Delicious.  Scrumptious.  Soothing.  These little pots de creme are worth your time and effort!  I made a healthy lunch for my friend Lori and after, I offered her a bite and she said “OhMyGod.  This is seriously Amazing!  Really.”  She proceeded to eat about half and happily exclaimed that her workout allowed this indulgence.  Alisa too – gobbled this right up.  Suzanne said that it got so very quiet as she and her girls tried and savored.  Sweet, delicious and very satisfying she commented.  Smooth caramel flavor with a hint of milk chocolate made Mike say hmm…caramel…mocha.  Ali said “holy pot de creme or as Leo (who is 3) said with a spoonful dripping down his chin – dat good puddin.”  Gotta love that.  All ages a major hit.  These are a little advanced – in that you have to make a caramel base – but if you just follow the directions – it is easy.   Read the recipe through before you start.  The real tricky part is baking time.  And I messed up a bit (blaming this on my continued vertigo :() — so you might be on your own with timing, but you can do it!  (I will make again soon and post a real baking time.)  Oh, and these can be made the day before you plan to serve which is nice.  Just bring to room temp for 20 minutes or so before you enjoy.

12 servings (if you use 2 1/2 oz cups, I used bigger ones…so had fewer)

burnt caramel pots de creme (from Chocolate Obsession by Michael Recchiuti and Fran Gage):

3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
5 (3 3/4 oz) extra large egg yolks (just yolks)
2 1/2 oz (41%) milk chocolate chopped fine

Put the sugar and water in a medium heavy pot.  Mix together.  Over medium heat, cook sugar until it melts – and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon.  Once it melts, continue to cook with out stirring – and let it caramelize.  You want the sugar to turn a dark amber.  This should take about 4-5 minutes.  The sugar is EXTREMELY hot.  Do not touch it – and take great care when handling it.

While the sugar is cooking, combine the milk and cream and bring to just a boil over medium heat.  Reserve until the sugar is ready.

Now you want to combine the two.  Again take great care.  Wear an oven mitt and use a long wooden spoon.

When the sugar is the correct shade, slowly slowly slowly ladle the hot cream into the sugar – really a little little at a time.  The mixture will bubble up and sputter and foam.  Again, it is very hot so be careful.  When the mixture stops bubbling, add your next ladle-full and continue until completely mixed together.

Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and mix until blended.  Whisk in the caramel mixture – again – ladle then whisk, then ladle then whisk – very slowly so as not to cook the eggs.  You will slowly warm them and combine.  Add the chocolate and whisk until melted.

Strain the custard with a fine mesh sieve into a bowl or large glass measuring cup.  Spoon or pour the custard into 2 1/2 oz (or larger, just cook longer) espresso cups or custard cups or porcelain dishes.  Fill about 3/4’s full.

Let the custard cool to room temperature (I missed this step and it cost me!)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Place the custard cups in a large baking pan.  Place on middle rack in oven.  Then take a pitcher of very hot water and pour hot water into the pan so that it comes 1/2 way up the sides of the custard cups.  This is called a bain marie.

Cover with foil (again, I managed to miss this until later…blaming the vertigo here!)

Bake until the tops are set but the whole custard jiggles when a cup is moved.  The recipe says 25 minutes – but mine took waaaay longer – I think because I didn’t let them set and cool first – and also I forgot the foil for a while.

Once set – remove the cups from the hot water – with oven mitts.  Let cool to room temp.

Cover each cup and refrigerate for at least 5 hours – or overnight.  bring to room temp before serving.

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