Smoked cream adds an incredible smoky undertone to a classic Chocolate Pot de Crème. It’s silky, chocolaty, and absolutely indulgent.
Check out the recipe and video tutorial for more.
For the longest time the hubs would make me my favorite dessert, Pot de Crème, for special occasions (we now stick to one day a year – Mother’s Day. Because chocolate!).
I’m not a huge sweet freak, but there’s something magically indulgent about this silky smooth chocolate treat. I can’t get enough.
So when it came time for us to come up with our menu for the International Pinot Noir Celebration last year – an event we were insanely honored to cook a 60 person lunch at (and also pretty friggin nervous) – we knew we needed to do a special version of our favorite dessert. Pot de Crème it is! And smoked of course!
One of our team members putting the finishing touches on the Chocolate Pot de Crème with Smoked Blackberries.
In our experimenting and testing we found that by simply smoking the milk and cream used for the recipe it added a really subtle, yet present, smoky flavor. But we really wanted the smoke to be the star.
It also happened to be berry season, so we decided to also smoke Oregon blackberries, then reduce them into a smoky and sweet sauce to drizzle over the bowls, and top with a dollop of smoked whipped cream. Holy holy holy friggin moly. They were out of this world!
Currently it’s not berry season (summer, wheeeeere aaare you?!?!?!?), but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our chocolate pot de crème.
TO BAKE OR NOT TO BAKE
We’ve done several variations of pot de crème. Many recipes call for you to bake your custard in a water bath. The idea is to allow the mixture to set slowly. Allegedly this offers a more even texture. I disagree. I find that doing this no bake method gets you a very silky smooth and indulgent result. Plus it’s quicker! We were inspired by recipes such as these ones from the Food Network and Food and Wine Magazine that offered a no bake option.
And for our event we were cooking for 70 people, and with only a small oven to work with, baking was not an option. This method was perfect for cooking for a large crowd (or small).
TO SMOKE THE CREAM
Smoking cream is simple. We just added equal parts milk and cream to a glass bowl and placed it in the smoker for up to an hour at a low temp. You don’t want your liquid to start boiling, so we smoke it low to just allow the liquid to soak up some of that gorgeous sweet wood. It’s also nice to use a mild and sweet wood (like apple or cherry) for this as opposed to something more rustic and bold like mesquite.
Once you are happy with the flavor (use your nose to tell), it’s time to start making your custard.
MAKING YOUR CUSTARD
You can place your custard ingredients directly in a saucepan, or double boil it. The latter will be more gentile, but it may also take you more time. If you do it directly in a sauce pan just make sure, again, to not let your mixture boil (believe me, we’ve done it!), otherwise you’ll have some scrambled eggs on your hands. 😉
Gently whisk together your mixture until it thickens. Place a spoon in to test. If it coats the spoon fairly thick, then it’s ready.
Place your chocolate in a blender. You can chop it if you want, but the hot custard will quickly melt it, so we find it’s not necessary to chop your chocolate too much. In the video we used Ghirardelli chocolate squares, which work great in this recipe (plus we’re huge fans of Ghirardelli chocolate after living in San Francisco for several years), and require no chopping at all.
The type of chocolate is totally your preference! I tend to be a milk chocolate fan, Sean is dark (you’d think it would be the opposite, right?!). We like to use 2/3 of a darker style chocolate and 1/3 of a sweeter/lighter style. You can play around with dark, bittersweet, semisweet, milk, etc. Whatever you like. For this version we used 2/3 bittersweet and 1/3 semisweet (if you were to do milk, I’d add that here so it’s not too overly sweet).
Blend until everything is combined and smooth, and pour into small bowls or ramekins, then refrigerate for a couple hours to set.
Note: the mixture will be very liquidy after you blend and pour into the cups (see the video), but they will set perfectly after just a couple hours in the fridge.
We’ll be back this summer with the smoked blackberry sauce we used, but until then feel free to top with some shaved chocolate and whipped cream.
SO. DAMN. GOOD!!!!!
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 6 egg yolks
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate (could use dark chocolate too), chopped (or use squares)
- 4 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate (could use milk chocolate too), chopped (or use squares)
- Whipped cream and chocolate shavings for garnish
- Set smoker to 180 degrees (f).
- Place the milk and heavy cream in a large glass bowl, and place on smoker for 45 min-1 hour. You’re looking for a good smoke smell on the cream. *Make sure the heat doesn’t get above 180 or the milk mixture could start to boil! We don’t want this. Remove from smoker.
- In a medium saucepan set to medium heat add the smoked milk mixture, then add the egg yolks, sugar, and salt and whisk. Continue whisking, constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken. You’re looking for it to coat a spoon thickly. Do not let this come to a boil! Approx 5 mins. (alternatively you could mix this over a double boiler to ensure it does not come to a boil).
- Place chocolate pieces in a blender. Add the warm custard mixture to the chocolate, cover and blend until smooth.
- Pour equally into 8 ramekins (or small bowls) and place into refrigerator until chilled and set (about 2 hours).
- Remove from fridge and serve with chocolate shavings and whipped cream.
Impress the heck out of your guests by telling them you just made smoked pot de creme! Boom.
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