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Weekend Recipe: Chocolate Pots de Crème

Looking for something exceptionally chocolatey? These pots de creme (sort of a fancy pudding) from America's Test Kitchen fit the bill perfectly. Be sure to use the type of chocolate called for -- it leads to the best results!

Photo courtesy America's Test Kitchen
Photo courtesy America's Test Kitchen

Chocolate Pots de Crème
Serves 8

10 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
5 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream (cold)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnish (optional)
Cocoa powder for dusting
Chocolate shavings for sprinkling

1. FOR THE POTS DE CREME: Place chocolate in medium heatproof bowl; set fine-mesh strainer over bowl and set aside.

2. Whisk yolks, sugar, and salt in medium bowl until combined; whisk in heavy cream and half-and-half. Transfer mixture to medium saucepan. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon, until thickened and silky and custard registers 175 to 180 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 8 to 12 minutes (see photos, below). Do not let custard overcook or simmer.

3. Immediately pour custard through strainer over chocolate. Let mixture stand to melt chocolate, about 5 minutes. Whisk gently until smooth, then whisk in vanilla and espresso. Divide mixture evenly among eight 5-ounce ramekins. Gently tap ramekins against counter to remove air bubbles.

4. Cool pots de crème to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 72 hours. Before serving, let pots de crème stand at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes.

5. FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM: Using hand mixer or standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds longer. Increase speed to high; continue beating until nearly doubled in volume and whipped cream forms soft peaks, 30 to 45 seconds longer.

6. Dollop each pot de crème with about 2 tablespoons whipped cream; garnish with cocoa or chocolate shavings, if using. Serve.

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