Valentine’s Day and chocolate are old friends. Doesn’t everyone love chocolate? Love and chocolate go together hand and hand. Pick your favorite flavor – dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate. Each captures the true spirit of the day in sweet form.
While store-bought boxed chocolates are lovely, homemade chocolate pots de crème are luscious. A traditional French recipe with a modern twist transforms wobbly custard into a delightfully decadent dessert. A good splash of Grand Marnier puts a French accent into the overall rich chocolate creamy flavor. Coconut milk makes an updated healthy addition to the pot de crème mix.
Top Shelf Ingredients Only
Armed with the right kitchen gadgets and best-quality ingredients, pots de crème are simple to do at home. Fine European-style chocolate like Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Chocolate Belgium bar are a must. For a subtly sublime orange flavor, use real Grand Marnier liqueur. Have the highest grade cream, eggs and honey on hand. All the right stuff makes a memorable dessert worthy of a special holiday like Valentine’s Day.
My Hidden Valentine Dishes
My new milk chocolate pots de crème adventure started in my basement. Cleaning conquers all and just in time for Valentine’s Day. An old forgotten box of heart-shaped terrines – ramekins deluxe – were in the back of my pantry. Nestled inside was a set of four soft-pastel colored ceramic hearts that looked like over-sized Valentine’s Day hard candies. Each had an inscription of Love, Je t’aime, Amore or Baci. The time had come to put these darling dishes to good use.
Enter homemade milk chocolate pots de crème made from scratch with tropical coconut milk. A new valentine’s day favorite was born.
Chocolate Says, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day!’
Milk chocolate pots de crème will impress even without fancy heart-shopped dishes. Plain ramekins or even small Mason jars will do. It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate and a good recipe in hand.
Pots de Crème
Ingredients:1 ¾ cup coconut milk, unsweetened, full fat (14-ounce can) ¾ cup heavy cream 1 ½ cups milk chocolate, coarsely chopped 5 egg yolks 1/3 cup honey ¼ cup Grand Marnier liqueur (orange and cognac)
Boil a big tea kettle full of water. Turn the heat on lowest setting to keep water warm.
Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325ºF.
Put six small ramekins in a large baking pan that has sides at least 2-inches high. Set aside near the oven.
In a heavy saucepan over low heat, slowly heat the coconut milk and heavy cream, stirring occasionally until almost boiling. Add chocolate and continue stirring until the chocolate melts. Pull off heat and set aside.
With a handheld blender carefully mix the egg yolks, honey and Grand Marnier in a large measuring cup. (Use a whisk if you do not have a hand-held blender.) Quickly mix a few tablespoons of the warm chocolate mixture to temper the egg mixture. Whirl (with a hand held mixer) or whisk the tempered egg mixture into the pan of chocolate until thoroughly combined.
Slowly fill each ramekin with custard to an even height. Work carefully over the ramekin filled pan. Open oven and pull out shelf about halfway. Transfer the ramekin-filled pan to the oven with great care. Pour enough hot water to come half to three-quarters up the sides of the ramekins. Slowly push the shelf back into the oven without spilling or slopping any of the custards or boiling water.
Bake the custards until almost set about 40 minutes. Remove from oven using care so the water doesn’t spill into the ramekins. Let the pots de crème cool a bit before taking out of the pan with a heavy weight spatula.
Cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for four hours until set, overnight is best.
Top with lightened sweetened whipped cream. A few sprinkles of chocolate curls add a finishing touch. For chocolate curls: Use a carrot peeler to shave off slivers of a thick good quality chocolate bar. Be sure to make extra, these chocolate nibbles disappear fast and the pots de crème will too.
This is an adaptation of the chocolate-raspberry pots de crème recipe from the Taste for Life Kitchen.