Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chocolate Pots

Two words that should always go together: chocolate and cream. I mean, come on. What can be better after a light spring supper then rich dark chocolate coupled with a thick cold cream. I don't know, but this desert certainly hit the mark. And it was so easy to make. I'm no pastry chef and usually end of cooking deserts that are always a failure. My cakes look like giant cookies and my cookies look like mini cakes. But this. This was effortless. Plus you get to make it almost as far in advance as you want. Which makes it great for all of you people out there who like to host dinner parties. Listen to me, I sound like a TV chef.

Anyways, I took this recipe from Trish Hilferty's Gastropub Classics. It's a great cookbook. For all of those unfamiliar with the term, a gastropub has the atmosphere and beer selection of a regular pub but it's food goes well beyond the deep-fryer. It's like a fine dining hand reaching down into the grease pot of a pub and transforming it into a sumptuous yet posh-less experience. Or so I've read.

So the desert section of this cookbook is full of what the author calls puddings. Here is one great example of simplicity and great flavours coming together for something rich but also light at the same time.

Trish Hilferty's Chocolate Pots

1/2 vanilla pod (I cheated and used vanilla extract. I'm cheap.)
175ml double cream (called heavy cream on this side of the pond)
125g dark chocolate with 70 % cocoa solids, chopped (I used 85% Lindt which was awesome)
75ml milk
2 organic egg yolks
30g icing sugar

Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit of 140 degrees Celsius. Slit the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds, then put the pod and seeds in a small pan with the cream. Warm the cream, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. In a seperate pan, melt the chocolate in the milk over a gentle heat, then leave to the side to cool a little.

Whisk together the eggl yolks and icing sugar, then pour in the chocolate milk and the cream. Mix together, pass the mixture through a sieve and pour into 6 ramekins. Place the ramekings in a baking tray and pour enough hot water into the tray to come half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for between 45 minutes and 1 hour, until the puddings are a little spongy and puffed up. Leave to cool for around 4 hours before serving.

We served them with cream but the addition of raspberries is also a suggestion of the author.

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