Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day to All of You!

It's finally here! I gave some good chocolate recipes to you yesterday to celebrate! I wasn't going to add to the chocolate file just now, but I was looking through a Martha Stewart Living this afternoon and saw a recipe for Chocolate Creme Brulee. Creme Brulee is my favorite dessert, and I'll admit that I've never tasted the chocolate version. However, I don't have to be hit over the head with a bat to know that I wouldn't like it, and in this case I know I would love this dessert even though I've never eaten it. So I'm going to put the recipe on here just in case you want to try it today--Valentine's Day.

Martha says: "A brittle crust of caramelized sugar tops a dense pool of chocolate custard in this creme brulee. [Sorry, my computer doesn't do all the diacritical marks.] Though caramel and chocolate are considered sweets, the real secret to their allure is an undercurrent of bitterness, a natural component of cacao and burned sugar." 

Chocolate Creme Brulee

Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Makes 4

This chocolate-centric creme brulee retains the creaminess and caramelized-sugar topping of the classic version.

For the creme brulee:

2 cups heavy cream                                                                     
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
3 ounces (1/2 cup) bittersweet
chocolate, chopped
5 large egg yolks

For assembling:  4 teaspoons sugar

1. Preheat over to 250 degrees. Make the creme brulee:
Heat cream and 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan over
medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves and the cream
just begins to simmer. Add chocolate, and whisk until
melted and smooth.

2. Whisk remaining 3 tablespoons sugar with the egg yolks
in a medium bowl. Slowly pour cream mixture into  yolk
mixture, whisking constantly. Strain custard through a fine

3. Pour custard into four 4-ounce ramekins. Transfer ramekins
to a roasting pan, and fill pan with enough boiling water to reach
halfway up the sides of ramekins. Bake until custards are just set,
1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Carefully remove from water,
and let custards cool.

4. Assemble the creme brulees: Refrigerate for 1 hour. Top each
with 1 teaspoon sugar. Hold a small handheld kitchen torch at a
90-degree angle 3 to 4 inches from surface of custard. Move back
and forth until surface is caramelized. Alternatively, broil custards
on top rack until caramelized, 1 to 2 minutes.

Note: Make ahead baked creme brulees can be refrigerated overnight.
Caramelize tops before serving.

My own note is that I have heard some people complain that the use
of a torch makes the dish taste like propane, so be careful that you
don't waste your ingredients. I only heard this recently and am not
sure why this happened since many cooks use a kitchen torch. But
I just wanted to make you aware that such a situation is possible. I
hope it doesn't keep you from trying this luscious dessert, since it's a
simple thing to put your creme brulees under the broiler!

Tomorrow or Wednesday I'm going to give you a controversial recipe. Yes! There will be some people who will not like it! But I'm going to be brave and offer it to you anyway.
Have a very Happy Valentine's Day!

Love and Blessings...Mimi

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