Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chocolate and Orange Pot de Crème

While visiting England I discovered the divine combination of chocolate with orange. I have never been a huge fan of chocolate. I would always rather finish with a fruit tart on the occasion. But I was tempted by decadent pots of yogurt with bits of chocolate and orange and…well…chocolate orange Kit Kats. I even went as far as to search out British grocers online to buy orange chocolate when I returned to the States.

These delicious pots are perfect for Valentine’s Day when a luxurious treat is in order. This version is made with agave nectar to cut down on the sugar used in traditional custards. Cointreau is an orange flavored liqueur from France. You might be able to find it in small bottles at the liquor store if you would only want to use it for this recipe. 1% milk is used in this recipe to produce a lighter dessert. Serving the custards with an orange also cuts the creamy richness.

4 ounces dark chocolate, broken
1 tablespoon Cointreau
2 tablespoons agave nectar
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup 1% milk
½ cup (35%) heavy cream
4 egg yolks
Agave whipped cream (1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 teaspoon agave nectar), to serve
Oranges, to serve

Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, add the chocolate, Cointreau, agave nectar and sea salt. Set aside.

In a small pot over medium high heat, while whisking to prevent scorching, bring the milk and heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat immediately and pour over the chocolate. Whisk to combine well and melt the chocolate. Drop one egg yolk at a time into the chocolate mixture using an electric mixer to incorporate the egg quickly before it cooks from the heat of the hot milk and cream.

Line a small roasting pan with a towel then arrange 4 ramekins (1/2 cup) on the towel. Fill each ramekin with the chocolate mixture. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water to go halfway up the side of the ramekin. Cook for 35 minutes. Remove from the pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the custards until ready to serve.

The agave whipped cream is made by whisking ½ cup (35%) heavy cream with 1 teaspoon of agave nectar until stiff peaks form. Top the chocolate custards with whipped cream and serve with orange sections.

Serves 4

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