A song fills the room interrupting the gentle quiet of thoughtful work. “Love and happiness….. Yeahhhhh. Something, make you want to do wrong. Make you do right. Yeahhhhhh. Loooooooovvvee……” Spurred on by the anticipated snap, snap, snap, snap of the drum sticks, I am energized from Al Green’s soulful voice and welcome the interruption. The song and my mood are no longer still and quiet. Al Green serenades me as I work and invites me to sing aloud and dance. He is generous that way and knows how to get the romantic heart pumping.
I’m empowered at the stove. With a wooden spoon in hand, I stir, sway and sing “Love and Happiness,” while creating a love song of my own with dark chocolate and Nutella. The name of my love song is, Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, a silky custard that could easily give Al Green some competition. This chocolate dessert has the right notes to create a sensual melody. A silky-smooth custard set the base notes while deep dark chocolate and Nutella establish a soulful rhythm. Sriracha punctuates with syncopated upbeats, downbeats and heartbeats. A final touch of flaky sea salt ties it all together like the last ting from a symbol at the end of a song. A soulful love melody.
I first discovered this recipe a few years ago while watching, The Best Thing I Ever Made: Chocoholics on Food Network. Aarti Sequeira created Chocolate Hazelnut Pots de Crème and she is absolutely right on claiming it is the best thing she ate. Lucky for me I stumbled upon this episode, because Chocolate Nutella Pots de Crème is not just the best chocolate dessert, it could be one of the best things I have ever had, period. It tops the charts in all categories. A swoon worthy chocolate hazelnut love song I sing again and again. “Yeeahhhh..”
Clues for Success making Chocolate Nutella Pots de Crème
- The only challenging part is getting the custard cooked to just the right consistency and temperature without scrambling the eggs. This is accomplished by slowly cooking the custard over medium heat and stirring constantly. Keep stirring as it prevents the custard and egg yolks from sticking to the pan and solidifying.
- The finished custard will have the consistency of thick paint. It will coat the back of a wooden spoon in an even layer. Swipe your finger across the back of the custard covered spoon. If the edges of the line run and drip down, it needs more time to cook. The custard is done when the line stays intact and the custard is thick. The temperature for the finished custard will be between 175°F and 180°F. Above 185°F the eggs will scramble.
- Often, my custard reaches 175°F but is not thick enough. Keep stirring and control the heat by turning down the heat or take the pan off the heat for a minute then place it back on the heat. Keep stirring.
- Trust your judgement.
- Once assembled and in placed in the refrigerator, give Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme enough time to set, at least four hours. When set, it should have the consistency of pudding.
If you are not a chocolate fan but still want an elegant dessert try Peaches and Berries layered with Bourbon Sabayon and substitute the peaches with seasonal fruit. Or, make the light and airy Lemon Mousse. Another winner is Lemon Pavlova with Kiwi and Passion Fruit Sauce.
For Your Listening Pleasure
Here is a link to my unfinished play list of love songs on Spotify. It is an eclectic list of music, with an R & B foundation. Enjoy it while you are creating Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme or a love song of your own creation. Yeahhhh! Love is….. Making dessert for someone.
What is your favorite Love Song? Let me know in the comments section below.
Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme
- 1 cup 10.5 oz / 303 g Nutella, or another chocolate-hazelnut spread
- 3.5 oz 100 g dark chocolate (70 percent) chopped
- 1 ½ cups 375 ml whole milk
- 1 cup 250 ml heavy cream
- ¼ cup 2 oz / 54 g granulated sugar
- ¾ tsp Kosher salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1- 2 tsp Sriracha sauce 2 tsp if you like it spicy hot
- ½ tsp instant espresso powder
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream or crème fraiche
- Cocoa powder for dusting
- Minced hazelnuts for garnishing
- Flaky sea salt I like Maldon
Spoon the Nutella into a medium mixing bowl (or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade), then add the chopped dark chocolate. Set aside.
Add milk, heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar and Kosher salt to a medium size nonreactive saucepan. Turn the heat up to medium temperature. Briefly whisk together the ingredients. Switch out the whisk with a wooden spoon and cook the custard stirring constantly, scraping along the bottom and crevices of the saucepan to make sure the custard does not stick or burn. After the custard has cooked for a while, about 8-10 minutes, you will notice the custard beginning to get thicker. This is an indication your custard is getting finished.
Look for these three clues that indicate the custard is done cooking; first, dip your wooden spoon into the custard to coat the spoon then run your finger across the back of the spoon to paint a line. Hold the spoon sideways, if the line edges stay intact, not runny, then the custard is ready. Second, the temperature of the custard should register between 175˚F and 180˚F (79°C - 82°C). Above 185˚F (85°C) the eggs will start to scramble. Third, the custard will look thicker, almost as thick as good quality house paint. Depending on the temperature of your stove, the cooking time should take between 10-15 minutes.
When the custard is done, turn off the heat and pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl with the chocolate and Nutella. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, organize 6 -8 oz (250 ml) serving glasses, ramekins, or small coffee mugs on a rimmed baking sheet.
Thoroughly stir, or process in your food processor, the custard and chocolate until the chocolate is all melted and thoroughly mixed together. Then add the instant coffee, sriracha, and vanilla extract and stir again double checking the chocolate is melted and the custard is well mixed.
Pour the chocolate into a container with a spout then pour the chocolate custard into serving dishes. Tap each glass against the countertop to remove any air bubbles in the chocolate pots de crème.
Place the pots de creme in the refrigerator and chill until the custard is just chilled, about one hour. Once the pots de creme are cooled, cover each serving dish lightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Serve chilled and garnish each serving with whipped cream or crème fraiche, sprinkled coco powder, sea salt and chopped hazelnuts.
© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.
A thank you. A greeting. An introduction. A small gesture… A homemade gift can be all those things. Homemade treats do not have to be fancy or time consuming to make, a simple gift will do. They are always appreciated. I like making gifts, but I do not get around to making them as much as I would like. I usually think of an idea for a homemade gift too late and eventually buy something along the way. When I found this recipe for chocolate bark, I had an ah ha moment. I can do this. This recipe for chocolate bark is unusual, simple to make, beautiful to look at, and satisfies all chocolate cravings.
I have been a fan of chocolate bark for some time now and must admit to be a total dark chocolate fanatic. A day does not go by without a chocolate snack. My dessert choice usually has chocolate as the main attraction. I can’t help myself and totally find chocolate irresistible. I discovered this recipe while reading, Seasonal Fruit Desserts, by Deborah Madison. Yes I see the perplexed expression on your face: a chocolate bark recipe in a fruit dessert cookbook? Yes, Deborah Madison is no dummy and included this recipe in her dried fruit and nuts chapter. There is something for everyone in all of her cookbooks.
Her chocolate bark recipes are different, which was the main attraction for me. Laden in her chocolate bark are dried fruit, nuts, rose petals, citrus zest, and other floral attractions, reminding me that chocolate bark can be whatever I want it to be. The add-ins do not need to be limited to pretzels, peppermint and coconut. It can hold up to any variety of flavors that compliment chocolate, like citrus, chili, cinnamon, coffee, sea salt, ginger, and all nuts, just to name a few. One could go crazy with add-ins for chocolate bark and have a surprise in every bite. I do not recommend going too crazy, the flavors do need to get along and marry with each-other and the type of chocolate.
Chocolate bark is a welcome dessert by itself or with fruit, nuts, cookies, or sorbet. You can keep it in your refrigerator to have on hand to serve for an impromptu dinner party. Chocolate bark will also make a lovely hostess gift, or a small gift to the chocolate lover(s) in your life. A homemade gift that can easily fit into anyone’s busy schedule.
Tis the Season: Chocolate Bark
Dark Chocolate Bark -makes one 10 x 6 inch slab of chocolate bark
- 4 oz dark chocolate between 60% to 70% cocoa butter
- 2-3 Tb chopped candied ginger
- 2-3 Tb chopped dried apricots
- 3 Tb salted green pistachio nuts some chopped and some nuts left whole
- Pinch of flaky sea salt like Maldon
White Chocolate Bark makes one 8 x 5 inch slab of white chocolate bark
- 4 oz white chocolate good quality such as Lindt - or Lindt white chocolate with coconut
- 2 Tb finely chopped salted green pistachios
- Orange zest removed with a citrus zester in thin strips
- 1/2 tea lavender or other dried edible flower pedal like hibiscus or rose petals
Dark Chocolate Bark
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Put the broken up chocolate in a bowl fitted over a pot of simmering water. If you want to add any dried spices add them now as well. Make sure the simmering water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Just a small amount of water is all that is needed, no more than an inch high. Gently stir the chocolate while it is melting, and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
When the chocolate is melted stir in half of the chopped fruit and nuts.
Spread the melted chocolate over the parchment paper in a thin slab, then sprinkle the remaining fruit and nuts evenly across the bark. Gently press down of the fruit and nuts so they will stick to the chocolate when it sets. Sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt.
Refrigerate the chocolate until it is set, at least an hour.
White Chocolate Bark
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper large enough to hold a 10 x 6 inch slab
Add the chopped white chocolate bark to a bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. Keep the heat low and stir and scrape down the sides of the bowl while the white chocolate is melting.
When the white chocolate is melted, pour it out on the parchment paper and spread the chocolate into an even slab.
Sprinkle the remaining ingredients decoratively and evenly over the white chocolate and gently press them to adhere to the chocolate.
Refrigerate until set, at least an hour.
Break up the bark into irregular pieces and serve by itself or with other nuts, fruit, cookies or ice cream.
Keep the chocolate bark in an air tight container and wrapped in parchment or wax paper. Keep in the refrigerator.
© 2016 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.