The Eggs are Coming! Chocolate Pots de Crème

Mar 13, 2024

As the daylight hours increase in the spring, exciting things begin to happen in the natural world. Crocuses, tulips and daffodils start to poke through the soil, the frequency of pileated woodpecker drumrolls intensify as the males become more territorial, carpet beetles start to hatch, and farm-raised chickens and ducks begin laying eggs in abundance.

Biologically speaking, our feathered friends need about 14 hours of daylight to create maximum egg production.  This marvel of nature is tuned to the cycle of raising birds.   Chicks that hatch in the spring, even the local residents of geese and ducks here in Crockett Cove, have the best chance to develop and mature during the warmer summer months.

For omnivores, ovo-vegetarians and other egg overs, this is great news.  With the long months of winter behind us, we can start enjoying eggs with abandon.

The egg is nature’s most nearly perfect food.  The white is an excellent source of protein and riboflavin, and the yolk contains protein, iron, Vitamins A and D, choline and phosphorus.  Eggs are extremely versatile, and widely used in all cuisines.

We can thank the French for Chocolate Pots de Crème, and this recipe is from my archives.  A gently set custard, this dessert is delectable, smooth, with a creamy texture, light and sinful.

The expression, pots de crème, literally translated means “pots of cream”, which is used for both the pudding and the darling porcelain cups in which they may be prepared.  Crème pots date back to the early 1700’s, when major European porcelain manufacturers like Sevres, Limoges, Dresden and Wedgewood produced renditions of the dainty cup, always shown with the dessert service.

Don’t despair if you didn’t inherit great-grandmother’s china, as there are many other options.  A four-ounce ramekin or custard cup works, as does a four-ounce canning jar.  For best results, use a good quality chocolate.  Be sure to strain the cooked chocolate mixture before baking, as it is the key to the smooth and creamy texture.  Use a timer and don’t over bake the custard, it should just start to set.

Chocolate Pots de Crème are the piece de resistance to a simple supper or a festive meal, like Easter dinner.  When prepared in a canning jar, these tasty treats will make you a hero when packed into the lunchbox.  With this sinful dessert, the healthy and bountiful eggs of spring are a luxury for us all to enjoy.

Cheryl’s Notes:  No fancy double boiler?  A one-quart or larger stainless bowl that fits into a saucepan works just as well.  What to do with all those egg whites?  Angel food cake or meringues come to mind.  Shoot me an email for a recipe.

 

 

CHOCOLAT POTS de CRÈME

Cheryl Wixson
Prepare this sinful dessert in the morning. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, and impress your dinner guests in the evening.

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups light cream divided
  • 4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • teaspoons vanilla

Instructions
 

  • Gather ingredients and tools.  Center the rack in the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
  • Separate the egg yolks into a mixing bowl and the whites into a glass jar.  Refrigerate the whites for later use and set the egg yolks aside.
  • Using a double boiler over medium temperature, heat ½ cup cream and the chocolate. 
  • Whisk and heat the mixture until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.
  • In the mixing bowl, stir the egg yolks lightly to mix – do not beat until foamy. Heat the remaining 1½ cups cream.  Stir in the sugar and salt. 
  • Add the cream to the eggs, stirring constantly
  • Add the egg mixture to the double boiler chocolate, whisk, and stirin the vanilla.  Cook over medium heat,stirring constantly with a rubber scraper until the mixture starts to thicken.
  • Pour the mixture through a fine strainer into a pitcher. 
  • Divide the mixture between six individual ½cup soufflé dishes, glass jars, or pot de crème cups.   Do not fill all the way. 
  • Place the cups in a shallow baking pan.  Pour hot water into the pan to about half the depth of the cups. 
  • Place a cookie sheet over the top to cover the cups (or if you have used pot de crème cups, put their covers on)
  • Bake for 22 minutes.  The usual test for baked custard is to insert a small, sharp knife halfway between the middle and the edge and when it comes out clean, they are done.  However, with this recipe, if it comes out clean the pots are overdone.  The custard will look soft, but it will become firmer as it chills.  It is best if it is still creamy in the center when served. Place on a rack to cool,
  • Then refrigerate a few hours.

Cheryl's Notes

Makes six ½ cup servings.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 265 calories, 6 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrates, 20 grams fat, 45 mg. sodium, 1.5 grams fiber

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