Wednesday, June 4, 2008

WHB - Lavender Chocolate Pots de Crème

Lavender Chocolate Pot de Crème
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.

To Decorate

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.

Been There, Done That ~

White Chocolate Orange Flower Crème de la Crème

Other People's Eats ~

Buddha's Hand Crème Brûlée
Burnt Caramel Pots de Crème
Chocolate Pots de Creme


Ranjani said...

This looks beutiful, and I'm sure it tastes decadent! Lavender has such a delicate flavor, I'm sure it paired really well with the chocolate. I've made creme brule before, but not pots-de cre`me. I'm inspired to try this now.
All your pictures are beutiful, and I love the detailed writes ups and explanations, makes it such a treat to read!

Lisa said...

Dangerous, yes! Lovely Susan. All of it. Your photos and your recipe.

Kalyn said...

Truly a lovely post. Makes me wish I had some lavender growing in my yard!

Sophie said...

I'm Sophie, Key Ingredient's Chief Blogger. We would like to feature this recipe and photo on our blog. We realize it is taken from another source, but we'll be sure to note that...we just feel you've done a great job putting this treat together! Please email if interested. Thanks :)


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

How do you know which lavenders are culinary grade? I have several lavender plants in my herb garden, and no herbicides or other toxins have been used on them. Are they safe for cooking, and are some cultivars better than others?

Suganya said...

OMG, don't do this to me. I even have everything on hand. And I am trying to stay away from desserts :D

glamah16 said...

Stunning. What lucky guests you served this to!

Astra Libris said...

ohhhh, positively gorgeous... I am in awe of the lavender and chocolate combination... Your photos are SO beautiful and inspiring, as well!

noobcook said...

gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! The lavender flowers add a beautiful finishing touch to this dish. Are your lavenders home-grown?

Sunshinemom said...


Johanna said...

lavender interests me but also is a mystery - where do people buy it as I never see it in the shops - but am sure it will add greatly to the flavour of those chocolate pots (as well as adding pretty decorations)

Shaun said...

Susan, lovie ~ Infused pots de creme can transport one anywhere, and they almost always evoke of sense of intrigue because of the backnote of the chosen herb, spice or bud. Your combination of lavender and chocolate sounds like a dream. It is always amazes me that some of the most flavourful and satisfying dishes require so few ingredients.

Kelly-Jane said...

Oh wow, they look devine! I love flowers in food, mmm.

Asha said...

Lavenders are gorgeous, love the smell. I planted some seeds, let's see if they sprout!:)
Pots de creme looks mouthwatering, good one Susan. Have a wonderful weekend!:))

Lori Lynn said...

Oh Susan - Such a dreamy ethereal post...
I was just editing some hot dog photos, what a contrast! haha

My Sweet & Saucy said...

Lovely shots!

Gloria said...

Love this too!! Soo beauty! Gloria

Jyothsna said...

This sounds like one of those really exotic recipes! And the earlier lemon fudge, do I have to refridgerate it? How many days will it stay fresh? We don't consume sweets that easily.

Susan said...

Thank you, Ranjani. Yes, lavender is delicate, but it's important not to over steep the flowers in the cream lest it becomes bitter. Lavender is a lot like rosemary that way. Since you’ve made crème brûlée, you’ll have no problem perfecting these.
Lisa – Thanks always!
Thanks, Kalyn. It’s not too late to pick up a lavender plant or two from a garden center. It lends good flavor to salad dressing if you’d rather steer clear of desserts.
Thank you, Sophie. I will be in touch very soon.
Lydia – English and French lavender varieties are routinely used in the kitchen. Spanish lavender is ornamental. As long as your lavender is untouched by chemicals, it is safe to eat. As with most herbs, dried is more potent than fresh. Don’t be fooled by the pale color of it. Generally, English is more delicate, while French is robust. Best way to tell how strong it is b/4 using is to bruise the blossoms and sniff your fingers. Highly fragranced plants are the most powerfully flavored. You can also use the leaves.
Suganya – I know the feeling. I do it to myself all the time! ; )
Courtney – Thanks. I’m afraid to say my husband and I ate through the spoils over the course of a week. : O
Thank you, Astra! That’s very dear of you to say.
Wiffy – Thank you, dear! This lavender was purchased from an organic market. I do, however, have a plant establishing itself in my mother's garden. Can’t wait for it to bloom!
Thank you, Sunshine Mom!
Johanna – You may be able to find a plant at a garden center and grow it in a sunny window. Have you looked for dried lavender in bottles or tins in the spice section of your markets? It is usually imported from France.
Shaun – Thank you. It *was* a dream, a delicate balance of the unctuous cream, smoky chocolate and elusive herb. Highly recommended.
Kelly-Jane – Thanks! Me, too. Flowers in food are spectacular.
Thanks, Asha. Oh, no worries. I’ll bet you'll have true leaves on your plants in no time. They will enjoy the southern heat.
Lori Lynn – Thank you very much. No, please don’t try to eat these after hot dogs. LOL!
Thank you, Sweet and Saucy!
Welcome, Gloria! Thank you very much. Good to see you.
Jyothsna – Yes, but exotic is a matter of perspective. I guess, too, when the ingredients can be found locally, it takes a little of the mystique away.

Just left you a comment re: the fudge.

Dhanggit said...

this is gorgeous!!! i never tried using lavander with chocolate but this must be delicious! the lavender here in provence are starting to bloom...i'll be sending you some photos soon ..that is if the weather will get better LOL

Rosa said...

Gorgeous. I'm very intrigued a the idea of pairing it with chocolate, which might temper its, er, lavenderiness!

Lucy said...

This must taste, fleetingly, like a mouthful of summery Provence.

Is is subtle and musky or powerful and fragrant?

That last shot keeps making me come back and stare. I adore it. Captivating.

CaptnRachel aka Tha Pizza Cutta said...

It's the delicacy of what it takes to make this delight impresses me beyond belief. Every step up the photos and posting are gingerly crafted and it shows.

Dragon said...

Lavender and Chocolate? I would have never thought of those two flavours together. Obviously, I have a lot to learn. :) It looks amazing!

Jeanne said...

Oh Susan, I'm in love with these! How gorgeous. I can only imagine how they taste...

katiez said...

Yes, I can see how these could be dangerous.... But soooo delicious!
I wonder if I can eat my lavender... Must ask my neighbor (she who knows everything!)

Susan said...

Hilda – Thanks! Would love to see some photos. The lavender of Provence is famous for good reason! The weather has been weird over here, too. : O
Thank you, Rosa. A light touch is needed for lavender since it can get as strident and bitter as rosemary if left to steep too long. Yet, the depths of chocolate, diary and egg do wonders to keep it in its place.
Exactly, Lucy. The flavor is ephemeral, subtle and musky, as you surmise. I love that last shot, too.
Hi, Rachel! Thank you. The method is delicate and meticulous, but it’s all worth it once you dip your spoon into it. : )
We all have plenty to learn about the kitchen, Dragon. Thanks for the kind words!
Thank you, Jeanne. It’s easy to love lavender.
Hi, Katie! I’ll bet you’ll be infusing some of your home-grown lavender sooner rather than later. Now's the season!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

What a gorgeous dessert! Your photos are amazing!

thestudiouscook said...

wow what a great dessert! I don't know where to get lavendar blossoms in my area but even the pots de cremes is a new idea for me:)