I haven’t cooked anything in a long time. Like…….. at least a month?
Before you start asking, “How? That’s amazing! What’s your system?!”, let me be clear: this is not necessarily a good thing. This means that my husband cooks (which is not inherently bad, since his favorite thing to make is tacos), we sometimes get takeout, but we mostly just scrounge. We have toast for dinner, or rice, or maybe some sauteed frozen vegetables. We don’t eat unhealthy foods, but we don’t really enjoy what we are eating either.
So, this weekend, I decided I wanted to go all out! I LOVE to cook, and it’s been far too long since I’ve put together a big dinner. I had huge plans for carne seca tacos, guacamole, fresh tortillas: the works! But, this thought came into my head at 2pm on a Sunday, and good carne seca (or machaca) takes at least 3 hours of braising, and we didn’t even have a single worthwhile ingredient in the fridge (Think, beer and watermelon, and not much else).
So, I decided, “Ok, we’ll get takeout tacos! But I am making an amazing dessert!” And so the Mocha Pot de Creme came to life. I’ve adapted this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks ever, Cooking with Cafe Pasqual’s. Cafe Pasqual is a truly incredible restaurant in Santa Fe that I have been dying to return to ever since I ate there a few years ago. But as close as Tucson and Santa Fe are, it might as well be across the world, because I haven’t been back. Their cookbook is the next best thing. I made a few personal changes, but the foundation is the same. I hope that’s ok. Being new to the world of food blogging, I definitely don’t want to infringe on any copyright issues, or take credit for work that isn’t mine, but I do want to share this awesome recipe with you! So, this is my take on the Mocha Pot de Creme.
Please be advised, this is super strong, intensely rich, and the coffee flavor is powerful!!
Mocha Pot de Creme (makes 6 4-oz ramekins)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup finely ground decaf coffee (not instant)
1/4 cup coarsely ground decaf Pinon Hazelnut coffee (not instant)
8 oz very dark chocolate, either chips or coarsely chopped from a block
8 egg yolks
Dark chocolate covered almonds, for garnish
Additional heavy whipping cream (about 1 cup), for garnish
Before you get started, refrigerate 6 empty 4 oz ramekins. Measure the milk, cream, sugar, and coffees into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer and stir to dissolve the sugar. Turn the heat down very low and let the mixture steep for 30 minutes.
Pour the steeped coffee mixture over a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Discard the grounds. Rinse out the saucepan and dry well. Return the pan to the stove, pour back the coffee cream mixture, and add the chocolate over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally as the chocolate melts.
Meanwhile, separate your egg yolks and whisk well. Whisk 1/4 cup of the cream mixture into the yolks to temper them, then pour the yolk/cream mixture back in the pan. Keep stirring over low heat until the mixture thickens slightly, and coats the back of a wooden spoon. (Once you have added the egg yolks, do not take your eyes off that pot!!! Keep stirring and watching, unless you want chocolate scrambled eggs)
Pour the pudding into your nice chilly ramekins and pop into the refrigerator, about 3 hours, until set. Before serving, whip the additional cream until stiff and top each bowl with a heavy dollop, and garnish with a dark chocolate almond.
A Few Notes! Very Important Ones!:
* The recipe specifies decaf. Use decaf. Trust me. The chocolate and sugar and strong coffee flavor is stimulating enough without having several cups worth of caffeine in your system.
* I love the addition of the flavored decaf Pinon Hazelnut coffee. I buy it at Sprouts, but you could easily substitute an appropriate decaf flavored coffee, or just use plain. I used plain for the fine grind and flavored for the coarse grind because I didn’t want the hazelnut to be overwhelming. However, it’s your kitchen. Do whatever you want!
*You could use dark chocolate covered espresso beans for the garnish!
*You could use storebought whipped cream for the topping if you don’t have time or don’t want to whip the cream yourself.
*The original recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate. I was able to find it at Sprouts, but it was way more expensive than the very dark chocolate, and we are on a budget. The main point is that you don’t want the chocolate to have a ton of sugar in it. Definitely do not use semisweet chocolate chips or milk chocolate.