I can’t think of a clever title or anything witty to say for this recipe because this is one serious dessert. As such, I will try to maintain a serious mood for this post.
Tomorrow night we’re hosting our first Passover Seder since moving to Boston. I’ve been thinking about the menu for some time. Usually I get a bit of inspiration from one source or another, and then I build the meal around that. The inspiration might be for an entire dish, or for a particular ingredient I want to use. It occurred to me, as a non-meat eater, I could make a dairy Seder and then dessert would have so many more options! This idea, combined with a desire to make Pots de Creme, quickly overruled any notions of chicken soup or other leading dish.
I first encountered these little containers of chocolate heaven last summer while in Paris. I didn’t think very much about the small jar when I purchased it from a market one day. As I was sitting in the Tuileries Garden, this Pots au Chocolate completely transported me. I was no longer aware of the children calling out in play, of the heat of the day, of the crunch of gravel underfoot as people passed us. All I could think about was the smooth cream on my spoon and the way it coated my tongue and dissolved as I ate it.
When we came home from vacation I printed out several different recipes to make Pots de Creme. They got pushed to the side and forgotten about in the bustle of day-to-day activities. Luckily, it came back to me as I was thinking about Chametz-free desserts. Creating an entire menu around the dessert is a little like picking out an outfit to go with a fabulous pair of shoes. But, it’s not completely crazy or unheard of.
So, with my dessert decided, I was able to think about the rest of the meal. But I know you really want to hear more about dessert. Deciding to make Pots de Creme was my first bit of inspiration.
The second part came from a post I’d seen several months ago on making pie in a jar. This is a brilliant idea that has really stuck in my mind. After reading that post, I went right out to a store and bought some wide mouth canning jars. They’ve been sitting in our cabinet ever since. Every now and then I look at them, think about what type of pie might go inside, and put them back. Or, I take one out and use it as convenient storage for something else.
So, this lead me to Pots de Creme in a jar. You see, I don’t really have any fancy jars made just for this dish. And although it might be nice to purchase some cute fancy jars, we live in a small apartment where storage space is at a premium. There is no room for tools that are uni-taskers. The budget also does not allow me to purchase a fancy set of pots, no matter how beautiful they may be. Luckily, canning jars are ridiculously cheap. They’re cheaper than your average cup of coffee. Yippee!
Dark Chocolate Pots de Creme in a Jar
2 c. milk (I used 1%, as that is what we have. You can use whole milk if you like)
1 c. heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (70-75% cocoa content) finely chopped. I used a combination of Lindt and Valrhona.
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
dash of salt (approx. 1/8 tsp.)
1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. Prepare pan(s) for water bath. I used 2 brownie pans. Line pan(s) with parchment paper. This prevents the little jars from sliding around and from having direct contact with the bottom of the pan.
3. Put up pot of water/teakettle to boil. Turn off and set aside when it boils.
4. Whisk egg yolks, sugar, salt, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl until well combined.
5. In a double boiler (or a bowl sitting on top of a pot of boiling water), heat milk and cream.
6. Whisk in chocolate.
7. Continue to whisk until chocolate melts completely into the milk.
8. Remove from heat and dry off outside of bowl. You don’t want any condensation to accidentally drip into your food!
9. Slowly pour chocolate milk into the egg mixture, whisking as you combine.
10. Continue to whisk for a minute, and to prevent egg from setting.
11. Strain into another bowl to remove any lumps. It should look smooth and shiny.
12. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
13. Skim off any foam that is on the surface.
14. Pour into your jars. I ladled the mixture into a liquid measuring cup and then poured it into the jars. This made it easy to pour and less clumsy than if I was holding the entire mixture all at once.
15. Cover jars with aluminum foil and punch holes in the foil to allow steam to escape.
16. Put prepared pan in oven.
17. Carefully put jars in pan. Don’t let them touch each other.
18. Pour hot water from teakettle into pan, filling to about halfway up the side of your jars.
19. Bake for 40-55 minutes, until creme is set. If you jiggle a jar, it should be firm at the sides and still jiggle a little in the middle.
20. Remove jars and foil covering and let cool on a rack for 30 minutes.
Don’t you love a dessert that comes in individual servings and can be made ahead of time?