Chocolate Rhubarb Pots de Creme
What a whirlwind of a spring it has been this year. My life has changed so much in just a few short weeks, just like the weather. I’ve always been in the garden as much as possible, but it was after work or on the weekends. Now being in the garden is my work and my whole day, from dawn to dusk, mothering all my cut flower seedlings and transplants.
After many weeks of waiting, the sweet peas, sweet williams, calendulas, and yarrow are rocketing up to put out their first tender buds. I’m battling the slugs like an angry mama bear to keep them from eating the baby shoots of my dearest dahlias. And my back is nearly broke from hours of bending over to weed the beds of larkspur, poppies, and nigella I directly sowed into what appears to be a bottomless batch of weeds. All this in the name of making beautiful bouquets for farmers markets and weddings. I think it’s well worth it. I know I couldn’t be happier than working in the garden and with flowers all day, especially those gloriously romantic pink peonies that are bursting into bloom right about now. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that I get to snack on just-picked sugar snap peas that are scrambling up the garden fence too.
Speaking of things well worth it, Dark Chocolate and Rhubarb Pots de Creme, are really quite something to be savored. I tend to be a little leery of anything that involves scalding milk. Doesn’t it seem too much like tempting fate to burn the bejeezus out of the milk? I just can’t usually see my way past this scary step to the final dish, but the thought of silky dark chocolate creme folded with that oh-so-versatile rhubarb coulis was enough to get me past my fear. And the scalding bit really wasn’t all that bad.
The rhubarb whipped cream that tops these little pots is quite worth a try for donning any number of delightful dishes. The coulis and cream are a match made in heaven, like the fragrance of lilies of the valley and a warm spring breeze. Its subtle pink blush just made me love it all the more. Goodness, when did I become such a fan of girly pink? So unlike me! Perhaps it’s the bushels of ruby rhubarb rubbing off on me.
Dark Chocolate and Rhubarb Pots de Creme with Rhubarb Whipped Cream
Adapted from Spago Desserts cookbook
2 oz. dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
3/4 C. heavy cream, at room temperature
1/4 C. milk, at room temperature
3 egg yolks, at room temperature
3 T. granulated sugar
1/4 C. rhubarb coulis
pinch of salt
Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 F.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat or in the microwave for 30 second increments. When the chocolate is almost melted, remove from heat , stir and let stand until completely melted.
Set a medium saute pan over high heat for a minute or two to get it nice and hot. Pour in the cream and milk all at once. It should sizzle and sputter so that it scalds. Watch carefully to make sure it does not come to a rolling boil. Remove from heat once lots of little bubbles start appearing at the edges and the cream is very hot, about 2 minutes.
In a medium mixing bowl, briskly whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, rhubarb coulis, and salt until smooth. Temper the egg mixture with about a quarter cup of the hot cream mixture, whisking as you add it to be sure to not “cook” the eggs. While whisking, slowly add the remaining hot cream to the egg mixture.
Pour the hot cream mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl of melted chocolate. Whisk until well combined and smooth.
Ladle the mixture into 3 standard ramekins. Line the bottom of a small baking pan with a paper towels. Place the filled ramekins in the baking dish on the towel. Pour in enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the entire pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake until mixture around the edges of the ramekin is firm when lightly shaken, about 35 minutes. The center may still jiggle slightly when shake; it will firm up as it chills.
Carefully remove the ramekins from the baking pan, wipe dry and allow to cool. Once cooled, refrigerate until firm, about 2 to 3 hours. To serve, spoon some Rhubarb Whipped Cream (recipe below) into the ramekin and garnish with some grated chocolate.
Rhubarb Whipped Cream
3/4 C. heavy cream, chilled
3 T. rhubarb coulis
1 T. superfine sugar or Splenda
Whip the cream in a chilled bowl to soft peaks. Fold in the rhubarb coulis and sugar. Continue to whip into stiff peaks.