Well, it’s Monday again, and Mondays call for chocolate (Or margaritas. Pick your poison).
I am extra sad to see this past weekend end because my little sister and her boyfriend were here visiting. While they only live about 2 hours away, it’s far enough with our busy schedules that we only see them once or twice every couple months. And given how close I am with my sisters, this is tough. Especially with Kieran in the mix. It’s basically torture for her to be far from him and to go long stretches without seeing him. So, getting a whole weekend with them was a special treat.
Thus, the fact that they’re gone again makes this Monday slightly more depressing than usual. That, and I’ve been summoned for jury duty today. Boo. Lucky for me, chocolate is on the menu, and it’s just the thing to soothe my Monday blues.
Pots de creme are such a deceptively easy dessert to make. Seriously. If you are baking challenged, this dessert is for you! It’s really simple. And I’ve never met a person that didn’t like a pot de creme. It’s just a fancy way to say “pudding.” Yup. Extra-special chocolate pudding. Not being a HUGE pudding fan myself, I am not inclined to make desserts like this often. It’s totally a texture thing for me. I need varying textures and crunch! Pudding, while delicious, was always kind of boring to me.
But not anymore! Anytime I decide to make pots de creme, I go for a dark chocolate variation. It’s slight bitterness is my favorite. And I often add a slightly salty element, like with this peanut butter version. In today’s case, I’ve added some crunchy Himalayan sea salt for both flavor and texture as well as some pink peppercorns (!). I know it may sound crazy to add salt and pepper to your dessert, and well, it kind of IS weird. I can admit that. BUT! I promise you’ll like it.
My confidence comes from the fact that salty desserts are amazing. By now, the fact that I’m adding sea salt to something sweet should come as no surprise. It’s a proven success. The Himalayan sea salt is extra fun to me because it’s PINK! It makes for a beautiful garnish.
Along those same lines, how gorgeous are pink peppercorns?! I love cooking with them, both in savory and now sweet dishes. They’re slightly fruitier than your traditional black peppercorn. Which actually makes them perfect for sweet applications. The key is to have a light hand with the pepper. While it adds a fun and unexpected savory note to things, you definitely don’t want your pudding to taste like a steak. I mean, even I, with all my adventurous eating habits, would probably not be down for that. After all, dessert IS meant to be sweet.
In this case, the sweet is seasoned. Seasoned with a hint of savory. It’s a really cool taste and texture experience, and both those things are equally important in my world. If you reeeaaally can’t get into the idea of a salt and pepper dessert, the recipe for pots de creme will still work without them. Maybe drizzle them with a little salted caramel before serving? Or more chocolate sauce (because that’s never a bad idea). Or go all out and join me on the edge. The fact that the salt and pepper are both pink mean that it was meant to be. At least in my world.
The biggest bonus: the aforementioned fact that these are a cinch to make. You really let your blender do all the work. The only catch is that these pots de creme, like all pudding desserts, need some time to set in the fridge before you serve them. But the actual cooking process is soooo easy! ANYONE can make these. Promise!
So, if you’re in need of some Monday de-stressing, pull out your spoons and meet me in the kitchen. I’ll provide the chocolate and you bring extra whipped cream. Let’s do this.
9 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1½ cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
½ teaspoon crushed pink peppercorns
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
Himalayan sea salt
Crushed pink peppercorns
Place the chopped chocolate in a blender.
Whisk the milk, cream, egg yolks, sugar, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan. Place the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 5 minutes. If it starts to simmer, reduce the heat slightly. You definitely don’t want this mixture to come to a boil or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.
Once it is thickened, remove from the heat and pour it over the chocolate in the blender while it’s still hot. Cover the blender and hold down the lid firmly with a thick kitchen towel.
Pulse the blender, venting the blender top every few seconds to allow some steam to escape. Blend until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is fully melted and incorporated.
Divide the mixture between 6 small ramekins and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
Place the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer (alternatively, use a hand mixer) and beat until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar and vanilla.
Top the pots de creme with the whipped cream and a sprinkling of the salt and crushed peppercorns Serve chilled.
I don’t recommend sprinkling as much salt/pepper on the finished pots de crème as you see in these pictures. Just a teeny sprinkling will do – they add a nice flavor and tiny crunch! I added more to mine for photography purposes. 🙂