For a dinner party with friends, I wanted to make an elegant, but simple dessert to pair with cookies. The pot de crème recipe I chose is from the Scharffen Berger book, Essence of Chocolate. I used a mixture of chocolates that were not Scharffen Berger, there was some Trader Joe’s and a bit of Ghirardelli. The recipe is specific with the percentages of chocolates it requires but I think any combination will work, it just depends on the chocolatelyness of the finished product.
One trick I recently learned is to peel the ginger with the edge of a teaspoon, this work much better than a peeler.
These were delicious. The ginger flavor added something extra and gave them nice depth. I skipped the whipped cream and did a simple decoration of red, white, and green holiday sprinkles. I couldn’t really pop all the bubbles on top of them, so some have a “foamy” top while others have a smooth, glass-like finish depending on whether they were poured early with the foam part of the custard or later. This had no impact on taste. The recipe suggests a propane torch for breaking the bubbles, but since I don’t have one, I had to skip this step.
Chocolate Ginger Pots de Creme
adapted from Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg
1/3 cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger (about a 3-inch piece)
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/2 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 large egg yolks
Place the ginger in a small saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes. Drain.
In a large saucepan, bring the cream, milk, ginger, and sugar to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. (Keep a close watch on the pan; the cream can bubble up and over very quickly. Really.) Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 2 hours to infuse the cream with the flavor of the ginger.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 F. Arrange eight 5 to 6 ounce ramekins in a large baking pan or roasting pan, making sure the ramekins don’t touch each other or the edges of the plan.
Place both chocolates in a medium heatproof bowl and set over a pot of a gently simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. Or place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second increment until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Set a fine-mesh strainer over the top of the chocolate bowl. Reheat the milk and cream mixture over medium-high heat until it bubbles around the edges. Strain one-quarter of the hot milk and cream mixture onto the chocolate. Remove the strainer and whisk to combine. Return the strainer to the bowl, and add the the remaining milk and cream mixture. Whisk to combine. Discard the ginger.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Whisking constantly, slowly add the chocolate mixture until well combined. Set a strainer over a large measuring cup or a bowl with a spout and pour the mixture through the strainer to remove any curdled egg bits.
Divide the custard among the ramekins, and wipe the rims clean. Break up any bubbles that have settled on the surface with a skewer or with a quick pass of a propane torch, otherwise the surfaces may not be smooth.
Pour enough very hot water into the pan to come 1 inch up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the edges of the custards are firm but the very centers are not completely set. Carefully remove from the oven, and let the ramekins remain in the water bath for 10 minutes.
Remove the ramekins and cool for 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for at least several hours or up to 3 days. Serve cold or at room temperature. If desired, top each with a dollop of whipped cream.