This classic French dessert with a bit of a twist is modeled after a luscious variation I had at The Gilbert Scott in London several years ago. The dark chocolate custard is topped with a layer of ice cider gelée, whose tart apple underpinnings balance the creamy richness below. You’ll need some 6 ounce custard cups and a some sort of roasting or brownie pan that is about as deep at the custard cups are tall.
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 2 Tbsp superfine sugar
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 pinch of salt
- ¾ cup ice cider
- ½ tsp powdered gelatin
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Mix the egg yolks, whole egg, and sugar together in a large bowl until they are fully blended but not frothy.
Break the chocolate into pieces and put them in the top of a double boiler along with 2 Tbsp of the cream and the salt. (If you don’t have a double boiler, you can make one by simply placing a metal bowl over a pot with a couple of inches of water in it.) Bring the water in the bottom of the double boiler to a simmer and let the chocolate melt, stirring from time to time so that the chocolate stays nice and creamy. Meanwhile, put the rest of the cream and the milk in a separate pot and heat until the mixture has just started to form little bubbles around the edge. Turn off the heat and reserve until the chocolate has completely melted. Once the chocolate has melted, take it off the heat and begin whisking in the hot milk/cream a little at a time. You may need to add a little, whisk a lot, add a little, whisk a lot for a while so that the milk/cream fully incorporates into the chocolate without separating. Eventually you can add more milk/cream at a time, whisking away, until all the milk/cream is in.
Pour about ¼ cup of the hot chocolate cream into the eggs, while beating them so they don’t scramble, then whisk the tempered eggs back into the chocolate cream. Fill 6 custard cups with the custard-to-be to about ½ inch of the rim, place them in the roasting pan, then fill the pan with boiling water – just enough so that it comes about half-way up the sides of the custard cups. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the custard seems fully set (it will jiggle a little in the middle, but will look more or less solid). Remove from the oven, and the roasting pan, and chill for at least 2 hours.
To make the ice cider gelée, put the ice cider in a small pan then sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let them sit for 5 minutes, then bring to a simmer. Simmer 1 minute, then let it sit off heat for 2 minutes. Pour onto the top of the chilled pots de créme, and chill again until the gelée has set, at least 2 hours.
Makes 6 pots de créme