With Valentine's Day around the corner, it's time to get in touch with your sweet side. And if you're anything like us, that means spending hours debating over which chocolate dessert to make. You could make a cake or tart, but if you're cooking just for yourself, there's a high risk of skipping the plate and going straight in with a fork—not the pretty picture you were envisioning. Whether you've got friends coming over or you're rolling solo, a portioned dessert is the way to go, and we've got the perfect one: pot de crème.
This thick, rich dessert is like a hybrid of a chocolate truffle and chocolate pudding. We add a little seasonal citrus to the mix by pairing it with blood orange and finishing it with whipped mascarpone and a candied blood orange wheel. It's an easy yet sophisticated dessert that will make you feel better than any Hallmark sentiments could.
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What's great about this recipe is that you'll end up with five little ramekins of individually portioned dessert. The custard saves well in the fridge or freezer, so it's golden for late-night snacking all week. If you're spending the holiday with friends, everyone can get their own personal ramekin—the perfect way to make them feel special. Couples need not apply. (Just kidding. This works for you, too! You'll just have to battle over the last ramekin standing.)
Don't let the French name fool you. This dessert is as easy as it is delicious. It's just ganache—melted chocolate mixed with dairy—made with créme anglaise—a light custard typically used as a sauce or base for ice cream. When you're cooking the custard, be aware that it isn't going to thicken to a pudding-like consistency; you're looking for a nappé thickness, which means just dense enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Once you've achieved that, you're good to go.
This is also a dessert you can, and should, make ahead of time. The worst thing you could do is serve a pot de crème that hasn't had enough time to set. Make life easy on yourself and prepare them the day before. That way, when you're scrambling to plate your first attempt at rib eye with risotto (don't stress, we believe in you), you can at least rest easy, knowing dessert is out of the way.
So crack out those heart-shaped ramekins and remember that the secret ingredient is heavy cream love.
Chocolate-Blood Orange Pots de CrèmeRecipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 5 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus cooling and chilling time
Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes, plus cooling and chilling time