This one was just too good, I had to share.
My daughter loves to bake with me. If she gets to crack an egg or stir something she wants to be a part of it, especially if she also gets to taste. So when she suggested that we make something the other day, something chocolate, I was all for it. She said the magic word, after all, chocolate. There are days when chocolate is required and this was one of those days.
I had been dreaming about this chocolate cream pie I made a little while back for Thanksgiving. It's an excellent recipe from King Arthur's Flour. I didn't want to go through the trouble of making the crust though - so I just made the custard and divided them into ramekins so they would be easy to grab from the fridge. I love portions, they make my life easier. Besides, the chocolate is so good I might be halfway through the pie before I realized I had eaten half a pie!! Ramekins keep me in check. Well, that is the theory anyway.
I did tinker a little bit with the recipe; sometimes I just can't help myself. My absolute favorite chocolate to bake with is Scharffen Berger 70% and I wanted to use it for this recipe. (I buy it in bulk; chocolate and I are good friends. It was the obvious choice…). Anyway, that meant I needed to up the sugar a little bit since that is a darker chocolate than the recipe called for. I also added some espresso powder to enhance the flavor of the chocolate – just a bit, nothing drastic. And lastly, I kicked up the salt just a touch. The end result is a thick chocolate pudding, not too sweet or too heavy, positively chocolate heaven with some whipped cream. (Pudding…custard…I'm not really sure what to classify this as. I looked it up and puddings are typically thickened with cornstarch and custards with egg – this has both. Best of both worlds? Whatever, it's delicious.)
I start by chopping up the chocolate into small chunks and putting them in a large bowl with the butter and the vanilla. I like to use a glass bowl for chocolate. It distributes the heat better and you can see it a little better. Then I set the bowl aside while I deal with the rest of the ingredients.
In a medium sauce pan, off the heat, I combine the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, salt, and espresso powder. The espresso powder isn't a deal breaker, but my husband recently bought it for me and it does help enhance the flavor of the chocolate. It's been something I have wanted to try and yeah, it makes a difference.
First I add about a 1/4 cup of the cream. It still had a bit of chill on it, but it wasn't straight from the fridge. I whisk (or rather, my assistant whisks) until there are no lumps.
Repeat with another 1/4 cup of cream...
and then I add the egg yolks and whisk until smooth.
After the yolk is fully incorporated, its time to put the pot on the burner on medium heat. I gradually add the rest of the cream and then all of the milk, whisking all the while. Slowly I bring the mixture to a boil, still whisking, until it thickens. I boil for about a minute until it is nice and smooth and noticeably thicker.
Then its time to add the hot mixture to the reserved chocolate and butter. Almost done, it just needs a bit of stirring until all of the chocolate melts and everything is smooth and combined.
Here comes the messy part, I poor - or well, spoon the mixture through a strainer and into 8 ramekins. (I cleaned them up a bit after I was done.) It might be easier to pour it through a strainer into another bowl and then spoon it into the ramekins, but I didn't want to dirty another bowl. I admit it, that was a bit lazy on my part.
Each ramekin gets covered in plastic wrap, making sure to touch the top of the pudding - so that the pudding doesn't form a skin. Then they need to chill completely. Yes, you could eat them warm - but they taste even better the next day. Not that you need to wait until the next day...
Finally it was time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We topped with some whipped cream and served.
Lexi (a.k.a. my assistant) approves. Enjoy!
Double Chocolate Custard Cups
Thick dark chocolate custard with just the right amount of sweetness. Top with whipped cream and you are in for a treat. Makes 8 4oz cups. Adapted from King Arthur's Flour "Gluten-Free Cream Pie".'
- 1 1/3 cup (approx. 7 oz) 70% Chocolate (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (dutch processed)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups milk
1. Place the butter, chopped chocolate pieces, and the vanilla extract into a large bowl. Set aside.
2. In a medium sauce pan (off the heat), combine sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, salt, and espresso powder (if using).
3. Whisk 1/4 cup of heavy cream into the sugar mixture until there are no clumps and the mixture is uniform. It will be thick. Repeat with another 1/4 cup of cream, then whisk in the egg yolks.
4. Place the sauce pan on the stove and over medium heat, gradually whisk in the remaining cream and then the milk.
5. Slowyly bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly as it thickens. Boil for 1 minute.
6. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture over the reserved chocolate and butter. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. (About half way through I found it easier to use a spatula to stir.)
7.Pour the mixture through a strainer into ramekins, dividing evenly between the eight (to remove any lumps).
8. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of each ramekin to prevent a skin from forming. Chill completely, about 1 hour although they taste even better the next day - if you can wait that long.
9. Remove platic and serve with whipped cream.