I had a hankering for chocolate espresso pots. Perhaps it was because I had been going to make a chocolate tart but then didn’t, or because we were eating al fresco and a little dessert in an espresso cup seemed fitting. The use of pancetta may also have had something to do with it. Sometimes it’s nice to make an event out of dinner on a random weeknight.
Now I was sure I had a recipe for these, but when I looked it up it wasn’t the recipe I thought. So after consulting several recipes and deciding I didn’t want to use 6 egg yolks (meringue/macaroon anyone?), I took matters into my own hands and made up my own recipe.
50g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
150ml double cream
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp dark brown soft sugar
Break the chocolate into pieces. Add the cream and microwave for 1 minute on high. Stir until choc is melted, then whisk in the egg yolk. Once smooth, mix in sugar, salt and coffee until all smooth. Divide between four espresso cups and chill for at least a couple of hours before serving.
I very much enjoyed these. I would happily serve these at a dinner party as a mini dessert if I’d made a really big main, or even as an extra bonus dessert for people too full for the chocolate tart (or greedy enough to want both). Or for a decadent weeknight, as they really took next to no time to actually make. One egg white is not too hard to use up. I am fairly sure my cupboard will always have at least 50g dark chocolate in it. You could easily mix them up by adding vanilla instead of coffee granules, or orange chocolate, or baileys, or rum… definitely rum. I think I will be making these again very soon.
Henry got me a chef’s blowtorch for Christmas (after my oh-so-subtle hint of “I love chef’s blowtorches. I wish I had a chef’s blowtorch. I hear you can buy chef’s blowtorches in Kitchens for £15.95”) so naturally my first new recipe had to be crème brûlée.
All the recipes I looked at seemed to be pretty similar. I adapted this one from Simon Rimmer’s ‘Original crème brûlée’ recipe on the BBC.
250ml double cream
3 egg yolks (use the whites to make macaroons, nom)
50g caster sugar, plus extra for the topping
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 ramekins, a deep baking tray for a bain marie, a chef’s blowtorch.
What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 140C (fan) or 150C (regular)2. Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes
3. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl, and boil the kettle
4. When the 5 minutes is up, add the vanilla to the cream, then pour the hot cream over the egg yolks/sugar, whisking as you go. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens – this means the egg yolks are cooking and you are on track to set puddings
5. Put the ramekins into the baking tray. Divide the mixture equally between them, then pour in hot water until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins
6. Put the bain-marie into the middle of your oven and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the custards are set but still slightly wobbly in the middle
7. Take the ramekins out of the bain-marie and cool at room temperature
8. Before serving, sprinkle the tops with sugar and caramelise with the blowtorch
* Our oven cooks hot, so I reduced the cooking time from the original 40-45 minutes to 30, but I’d say they could have done with a little less time
* I found the best results for the crunchy topping were when I used about 1/2 tsp sugar and caramelised this, then added another 1/2 tsp in a second layer and blasted again
Aside from being maybe a teeny bit too set around the edges, and my clumsy work with the blowtorch, I was very pleased with how these turned out. Now I have the basic recipe I will definitely be experimenting!