I meant to stick to my intention of blogging once a week, but last week, life got in the way. And a little storm some call Nemo, but which I prefer to refer to simply as the Blizzard of 2013. So here goes: the first of this week’s two posts to get me back up to speed.
Last Sunday was the Chinese New Year. It’s the Year of the Snake, a year that is particularly significant to me because my darling husband’s Chinese zodiac sign is the snake (this happy confluence means he has a birthday coming up that is a multiple of 12). But I digress.
When the kids were small, I didn’t really make a proper dessert for our Chinese New Year dinner celebration but kept it simple – fresh fruit, usually clementines. While I still give them clementines with their red envelopes, in recent years I added a simple dessert. Last year, I made Crème Caramel. This year, I decided to make another dessert that I learned in my Classic Pastry class at Johnson and Wales: Chocolate Pots de Crème. I’ve never even really eaten Pot de Crème; the day we made Crème Caramel, Pots de Crème and Crème Brulée in class, the desserts were assigned by team. My team made the Crème Brulée. While knowing how to make Crème Brulée is a fabulous life skill, this meant my team only got to eat the Crème Brulée. So I figured this would be an excellent opportunity to sample some!
I chose this recipe from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert, found on the Culinate site. Baked custards and water baths used to intimidate me, but they really are fairly forgiving and quite simple. One of the terrific things about this particular recipe is that it uses ingredients I generally have in the house (for example, half and half rather than whole milk and heavy cream).
These were a big hit with my family. They would be best described as a chocolate egg custard (without being too eggy); my husband likened it to Chocolate Mousse, but without its lightness. I served them at room temperature without any garnish, but they would be wonderful with a dollop of Chantilly Cream. My discerning eater C. lamented that the recipe makes too little (six ramekins!), so I’m pretty certain I will be making these again. Happy Year of the Snake!