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Five Pepper Chocolate Pots de Crème

Five Pepper Chocolate Pots de Crème
French for "pot of cream," pot de crème is a rich, velvety custard that is baked and served in a small pot or ramekin. Be careful not to overcook the custards. They should still tremble slightly when you remove them from the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. coarsely crushed five pepper blend
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 325°F. Have a pot of boiling water ready.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together 3/4 cup of the cream and the five pepper blend and warm until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into another small saucepan and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup cream.

Set the pan over medium heat and warm until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat and gently whisk in the chocolate until melted and well blended. Let cool slightly.

In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar. Using a whisk, beat until pale yellow and thick enough to fall from the whisk in a lazy ribbon, about 5 minutes. Slowly stir in the warm chocolate cream and add the vanilla.

Place 4 Apilco lion's head pot de crème pots with lids or 4 ramekins in a baking pan. Pour the chocolate mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl with a pouring spout. Divide the mixture evenly among the pots. Add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the pots.

Cover the pots with their lids or the ramekins with a single sheet of aluminum foil. Bake until the custards are just set at the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. They should still tremble slightly.

Remove the lids from the pots or the foil from the ramekins. Transfer the pots or ramekins to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days before serving.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Celebrating the Pleasures of Cooking, by Chuck Williams (Time-Life Books, 1997).