WHIPPED UP TO DELIGHT
It might sound fancy (say “poe-de-krehm” with your best French accent), but this ultra-rich, thick chocolate custard could not be easier to whip up. Served chilled, you can make it hours or even a day ahead, freeing up your afternoon until the first guest knocks on the door. Pair with: Oliver’s Dry Red Blend, a fusion of cabernet sauvignon and syrah with hints of dark cherry, blackberry, currant and spice. An easy-drinking, polished choice when chocolate is involved.
PEPPERMINT-CHOCOLATE POTS DE CRÈME SERVES: 12
Peppermint extract gives pots de crème a seasonal twist. For traditional chocolate flavor, substitute vanilla extract for peppermint extract. If you don’t have a dozen ramekins, fill small mason jars, martini glasses, stemless wine glasses or teacups—or mix and match! 20 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 10 egg yolks 2 /3 cup (5 ounces) granulated sugar 1 /2 teaspoon sea salt 3 cups heavy cream 1 1/2 cups half-and-half 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) peppermint extract (or vanilla extract) Whipped cream, for garnish Peppermint pieces, for garnish 1 Place the chocolate in a large stainless steel bowl. Set a fine-mesh strainer over the bowl. 2 In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine egg yolks, sugar, sea salt, heavy cream, half-and-half and peppermint extract (or vanilla extract, if using). Whisk until combined. 3 Continue to cook mixture over mediumlow heat, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula and thoroughly scraping the bottom of the pan. 4 Cook mixture until temperature taken with candy thermometer or instant-read digital thermometer reads 170°F. 5 Remove from heat immediately and pour through strainer set over the bowl of chopped chocolate. Do not push solids through the strainer. 6 Let mixture stand untouched for about 5 minutes to allow chocolate to melt entirely. After 5 minutes, whisk the chocolate mixture to combine completely. 7 Divide mixture evenly among 12 ramekins or other small serving bowls or cups. 8 Keep at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow chocolate to set slightly. Transfer to refrigerator and chill 3 hours before serving. 9 Top the chilled pots de crème with whipped cream and peppermint pieces.