Creme Chocolate or Baked Chocolate Custard

adapted from Arctic Garden Studio

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15-30 minutes (depending on whether you make them large or small)

Cost: $1.05

milk: .08, cream: .25, chocolate: .50, eggs: .20, other stuff: .02

Note: If you don't have any bittersweet chocolate on hand, you can use 2 oz. chocolate chips and 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate. I'm sure you can just go with the (semi-sweet) chocolate chips as well, but I do love me some darker chocolate. Semi-sweet is usually about 45-50% cocao. If you do 2 oz semi-sweet + 1/2 oz unsweetened you get chocolate with about 60% cocao. If you do 1.5 oz. semi-sweet with 1 oz. unsweetened, you'll wind up with the equivalent of about 70% cocao. 

Another Note: You can double up the vanilla if you don't have almond extract on hand. I'm guessing you can also use orange extract or raspberry extract, or anything that sounds like it might go well with chocolate. 

1/2 C whole milk 

1/4 C cream

2.5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped 

1 Tbsp sugar

2 large egg yolks

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/4 tsp cocoa powder

dash salt

whipped cream for garnish if desired

Preheat oven to 300. 

Warm milk and cream and add chocolate and sugar. I did this in the microwave, but you could do it on the stovetop as well. If you do it in the microwave, microwave all ingredients at 20-30 second intervals, stirring in between. If you do it on the stove, bring cream and milk to a simmer and then add the chocolate and sugar and stir until melted. Set aside to let cool slightly. 

In another bowl whisk together the rest of the ingredients (except the whipped cream for garnish of course). 

Gradually add the chocolate mixture, whisking briskly as you add it to the egg mixture. (You don't want your eggs cooking, so just keep whisking. Get your spouse to help if you need to. If you don't have a spouse on hand, whisk just a bit of chocolate in and stop. Then add a bit more. This is called tempering and it will keep your eggs from cooking on the spot.) 

At this point you can pour the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve if you want to be sure to remove any chocolate and/or egg bits that might have escaped your careful whisking. However, I skipped that part since I am lazy. Now, I have to tell you: At this point, my Creme Chocolate didn't look too promising. It seemed thin and like it would separate somehow upon cooking. I sallied forth anyway and I'm glad I did. 

Pour your mixture into 2-4 ramekins. 

Bake in a water bath for 20-30 minutes. (Note: A water bath means that you put your ramekins in a shallow roasting pan and then pour hot water in the roasting pan--not the ramekins--so that it goes about halfway up the ramekins. Then put the pan in the oven. This is supposed to make your custard smoother and silkier and I believe it does. However, I must confess that I missed this little step--whoops--and just put my ramekins in the oven on a pan without the water bath. They still came out great, although they cooked faster (they were small servings and took only about 15 minutes). 

Take them out of the oven when they are almost set in the center (meaning when they have just the teeniest bit of jiggle left right there in the center). They'll firm up as they sit. I'm guessing they're between 160 and 180 degrees, although I didn't take the temperature of mine since they were definitely done when I checked them and I just got them out as fast as I could. (Remember--I forgot the water bath and made the smaller sized ones.)

I should tell you that when they came out they still didn't look like much. I was sure they'd be grainy and gross, but they were dream dream dreamy, and this despite all my efforts to mess them up. Make them. Share them. Love them. 

Posted by The Tasty Cheapskate: