There is this thing with Valentine’s Day, that you feel compelled to do something… the usual combo being chocolates, flowers and a romantic dinner. While I like indulgences I’m not sure I like the idea of having to splurge on that particular day. On the other hand, did I say I like indulgences? I really do and I want them to happen spontaneously (and possibly as often as possible).
Anyway, this year I will take a cooking class with my husband because if there is one thing we should celebrate on Valentine’s Day, it’s our desire to spend more time together. I love cooking, he loves eating, the perfect match! But, it’s not because we’ll be eating out that there should not be a little treat waiting for us at home. Does that qualify as overindulgence?
If, like Em and me, you’re looking for the perfect Valentine treat and would like to skip the cliché of heart-shaped sugar cookies or the overdone berries and chocolate dessert, we have something perfect for you: chocolate pots de creme with ginger. It’s sweet enough to show your love but sharp and spicy to fire up your passion. Be careful, this dessert can bite! and possibly have aphrodisiac effects. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
There is probably no food that says Valentine’s Day more than chocolate. I usually don’t like following conventions but dark chocolate can be so satisfying. It has such a strong and rich flavor that you might not be tempted by another piece. You know what I mean? It’s about indulging, while keeping control.
These silky oh-so-decadent little pots de creme have a little zing coming from the spices, a delicious combination of ginger and cardamom. And believe me, you want it spicy, especially on that day!
Makes 5 pots de creme
- 2 cups whole milk (I actually used 1 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup heavy cream as I did not have enough whole milk)
- 6 cardamom pods, crushed
- 4 slices peeled fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 large egg
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- whipped cream
- candied ginger, finely minced
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Take a large baking dish, cover with a double layer of paper towels and place 5 6-ounce heatproof ramequins. The paper towels will keep your ramequins stable while cooking.
Heat the milk, cardamom, ginger and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and let steep for 15 minutes.
While waiting, put the chocolate in a bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and the vanilla extract until it’s blended. Set aside.
Return milk to medium-high heat, bring to boil once again and immediately pour through a sieve (to discard spices) over the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 3 minutes and whisk together until the chocolate is completely melted. If the chocolate is not completely melted, set the bowl on top of a simmering pan of water and gently whisk until the mixture is perfectly smooth.
Let the mixture cool until it’s lukewarm and whisk in the egg mixture. If the texture is grainy puree in a blender.
Evenly divide among the ramequins and fill the baking dish with very hot tap water about halfway up the sides of the ramequins. Cover the dish with foil, place the dish on the low oven rack and bake for about 30 minutes. The tops of the custards should be barely set. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours before serving.
Serve garnished with a dollop of whipped cream and candied ginger.
These little “douceurs” can be stored in the fridge up to 3 days, so prepare them in advance. You’ll be busy enough on Valentine’s Day between finding the right dress and fixing your hair and make-up that you might not want to spend time slaving in the kitchen… Just some friendly advice… On the other hand, don’t make them too much in advance or your might just end eating all of them, like Em and I did, without even waiting for the cream to be chilled.