LIGHTER CHOCOLATE POT DE CREME

This being Valentine’s day, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to talk about one of my favorite topics: dessert. Occasionally I get a look of surprise from friends or colleagues when they see me tucking into something decadent. Somehow, as a dietitian, I’m not supposed to eat such goodies. But I’m rather fond of sweets, particularly chocolate. And I find deprivation only backfires.

There is indeed room for indulgence in a healthy diet, for adults and kids. It’s really a matter of how much you eat and how often you eat it. I have a few guiding principles around indulging:

MAKE IT WORTH YOUR WHILE

That is, go for good quality, whether it’s a piece of delicious dark chocolate or a slice of cake from your favorite bakery.

KEEP IT PETITE.

Opt for the kid’s scoop at the ice cream parlor, divide dessert three ways after a meal out, or split those giant cookies sold at so many coffee houses.

PILE ON THE FRUIT.

Enjoy a slice of cake with loads of berries, accompany a scoop of vanilla ice cream with fresh grilled pineapple.

LIMIT THE GOODIES IN THE HOUSE.

Usually if there are sweets around, it’s something homemade that doesn’t linger too long. Ice cream is something we go out for instead of keep in the freezer.

BRING SOME WHOLESOME TO YOUR BAKING.

Gravitate towards fruit-based desserts, swap out some of the white flour for whole grain, scale back the sugar, butter and cream, and so on. Cooking Light and Eating Well magazines are good resources, as well as “Good to the Grain,” a baking book written by a seasoned pastry chef who does wonders with whole grain flours.

This pot de creme recipe fulfills all of the guiding principles: it’s worth your while, the portions are small, though satisfying, it’s wonderful with berries, when they are in season, it won’t linger in your fridge, and it has less cream and sugar than most recipes out there.

Chocolate Pot De Creme with Fleur de Sel (pronounced “po de crem”) is really just a fancy name for chocolate custard. The fleur de sel part is purely optional. The salt brightens the flavor and adds interest to the dessert. That said, don’t make yourself nuts running around town hunting down salt flakes. Also, if your kids aren’t crazy about dark chocolate, use semi-sweet instead of bittersweet.

This recipe is a little simpler than most. I’ve skipped a few steps that might make my pastry chef sister-in-law shudder in her baking clogs. Luckily she had a baby yesterday and won’t likely be reading this post.

Being a mom is full of bittersweet moments. Maybe sharing the chocolate in this little pot de creme with your pint-sized (and full-sized) beloveds will be one of the brighter bittersweet moments of this Valentine’s Day.

CHOCOLATE POT DE CREME with FLEUR de SEL

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fleur de sel* (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Arrange six 4-ounce heatproof ramekins in a deep baking dish.

Shave, grate or finely chop the chocolate and put it in a medium bowl.

Combine the milk, cream and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Pour milk over the chocolate and stir with a whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Allow it to cool for a few minutes until it is warm, not hot, to the touch.

Gently whisk the egg yolks, egg and vanilla in a small bowl until blended. Add the eggs to the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Put the chocolate into a pitcher or large glass measuring cup and pour it into the 6 ramekins. Fill the baking pan with enough very hot tap water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake until the edges of the chocolate are firm and the center moves a little when jiggled, about 20 minutes. The time may vary, however, depending on the size of your ramekins. Avoid touching the top of the cremes because they won’t be quite so pretty.

Take the baking pan out of the oven and remove the cups from the pan. Allow them to cool on the counter for an hour.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Just before serving sprinkle a tiny pinch of fleur de sel over the top of each cup.

Makes 6 servings

*Fleur de sel is available at specialty food stores and finer grocery stores.

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14  Comments

Comments

  1. 02.13.2012 at 8:19 AM #

    These look great! Just pinned it. :)

    • katiemorford
      02.13.2012 at 11:25 AM #

      oohh. thanks!

  2. Pamela
    02.13.2012 at 10:02 AM #

    yum~~~ thank you for the Happy Valentines Day desert! They look so beautiful in their heart shaped ramekins!

  3. Anne Mullen
    02.13.2012 at 10:20 AM #

    Yum!

    Speaking of “Yum”, I made the roasted sweet potatoes the other night. Big yum! And so easy; just my type. Thanks.

    • katiemorford
      02.13.2012 at 11:25 AM #

      Maybe you’re ready for soufflé!

      • Anne Mullen
        02.13.2012 at 12:37 PM #

        A souffle might be stretching it, but thanks for your confidence. Coming to see the Banfields this weekend, to surprise Dray on her birthday. I’m excited to see all of them.

  4. Kim
    02.15.2012 at 6:35 PM #

    Thank you Katie! I’d normally be intimidated by this kind of recipe, but decided to try it for Valentine’s dinner for my sweetheart last night. Neither of us are big dessert eaters, but we loved it: deeply chocolate-y, lovely texture, not too rich, hard to stop eating. And the fleur de sel made the chocolate zing. Maybe I’m ready to try a souffle!

    FYI: it probably took 30-40 minutes at 325 to get to the jiggly stage.

    Thanks again.

    • katiemorford
      02.15.2012 at 7:18 PM #

      You are so sweet to take the time to share that feedback. I’m so glad they worked out for you. I appreciate the info about cooking time and have added a line to reflect that … since ramekin size can be a factor. xo

      • Kim
        02.15.2012 at 8:22 PM #

        P.S. I shared some with my neighbor, and she said it was maybe the best chocolate dessert she’d ever had. I can’t disagree. Kudos, Katie!

        • katiemorford
          02.15.2012 at 9:33 PM #

          you’ve made my day!

  5. 02.15.2012 at 11:28 PM #

    Having guests fro dinner Friday and can’t wait to follow up with this for dessert. Thanks!

  6. 11.24.2013 at 5:20 PM #

    Yes! Finally someone writes about Affordable Fleur de Sel.

  7. 12.25.2013 at 11:10 AM #

    Where can I buy sea salt for my piercings?

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