Thursday, February 14, 2013

For the Brave: Chocolate & Blood Orange Pots de Crème

Often when you think you're at the end of something, 
you're at the beginning of something else. ~ Fred Rogers

I read something pretty cool in my Instagram feed a few weeks ago and it has stuck with me, so much so that it crosses my mind at least once a day.  Robinmay wrote the bravest thing we can do is get our hopes up.  And it's true, isn't it?  Because we all know what happens when those high hopes come crashing down.  Nothing short of devastation.  It's terribly tempting to hide under the covers and think no way in hell am I going to go through that romantic business ever. again. ever - the excruciating pain of heartbreak isn't worth it.  But the romantic in me knows this isn't true.  There is no better feeling than that of being in love.  I was just there not too long ago, and I rather liked it.  Yes, my last relationship did not work out, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to stay at home and take refuge with the cats and Coronation Street forever.  Eventually, once the heart heals its bruises, I will try again.  Hopes will get high.  I will be brave.  This post is for all of you out there in similar circumstances.  This one is for the brave.

Whether you are in (or out) of love this Valentine's Day, you deserve chocolate and I'm here to provide that service for you.  These chocolate pots de crème were in regular dessert rotation when I was chef at Rutherford House in Edmonton several years ago.  A hit amongst staff (hi Sonia!!!) and customers alike, I had a hard time keeping them in stock.  Good thing they only need about 20 minutes to prep and a day to chill so whipping them up was no biggie.  All you need is good chocolate, whipping cream, butter, eggs, vanilla, a bit of booze and an orange.  The fat content is out of this world, but this is the one day to indulge.  And if you are single, calories don't count.

Really, you can use the zest from any orange you have on hand.  I had blood oranges and it sounds so much more dramatic than Chocolate & Navel Orange Pots de Crème, right?  Hate the chocolate/orange combo?  Leave out the zest completely.  It will still be the awesomest chocolate pot around.  Gather ye some dark chocolate - and chop it up.  Heat whipping cream in a pot until it's almost boiling and add the chocolate, whisking until smooth, then whisk in the rest of the ingredients.  Pour into your favourite pretty tea cups.  I made six with the recipe, but could have easily gone eight.  They last in the fridge for seven days, so just think:  a chocolate pot for every day of the week! 

Chocolate pots de crème is luscious and oh-so-rich.  Thick and creamy with serious chocolate taste, it kind of reminds me of truffle filling.  And that's a good thing.  The longer they chill the better the flavour, so whip them up a day or two before you want to serve them.  It might sound bonkers, but you do need the whipping cream on top to balance out the hardcore chocolate indulgence.  The brandy is nicely waving in the background, and the orange is quietly pleasant, not all up in your face, which I like.  If you let them sit at room temp for 30 minutes before serving, they are softer and creamier.  Don't feel bad if you can't eat all of one pot de crème in a sitting - it's seriously taken me three days to finish one.  Like everything else in life, I'm just pacing myself.  Happy Valentines. xoxo Renée.

Chocolate & Blood Orange Pots de Crème

1 2/3 cups (400ml) whipping cream
275 grams good quality dark chocolate, chopped
zest of one blood orange (or any orange you have on hand)
3 large egg yolks
2 tbsp (30ml) brandy
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup (125ml) whipping cream
2 tsp sugar
orange peel for garnish

Heat whipping cream in medium saucepan until bubbles form along the edges. Remove from heat and add chocolate.  Whisk until melted and smooth.  Whisk in the orange zest, egg yolks and brandy.  Whisk in the butter, one tbsp at a time, whisking well after each addition.  Divide mixture amongst 6 or 8 small ramekins or cups.  Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.  Before serving, let sit at room temp for 30 minutes.  Beat 1/2 cup of whipping cream with 2 tsp sugar until thick peaks form.   Put a dollop on each pot de crème, along with a sliver or two of orange peel.  Serves 6-8. 


  1. These would bring a ray of sunshine to our day Renee> Sharing them wit friends would be even better.

  2. Awesome!!! I was wondering what to serve for dessert at an up and coming dinner party I'm hosting on a work day and this fits the bill!! Can't WAIT!!!!
    Love to you Renee!

  3. These sound amazing! Bookmarking. :)

  4. I wondered what you were doing with the blood oranges (saw your tweet/instagram photo). I love the chocolate/orange combo, so I'm definitely saving this recipe to try soon. Happy Valentine's Day, Renee.

  5. This looks amazing and so easy to make, thank you and Happy V day!

  6. Thanks Val! Yes, I've been sharing them too - way too dangerous to have hanging around the house :)
    Candus - yay! Lots of love to you too.
    Jacquelyn - thanks so much. Hope you enjoy them :)
    Jennifer - i love this combo too; the flavours are subtle and well balanced. Happy Valentine's to you :)
    Agi, thanks! Same to you!

  7. Happy Valentine's Day, Renee! I'm glad to hear your heart is on the mend. Such lovely looking pot de cremes- I love orange and chocolate paired and I'm sure using blood oranges just made it that much more delicious.

  8. I just read somewhere that combining dark chocolate and citrus boost the chocolate's antioxidant power. So really, this is a healthy snack. ;)

  9. People actually hate the orange chocolate combination!? I LOVE it! all chocolate things are better with a little orange flavour.

  10. Totally agree that sometimes having hope can be the hardest thing--and it can really be a disappointment if something falls through!

    Love the sound of this dessert. I've heard people say they hate chocolate and orange together and always never understood it, because it is one of my FAVORITE things to have with chocolate. So good!


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