Some people say chocolate is magical. It seems like many celebrations and holidays would be incomplete without it. The ancient Central Americans revered it as a special thing reserved for nobility. As a chef, I am grateful to have this ingredient to create with. I feel that, while it is special and magical, it should not be reserved for nobility or special events. Good chocolate should be savored simply, with very little embellishment. This classic French pot de crème expresses how a few simple ingredients can make magic when treated with good technique. Prepare this when you have a holiday to celebrate, or if Aztec royalty move into the neighborhood. Or better yet, just make it because you love chocolate.
Pot de crème
2 cups heavy cream
1 t. instant espresso powder (or instant coffee)
4 oz. chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (or a combination, we use callibaut brand)
6 egg yolks
3 Tb. sugar
1/4 t. salt (preferably sea salt)
Heat the cream, espresso powder and chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, beat together the egg yolks, sugar and salt in a medium-large bowl.
When the cream mixture is almost at a simmer, gradually pour it into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking to combine as you do so. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat, stirring almost constantly, on medium-low until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (or reaches 175-180 degrees, if you have an instant read thermometer), about five minutes. Do not let the mixture overheat or simmer. Quickly pour the custard into a clean bowl (or the previous one, rinsed in hot water) and chill until cold. Serve with whipped cream.