Saturday, February 14, 2009

Too much chocolate?

Ok, you say, how can that be so? I am sharing a recipe from a friend of mine, who shared it with family and friends about 3 years ago. I finally got around to trying it, because, well, what goes well with Valentine's Day? Chocolate, of course! This recipe is for Mocha Velvet Cream Pots and it is from the Cook's Encyclopedia of Chocolate. (And my friend knows who she is. Well, actually, I think her husband made these for her family, he's the chocolatier).

The following recipe has lots of annotations, so you will probably just want to copy it by hand from here.

Mocha Velvet Cream Pots

Serves 8 [I cut the recipe in half, and thus had four pots of Mocha Velvet Cream]

1T instant coffee powder [my friends used instant espresso from an Italian grocery, I used Taster's Choice and I have a measuring spoon that measures 1/2 T, which is very handy, I might add]

2 cups milk [I used 1 cup of skim, because that's what we had]

6T of sugar [I used 3T]

8 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped into small pieces [my friend recommended Ghiradelli, which I used, but didn't know if the 60% or 72% bittersweet chocolate was the right one to use. No other Ghiradelli choices in our store (did I mention we live in a small town?). I decided to use the 60% because I was serving it to my kids, and I used 4 oz]

2 teaspoons vanilla [I used 1t]

2T coffee liqueur [optional, my friends didn't use it, and neither did I, again serving to kids]

7 egg yolks [ok, you're wondering, how did I split one egg yolk in half? I didn't. Somewhere at the back of my foggy brain, I knew, read, found out that when splitting eggs in half for a recipe and of course you really can't, you round up. I used 4 egg yolks. I would have gone for the smallest eggs, but they were all kind of big.]

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place eight 1/2 cup custard cups or ramekins [I used four, the recipe also notes you can use oven proof coffee mugs] in a roasting pan [a casserole also works, and is what I used]. Set aside. [side note: about three years ago, I bought 8 1/2 cup ramekins from IKEA with the intent for actually making these little desserts. Yes, this is the first time I used them.]

2. Put the instant coffee into a saucepan. Stir in the milk, then add the sugar and set the pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until both the coffee and sugar have dissolved completely. [this actually happened before it even came close to boiling, so I kept it on until it boiled and then on a little longer]

3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until it has melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the vanilla and coffee liqueur, if using. [my chocolate never seemed fully melted, it was very grainy in the pan. I did not put it back on the heat, but I was sorely tempted. I don't know what was going on there. Maybe that's normal for Ghiradelli?]

4. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks to blend them lightly. Slowly (very!!) whisk in the chocolate mixture until well mixed (start with a slow bead of chocolate mixture into the egg so you don't cook the egg0, then strain into a large pitcher (or large pyrex measuring cup, which I have!). The straining removes any little cooked bits of eggs - yuck![my friend's notation, I actually had very little bits and they might have been chocolate. This went much better than expected, except it was hard to keep a slow bead of mix flowing out of the pan into the egg. It was more like dribbling down the side of the pan and I was worried it would not make it into the bowl.] Divide the mixture evenly among the cups or ramekins. [It actually makes slightly less than an actual 1/2 cup in each bowl, in case you were wondering]

Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan (or casserole) to come halfway up the sides of the cups or ramekins (less if you are using the coffee cups) [and I wondered, why is that?]

5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the custard is just set and the knife inserted into the custard comes out clean. [for me it was actually 40 minutes before this happened] Remove the cups or ramekins from the pan and let cool. Place on a baking sheet, cover and chill completely [if you don't have room for a whole baking sheet in your fridge, you can cover each and set them individually around the fridge] Decorate with whipped cream, if desired.

VERDICT: Well, it was very rich. The small half cup serving was all I could handle. My children couldn't finish theirs. Not even close. WC #1 had it with whipped cream and more milk to drink, which seemed to help, but he gave up. WC #2 really wasn't impressed. The first bite or two got raves and then it was too much. It really did need the whipped cream to cut the richness a little. Whew! It was good chocolate, but really only for adults. I thought I did pretty well on the first try. But, I'm unsure about Ghiradelli and its melting abilities, and perhaps I should have used milk with a little fat. Though, that might add to the richness. Shoot, I should have taken a picture.

I also need to have other recipes to use in the ramekins, because, honestly, I am not going to be making this that often.


Aliceson said...

What if you served this with some fresh strawberries or respberries?

Sounds yummy to me but I am a chocoholic. Also, you can make so many things in your ramekins. I serve pudding in them, little servings of fruit salad, sauces, dips. They are the perfeect size for us and we use them all of the time. I recently made strawberry mousse (store bought Mix) and served it in little chocolate cups (also store bought) and topped with a whole strawberry. They were easy, beautiful and yummy and totally impressed the hell out of my friends.

Braja said...

Sounded great til the egg yolks; I'm a pure vegetarian: no meat, fish, eggs. But I do dairy. Sometimes yogurt is an egg replacement in cakes and things, but I doubt it would work here...