Saturday, December 25, 2010
No-Bake Chocolate Custard
Although I'm not really a fan of Christmas, I will take any available opportunity for a special meal. Per my request, my husband and I enjoyed a quiet Christmas Eve meal at home, just the two of us. For dinner we had absolutely amazing smoked pork chops from Pecatonica Valley Farm that I picked up at the farmer's market and wonderful baked Kennebec potatoes from my CSA, topped with local cheese and sour cream. I wanted to end the meal with a rich and decadent dessert, and my thoughts immediately went to chocolate mousse. Recipes for chocolate puddings, custards, and mousses abound, but I needed one that only made two servings since this dessert was just for the two of us and we'd be leaving for a family Christmas gathering the next day, which led me to this wonderful recipe.
Since this recipe is all about the chocolate, picking a high-quality chocolate is critical, so splurge on something amazing. Great brands include Ghiradelli, which is widely available and relatively inexpensive, Green and Black's, and Scharffen Berger, although this is by no means an exhaustive list. I would also recommend choosing high quality cream, butter, and eggs; I opted for Sassy Cow Creamery heavy cream and Wuthrich unsalted butter, and Pecatonica Valley eggs (the only kind I buy), all high-quality Wisconsin products.
Although at first glance you might find the portions a tad small, once you take a bit of this insanely rich custard you'll understand. This dense dessert is beautifully smooth and packed with rich chocolate flavor, the kind of dessert to linger slowly over, savoring each taste slowly as it hits your tongue. This is an extremely easy, but impressive dessert, perfect for any special occasion. There's only really one place this recipe could go wrong-adding the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk. Make sure to add the milk slowly, especially at first, while whisking constantly or you'll end up scrambling the eggs instead of incorporating them smoothly into the milk mixture. Enjoy!
No-Bake Chocolate Custard
from Food and Wine
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg yolk
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, plus shaved chocolate, for serving
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1. In a small saucepan, combine the milk and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and heat until steaming and the sugar is dissolved. Put the egg yolk in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the hot milk. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
2. Off the heat, add the chopped chocolate and salt and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter. Pour the custard into 2 shallow bowls and refrigerate briefly, about 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream with the cinnamon and the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar until softly whipped. Dollop the cream on the custards, sprinkle the chocolate shavings on the cream and serve.