Awards season. Once the craziness of the holidays are over, I set my focus on the various awards shows for the entertainment industry. And because it is such an elegant showcase for the beautiful people, today’s recipe for French Chocolate Pudding is the perfect way to celebrate the winners!
When I was a little girl, my mother and I would sit in the dark, watching all the gorgeous actors and actresses, oohing and aah’ing over the gowns and hairstyles, laughing at the jokes, and applauding as our favorite performer’s names were called.
With proverbial stars in my eyes, I dreamed of being on that big stage, accepting my own award one day. While I wasn’t an actress, I sang in every choir growing up, was a vocal performance major in college, and went on to sing with all the major choruses in the Bay Area including the San Francisco Symphony! I never made the awards, but I had fun performing for many audiences over the years.
Each year The Artist and I watch the various awards shows, enjoying our tradition – one of our earliest dates was to watch the Oscars together. We make a picnic dinner with finger foods, relax as we snack and watch the shows. And I am always looking for fun, different, easy-to-make desserts for our award evenings … and I made a great one for our Golden Globe dinner!
Pot de Crème (poh-deu-crehm) is a classic French pudding that is so deep and rich, a small portion fully satisfying even the most ardent chocoholics. The Artist and I always enjoyed this treat at our local French restaurant which has now closed. Boy do we miss those meals with the incredible food, amazing wine, and hours of laughter with the owners and other diners.
As you’ve heard me say before, when you have such a short ingredient list, each one takes on more importance. This is the time to buy a higher quality chocolate and let it shine!
Whipping your own cream makes all the difference in flavor and texture. You will never go back to the tub of whipped “stuff” again. A little sugar and vanilla and you have just the right combination to lighten and balance the chocolate. And if the tops of the puddings aren’t perfect (like mine), the cream covers up any boo boos!
While the puddings are chilling, whip the extra cream. go back and chop the reserved chocolate very finely. Use this as the decoration on the top of the cream and bring your desserts to new heights. 😉
Have a wonderful week my friends – Happy Chocolate Monday!
This dessert is naturally gluten-free!
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- 1 oz (3 tbsp) finely chopped semisweet chocolate, plus extra for garnishing
- 1/2 oz (2 tbsp) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 5 large egg yolks
- Put a large pot of water with at least 5 cups of water on to boil for the water bath. Reduce heat to medium-low to keep hot.
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Place four (6-oz) ramekins in a 9x13-inch baking pan or roasting pan and set aside. Set a wire sieve over a bowl.
- Make the chocolate cream: In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, heat the cream with 2 tbsp of the sugar, stirring to dissolve, until just below boiling. There will be steam coming off the surface and small bubbles will form around the edges.
- In a heatproof mixing bowl, combine the chocolate and cocoa, stirring to mix together. Slowly add the hot cream, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. If needed, place the bowl over a pan of simmering water to make sure all the chocolate pieces have melted. Return the mixture to the saucepan using a spatula to get all the mixture into the pan; reduce the heat to low.
- In the same bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 3 tbsp sugar until smooth. While you are whisking the eggs, slowly add about 1/4 cup of the hot cream, gently warming the eggs. Slowly add the yolk mixture to the rest of the chocolate cream, whisking vigorously to avoid scrambling the eggs. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 170°F on an instant-read thermometer, 2 to 3 min. Pour immediately through the sieve into the bowl beneath it. (This removes any solid pieces of chocolate or egg.) Whisk the vanilla into the chocolate cream.
- Bake the custards: Evenly divide the mixture among the ramekins in the roasting pan. Pull out the oven shelf, put the roasting pan with the ramekins on it and carefully pour enough boiling water into the pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Try not to splash any into the custards. Gently lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the ramekins and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the custards are set about 1/4 inch in from the sides, the centers will have a firm jiggle (not a wavelike motion) when you nudge the ramekins, and the centers of the custards register 150° to 155°F on an instant-read thermometer (the hole left by the thermometer will close up as the custards firm).
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the custards remain in the water bath until it cools to room temperature. Gently lift the ramekins from the bath, set them on a wire rack to finish cooling, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to two days before serving. Garnish with whipped cream if you like.
- Serving Suggestions: Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream (or a rosette from a pastry bag), and you can add a sprig of mint or chocolate shavings sprinkled on top.
- Yield: 4 servings
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