Infused with the pale purple essence of lavender,
deluxe chocolate custards are dense and dangerous.
Dried lavender blossoms.
Lavender Chocolate Pots de Crème - Based on the Epicurious recipe
2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons culinary-grade lavender blossoms
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
For the garnish
1/8 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
A few drops of vanilla extract
A few drops each blue and red food coloring (optional)
Very scant handful culinary-grade lavender blossoms
In a small saucepan gently warm the whipping cream before it reaches a simmer. Remove from heat and add the lavender blossoms. Set aside until lukewarm then strain out the blossoms and discard them. Return cream to the saucepan, cover it, then put it in the refrigerator to chill and set the flavor.
Return the saucepan to the stove and gently warm the cream over low heat. Add the chocolate, stirring occasionally to ensure it is evenly melted in the cream mixture. Turn off heat.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and lemon colored. Slowly and incrementally add the warm cream/chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, beating consistently until very well blended. It is critical that you work slowly to prevent the eggs curdling from too much heat applied too soon.
Arrange a thin tea towel in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Position ramekins evenly on the tea towel, allowing some distance between each, as well as the sides of the pan. Pour equal amounts of custard mixture into each ramekin. (Oven-safe glass custard cups can also be used). Carefully position roasting pan on the middle oven rack, then add water into the pan until it reaches a depth of halfway up the sides of the ramekins. This ensures the eggs will not be exposed to high heat that encourages curdling. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, depending on size of ramekin. I used very small 1/3 cup capacity ramekins that were ready in 30 minutes. Regardless of size, the custards will be done when a slight shake gently wobbles the surface without splashing it. Remove from oven and roasting pan, allowing to cool for 20 minutes before fully chilling in the refrigerator. If you test the mixture by dipping a spoon into it upon removal from oven, it will appear soupy in texture. Do not worry. The chilling will set and firm the crème to perfect consistency, an intensely thick and creamy center topped by a flexible crust. Best when chilled several hours.
In a small bowl, beat the whipping cream with the sugar and vanilla extract. If using food coloring, add it while cream still has rounded peaks, emphasizing blue over red for the most authentic color. Beat until mixture holds firm peaks. Either dollop or pipe small mounds of cream onto surface of each custard, then garnish each decoration with a few lavender blossoms. Serves 6–8 depending on size of ramekins. --
This post is being submitted to Maninas of Food Matters, hosting Weekend Herb Blogging for Kalyn Denny of Kalyn's Kitchen, creator of this wildly popular weekly event.
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