. A tablespoon of strong brewed coffee may be substituted for the  creme de cacao. 

Pots de Creme Instant Pot and traditional method
traditional method adapted from Eva Kenly

8 pots de creme, or 6- six ounce ramekins
1 baking pan, large enough to hold the molds with space in between

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees

1 1/2 c heavy cream
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate or semi sweet, or mixture (it's up to you)
3 T sugar
5 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. creme de cacao/or strong brewed coffee

In a heavy saucepan, combine the cream and chocolate. Over low heat, stir until chocolate is melted. Do not let mixture come to a boil. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick and light in color. Slowly beat in the sugar. Fold warm chocolate mixture into the yolks, then add the vanilla and creme de cacao.

Strain through a fine sieve into a measuring cup and pour into pots or ramekins.

Place into baking pan and pour boiling water to come halfway up molds. 

Cover with their lids, or if ramekins are used, cover with foil. 

For Instant Pot, fill leaving a 1/2 inch of space on top. Cover with foil or lid.

For Instant Pot, place 1 1/2 cup water in the IP, put the IP rack in and place the ramekins, covered with foil, you can stack, using another rack or balancing them on each other. Put the lid on and time for 3 minutes high pressure, with a 15 minute natural release.

Bake for 17 minutes for small pots like mine or 20 minutes for ramekins. Check with the tip of a sharp, thin knife, the tip should come out clean-ish....(not a word) but, doesn't have to be completely clean. 

Remove from water bath and cool, then refrigerate. Serve with Gold Flakes found at Sur la Table or Amazon or simply a dollop of whipped cream! Covered tightly with plastic wrap, the pots de creme will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, but the whipped cream must be made just before serving. The gold flake added just before serving.

As a little girl, my favorite dessert was chocolate pudding with whipped cream. As an adult, my sweet tooth has not strayed far, and is happily satisfied by this simple, elegant dessert.

My other New Year favorite dessert Champagne Cupcakes! I love everything about these cupcakes,  they're beautiful, they sparkle and they’re delicious. They’re cake! And they’re made with champagne. And, everyone that knows me.....knows I like champagne. Easy and elegant to make for your New Years Eve/day celebration!

And now for a bit of fun!

 In Spain and Latin America  revelers mark the new year by quickly eating a dozen grapes at the stroke of midnight. The fruit is said to be a predictor of the year ahead.  Each sweet grape represents a good month, each sour grape a less-than-lucky one. 

 A few years ago we visited Cuba, by way of Jamaica. In Cuba it is tradition to throw a bucket of water out the back door to clear the evil spirits that have accumulated over the year.  This seems like it would be a lot of fun, particularly with children! It is symbolic of throwing out the bad things accumulated over the past year and starting fresh and clean.  It is said that in old Havana nobody dared take a stroll at midnight on New Year's Eve for fear of being hit with a splash of water coming out of windows and doors.

 These are fun traditions and it only takes a bucket of water and a bunch of grapes.  So, if you are having a party, even if you are not Cuban or Spanish,you can easily make these traditions a part of the 2014 celebration. Give everyone a good laugh at the stroke of midnight! Just thread 12 grapes onto skewers and serve in a glass of Champagne just before the countdown.  You know what to do with the bucket of water!!

Thank you for visiting my blog and to all of you my warmest wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!

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