Monday, May 12, 2008

Deep Chocolate Cream

Click any photo for larger.

This was one chosen by my kids to make and is another absolute knockout. I mean out of the park big time taste sensation. There is more technique involved in this one than most of the other cakes I have made. Those are basically assembly dishes where this one is a bit more technical. This is what amounts to making a custard, then mixing in a whole bunch of chocolate. From the book, you will need:
  • 9.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate chopped fine (the book recommends a 65%, I used a 70%)
  • 1-2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar

Not too daunting of an ingredient list, but good 70% chocolate bars aren't cheap. For the chocolate I picked up some Ghirardelli bakers 70% chocolate at the store; 9.5 oz is two plus bars. Ghirardelli may not be the best (the book recommends Valrhona Mangari), but it is what the store had and was reasonable. Besides, Valrhona is made in France, so f*ck them anyways.

Put the chocolate in a bowl large enough to hold everything and set aside.

Bring the milk and cream to a boil. While this is happening, whisk the yolks and sugar. After the milk and cream mixture boils, SLOWLY drip about a quarter of it into the yolks, whisking all the while. DO NOT dump all of the hot milk/cream into the yolks unless you like scrambled eggs. After the yolks are tempered, you can drizzle the rest of the milk/cream in there, still whisking all the while. I don't have any photos of this process because I needed two hands.

Presto, you have just made a custard, albeit a very thin one (typically called creme anglaise).

Now heat the custard to 180, or do like I do and take a wooden spatula, dip it into the custard, and draw your finger down the center. If the custard doesn't fill in the track, you are ready.

Pour half of this mixture into the chocolate and stir to incorporate. If you have chopped your chocolate finely, this won't take more than a couple of minutes and you will have an intense chocolate liquid. Then pour half of what is left into the chocolate mixture and repeat. Then dump the remainder into the chocolate mixture and mix. I was supposed to strain the custard into the chocolate but forgot. It didn't mess up the end product.

Now you ladle or pour this chocolate cream into small cups or other containers and let set in the fridge for a couple of hours. If you don't want a skin to form, put a piece of plastic over the top. Since I am a guy and have no clue where the small decorative containers are located in my house (and the person in charge of these things was out at this time) I used something else that looked right - coffee cups.

The final product was outstanding.
It set up to a perfect consistency, a little thinner than pudding. The flavor really popped and the custard did a wonderful job to not only cut the bitter 70% flavor of the chocolate, but to enhance and intensify it. The recipe called for a raspberry coulis to be put on top of it, but my wife gave that the Heisman. This is probably the best dessert I have ever made, and I will be making it for company someday.

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