Gluten-Free Dessert: Chocolate, Salt and Caramel Pots de Crème
I came home a few weeks ago with some European-style yogurt in tiny glass jars. “I got really cute yogurt at the grocery store. We can each try one tomorrow,” I said to Zack. Apparently he is no longer thrown by me saying such strange things as “I bought cute yogurt,” and just said something encouraging. A few hours later, I felt a shadow standing in the doorway and looked up from my laptop. He stared at me. Then he threw his arms up in the air and exclaimed that that was the cutest yogurt he had ever seen.
Before you write us off as completely crazy (well, we probably are), I had bought two servings of European yogurt in tiny, gold foil-topped glass jars. Each yogurt was a delicate pastel color and I was in love. Unfortunately, the texture…not so much. I gave it multiple chances to enchant me, but as a fan of thick, Greek yogurt, this nearly liquid dairy product wasn’t exactly my favorite. It tasted almost like kefir, which I love, but was eaten in runny spoonfuls, which just didn’t appeal to me. However, I confess that I kept buying them and forcing myself to have one for breakfast. I bought six in all over the next few days.
Yes, I kept buying these yogurts that I could hardly choke down because I wanted to keep the little glass jars. They were tiny and adorable and I knew from reading enough French food blogs and cookbooks that if I persevered, I would have the right materials for making pot de crème.
So now you know that with a lot of OCD and minimal effort, you too can have your own set of pot de crème jars.
This recipe is gluten-free and insanely rich and delicious. A delicate, caramel custard is topped with a thick layer of chocolate ganache and sprinkled with finishing salt. The truffle topping is almost like the burnt sugar shell of a crème brulée, as you have to break through it to get to the custard, adding a little bit of chocolate to every bite. Don’t be discouraged by the "caramel" part of the recipe. There is no specific temperature or "stage" you need to achieve, you’re just looking for depth of color and flavor.
As you have probably noticed, one of these little desserts did not survive the night…I just had to try one (it hadn’t even cooled yet…ahem) and I had no regrets about my impatience! Chocolate, salt and caramel? Yes, please.
Truffle-topped salted caramel pots de crème
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup cream
1 cup whole milk
2 medium eggs plus 1 yolk
Pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 fl oz whole milk
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Few tbsp Maldon or some other finishing salt
You will also need six 5-oz oven-safe jars and a Pyrex pan for a water bath.
Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar and cream to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning or sticking. The caramel will become golden brown and will have reduced by at least 1/3 when it is ready. It should have a distinct caramel taste.
While the caramel is boiling, crack the eggs into a medium bowl with the pinch of salt and whisk until smooth.
In another saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla to a boil. When it has boiled, reduce it to a simmer until the caramel is done.
Add the hot milk to the caramel, stirring constantly to prevent seizing (this is when the caramel looks curdled). Now, whisking the eggs vigorously, temper a little bit of the caramel and milk mixture into it in a fine stream. Whisk, then continue adding the hot caramel cream into the eggs in a stream, still whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking.
When it is incorporated, skim off any foam with a metal spoon and fill the jars about halfway or 2/3 of the way full so that they are all evenly filled. Place in the pPrex pan and fill the pan with hot water around the jars so that they are half covered.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, just until they no longer jiggle in the middle. Set aside on a wire rack to cool.
For the truffle topping, have your finely chopped chocolate ready in a small bowl. Steam the milk and pour over the chocolate, covering it completely. After a minute or two, stir the chocolate, making a smooth ganache. With a piping bag (or Ziploc with the corner cut out), pipe the hot ganache quickly onto the top of the warm custards, giving them each a small layer of chocolate over the top. You can use a spoon to smooth out any lumps and bumps. Allow the desserts to cool before individually covering with plastic wrap and allowing to chill until cool.
Sprinkle with a pinch of finishing salt and serve cold with a tiny spoon.
Find more recipes at www.tiramipursuit.com!
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