Pots de crème—rich custards that are cooked in a water bath, which gives them a creamy texture—are even more decadent when flavored with chocolate and topped with nuts and a sprinkling of amaretto-soaked cherries. Be careful not to overcook them; they should still tremble slightly when you remove them from the oven.
Chocolate Pots de Crème with Amaretto Cherries and Hazelnuts
1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) dried sour cherries
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) amaretto
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) milk
4 oz. (125 g) good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) sugar
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of kosher salt
Lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) toasted hazelnuts, chopped
Preheat an oven to 300°F (150°C).
In a small bowl, stir together the dried cherries and amaretto. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the cream and milk. Bring to a simmer, then immediately remove from the heat and add the chocolate and sugar. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla, cocoa powder and salt. Whisking constantly, gradually add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and continue whisking until smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass measuring cup or bowl with a pouring spout.
Place four 4-fl.oz. (125-ml) ramekins in a shallow roasting pan or large baking dish and divide the chocolate mixture evenly among the ramekins. Pour water into the pan so that it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully transfer to the oven and bake until the custards are just set along the edges but still jiggle slightly when shaken, 30 to 35 minutes; the custards will continue to set as they cool. Carefully remove the ramekins from the pan and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days before serving.
To serve, drain the cherries if they have not absorbed all of the amaretto, discarding any excess liquid. Top each custard with a dollop of whipped cream and divide the cherries and hazelnuts among the custards, sprinkling them evenly on top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen