For the practical, we were given three days to produce the following: chocolate caramels, pâte de fruit, marshmallows, crème brûlée with chocolate cream and hazelnut biscotti, pastilles, soufflés, crêpes, and an ice cream vacherin — not so bad, eh? One caveat...my partner and I were required to make these items individually, while sharing only ONE induction cooktop and ONE KitchenAid mixer.
Although it was challenging, my partner and I still managed to complete everything. I think I did pretty well overall, despite my slightly overcooked crème brûlée and super soft caramels.
It was definitely a grueling eighteen hours, but I swear my whisking arm has never looked better.
Chocolate Espresso Pots de Crème
Adapted from Gourmet, February 2004
- 6 oz. fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
- 1-1/3 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons instant-espresso powder
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 300°F.
Put chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream, milk, espresso powder (to taste), and a pinch of salt just to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until espresso powder is dissolved, then pour over chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in another bowl, then add warm chocolate mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-quart glass measure and cool completely, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Line bottom of a baking pan (large enough to hold ramekins) with a folded kitchen towel and arrange ramekins on towel. Poke several holes in a large sheet of foil with a skewer. Divide custard among ramekins, then bake custards in a hot water bath, pan covered tightly with foil, until custards are set around edges but still slightly wobbly in centers, 30 to 35 minutes.
Transfer ramekins to a rack to cool completely, uncovered, about 1 hour. (Custards will set as they cool.) Chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours. Makes 8 servings.