My chocolate desserts are usually the over-the-top super-rich ones on my menu, but for a change I've gone petit and subtle with this Earl Grey-scented chocolate pot de crème. To accompany it, I've gone to the rich little cake bites from the beautiful Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson. They are almost brownie-like, but not quite.
I know there are tons of petits pots de crème recipes online and in books, but for what it's worth... here's another...
Earl Grey petits pots de crème
makes 3 cups of custard base which is 8 demitasse cups
2 cups plus 2 tbsp whole milk
3 quality whole-leaf Earl Grey tea bags (cut open the bags and dump the tea out, discard the bags)
3-1/2 oz quality semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
Good pinch of salt
In a saucepan, bring the milk barely to a simmer. Put the loose tea in a container and then pour the hot milk over. Cover the container and let steep for 10 minutes. Then strain the tea-infused milk back into the pot and and the chocolate. Bring the milk back to a very gentle simmer, stirring constantly to melt the chocolate completely. In another bowl, gently whisk the yolks, sugar and salt. Temper the hot chocolate mixture into the eggs, being careful not to make too many bubbles. If there are lots of bubbles, the the mixture sit until the go away or spoon them off. Pour the custard base into your demitasse cups and place them in a larger pan. Pour about an inch worth of hot water into the pan and cover. Carefully place the covered pan in the oven and bake at 300º-325º until the custards are lightly set (about 20-30 minutes). Just like other baked custards, they will jiggle like Jell-O, that is, as a whole rather than in waves, when they are done. Remove the pots from the hot water and let cool, then chill to set up.
The chocolate friands are really easy. I use small tartlet molds that can be found at any baking supply shop, but you can use paper shells or mini cupcake pans. The dimensions given in the book recipe are for 1-1/2" by 1/2" glassine cups. My tartlet molds are basically that dimension. The only thing is that if you use a metal mold they must be buttered and floured, not just pan spray, not pan spray and flour, not just butter... butter and flour. I've tried all the combinations to make it quicker, but they do not come out of the mold unless you butter and flour.
from Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson
makes 24 (more or less) little cakes
6 oz quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup butter
11 oz sugar
3-3/4 oz flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
On a baking sheet line up your prepared baking molds and preheat the oven to 350º. Place the chocolate in a mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a saucepan and then pour over the chocolate and stir to melt smoothly. Sift the dry ingredients and stir them into the chocolate in three additions, then stir in two of the eggs, and then the last two. Depending on your chocolate, the mixture may look like it is seizing up, don't worry, with the last eggs it should smooth out into a silky batter. Scoop the batter into the molds about three-fourths of the way full (for those in the know, a purple scoop is the perfect amount). Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cakes just start to crack on top.
"Wait! What the heck is a 'friand', anyway?"
Well, it's a froo-froo French word for "small mouthful".