Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pots de Crème: An Easy Dessert That Should Help You Get Lucky On Valentine's Day

In my near-annual search for an easy-to-make recipe that should help get my Valentine's Day date in the mood, I decided on Pots de Crème, this year. It's easy to make, eminently customizable with romance-inducing ingredients, and it even has a cute French name, accent mark and all, that sounds romantic even when the pronunciation is butchered. (and let's face it, women love a guy who can speak a foreign language and/or have an accent). If you own a blowtorch, and what self-respecting household doesn't have one, then you can sprinkle some sugar on top and make creme brulee. So if you're making dinner for a special someone, and need a nice capper that will transition from the dining room to the um, bedroom, then try these petit Pots de Crèmes.

I should note that this recipe is more Euro-centric, and therefore, very eggy. If you want a denser, heavier custard, use 4 egg yolks and all heavy cream in lieu of the eggs and milk listed below. That version is actually easier to cook in a Fissler pressure cooker, since you don't have to be as exact with the cooking time.

Pots de Crème

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean

1. Split a vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the milk and heavy cream mixture. Bring this to a boil, then immediately turn off the heat. Let steep for 30 minutes, then strain or skim the skin off the top.
2. Meanwhile, whisk eggs and sugar together until you see a ribbon.
3. Pour some of the cream into the egg mixture and whisk together. Stir the egg mixture into the cream and stir until smooth.

Now you can customize your Pots de Crèmes. Here's a basic chocolate one. I made three, one with just chocolate, another with a dash of cayenne pepper, and one with cinnamon. Capsaicins from cayenne are supposed to get the blood flow going, and sweet spices like cinnamon are always an aphrodisiac scent. I also had cardamom whipped cream for even more fragrance, if need be.

custard mix
1/2 bar (50 g or 1.75 oz) dark chocolate, from 62%-71% cacao
1 tsp. cocoa powder

1. Either in a double boiler (a bowl held over a pot of boiling water), or the microwave, melt the chocolate. It'll only take 30 seconds in the microwave.
2. Temper the chocolate by whisking some of the custard mix into the melted chocolate, stirring constantly. Then pour the chocolate mix into the custard, along with cocoa powder, and stir.
3. Pour the mix into a ramekin or cup. Put into a Fissler pressure cooker and heat until the first ring. Turn the heat off and let cook for 12 minutes.
4. When done, open the pressure cooker naturally. Carefully remove and let cool. You can chill it once it gets to room temperature.

What can top chocolate as a Valentine's Day dessert? Caramel. My friend requested salted caramel. I have to say, this was the favorite for everyone.

2 cups sugar
heavy cream
1 tbsp. sea salt
custard mix

1. Heat sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat with just enough water to moisten the sugar. Heat until the sugar is an amber color. It should take about 20-30 minutes.
2. Turn off heat, stir in cream (it will splatter, so be careful), and whisk vigorously. Stir in salt. Let cool.
3. Stir in a couple of teaspoons of caramel sauce into the custard mix. Pour into cups or ramekins.
4. Put into a Fissler pressure cooker, heat until the first ring is raised, turn off heat and cook for 12 minutes.
5. Remove and let cool.

These desserts are best made ahead of time, which is for the better, since you can concentrate on other details tonight. So Happy Valentine's Day!

No comments:

Post a Comment