Friday, November 23, 2007

Orange Chocolate Pots de Creme

I have a high standard for chocolate. Initially, I liked Scharffen Berger for several reasons. It was a small company that seemed to care about the quality of its product. It was made in a setting free from nuts. It performed well if shaved or melted. And, it tasted good.

Now that Scharffen Berger is owned by Hershey's, its quality has degraded somewhat and the labels do not indicate it is nut-free. The quality of the chocolate is still excellent, but its manufacturing conditions have changed.

As a result, I am now looking for a replacement and have added global awareness to my expectations. I want several things of my chocolate:
  • Is free from nuts and dairy
  • Performs well in the kitchen (melting point, shaving)
  • Made by people whose intention is finest quality chocolate
  • Made using fair-trade practices
I haven't found a chocolate that meets these criteria. If you know of one, please be in touch!

Orange Chocolate Pots de Creme

A key to success
is the temperature of the cream mixture when it is removed from the heat. Remove too soon -- when the mixture runs off the back of a wooden spoon -- and the pots de creme will not congeal and will be too thin. Remove it too late -- when the mixture shows lumps of coagulating egg yolk -- and the pots de creme will taste grainy and not be able to fully incorporate the chocolate.

Yields 8 servings.

10 oz bittersweet chocolate
5 yolks from large eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup water
zest of one large orange (about 3 tsp)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla

1. Using box grater, grate chocolate. Place in heatproof bowl and set aside at room temperature with fine-mesh sieve.

2. In heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk yolks, cream, water, zest, and salt until smooth. Heat gradually over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. When cream mixture reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit and coats the back of the spoon, about 12 minutes, immediately remove from heat and pour through sieve into chocolate.

3. Wait 2 minutes for chocolate to melt and whisk gently until thoroughly blended. Do not whip. Pour into ramekins or individual serving bowls. Cool to room temperature, then chill for at least 4 hours.

4. To serve, remove ramekins from refrigerator 20 minutes before serving. Can be served with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and gratings of chocolate or sprinkles of cocoa.


Anonymous said...

Yummy, yummy, yummy! This was so good. Thanks, Marshall.

Marshall said...

I now prefer Theo chocolate and encourage your investigation of their products. They are highest quality chocolate, organic, and fair trade.