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CHAI CHOCOLATE POTS DE CREME

These chocolate pots de creme are an amazingly easy way to satisfy a sweet craving without turning on the oven.  Thanks to the folks at America’s Test Kitchen these little chocolate “puddings” go together quickly and easily, and you can serve them in any container you choose (such as beautiful vintage teacups).  Simply make a rich custard, pour it over chopped chocolate, stir gently to blend, then pour into your molds.  Chill for several hours and there you have it, chocolate pots de creme.  And because chocolate loves the company of warm spices, I chose to enhance my dessert with Chai tea flavors.  It’s the perfect do-ahead dessert for an autumn dinner party. 

Chai Chocolate Pots de Creme

(serves 8)

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60%), finely chopped

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup half-and-half

3 generous teaspoons loose Chai tea (I used Bombay Chai by Tea Forte)

5 large egg yolks

5 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon table salt

a large pinch of each of ground ginger, cardamom, cloves

a few grinds of white pepper

2 teaspoons ginger liqueur (optional)

1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped, for garnish

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-sized heatproof bowl with a fine-mesh sieve set atop the bowl.  Heat the cream and half-and-half to scalding in a medium, heavy saucepan.  Remove from the heat and add the tea, in a tea ball or paper T-sac, and cover the pot.  Let the tea infuse for 30 minutes.  Remove the tea ball or infuser and set the flavored cream aside.  Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl until combined.  Whisk in the now-cooled cream mixture and return the custard to the saucepan.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula or wooden spoon, until the custard thickens and registers about 175F on an instant-read thermometer.  Immediately pour the custard through the sieve over the chocolate.  Let the mixture stand about 4-5 minutes, to melt the chocolate.  Stir gently with your spatula or wooden spoon, from the center of the bowl, starting in a tight circle, until the chocolate and custard are blended together.  Do not mix too vigorously or you will introduce air bubbles to the custard.  At this point, add the additional ground ginger, cardamom, cloves, and white pepper to your taste.  Stir gently to blend and pour the chocolate mixture into eight 5-ounce ramekins or other attractive serving dishes.  Tap the molds gently on the counter to remove any air bubbles that have formed.  Cool, then refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap for 4 hours, or up to 3 days.  When ready to serve, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and dollop or pipe a portion atop each dessert.  Because these are so rich and flavorful, I prefer not to sweeten  the whipped cream. ( If you like you could add 2 teaspoons of sugar to the heavy cream as you whip it.)

(adapted slightly from “The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook” 2001-2010)

via The Devil's Food Advocate: Chai Chocolate Pots de Creme.

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