I can hardly believe that my trip to Pittsburgh was only 2 1/2 weeks ago; our October has been really full! When I was there, I got a great candy bar that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, from Chocopologie, that was dark chocolate with burnt caramel and sea salt. Great stuff!
If this is the only entry you’re reading here, you haven’t yet heard about the wine party we had last weekend, but it was not only a great party, it also has provided me with all kinds of stuff to write about. I made a dessert for the party to mimic the candy bar I got in Pittsburgh.
The dessert started with something I saw as I flipped through the channels a while back. I found a recipe for chocolate creme fraiche pot; I don’t really care much for the show it came from, but then Alton Brown is about the only food show host I really like, but the dish looked interested because it 1) sounds good, and 2) is really easy to make. So for a big party or just when you don’t have time, this is pretty cool to try, especially with my additions.
The recipe for the chocolate creme fraiche pot, as I made it, is:
- 21 ounces (approx) of creme fraiche. You can make your own by combining a couple tablespoons of buttermilk to 2 cups of heavy cream, let it sit out for 8 to 24 hours, then stir and combine. The cream should thicken without curdling. Or just buy creme fraiche if you can find it. Either way works, but it’s a nice, light, slightly tangy taste.
- About 2-3 ounces of shaved semi-sweet to dark chocolate. This is according to your tastes. The more you like dark chocolate, the darker the chocolate to use. I used Scharffen Berger 70% Bittersweet and chopped it up using a heavy fork. Yeah, I could have bought one of those chocolate rakes, but that’s just silly. I’m a man after all; I can’t own a chocolate rake!
The only trick to this is to stir slowly so air isn’t incorporated into the creme fraiche. Putting the creme fraiche in a sauce pan, I turned the heat on about medium, and as the creme fraiche heated, I added the chocolate shavings to the mix. Stirring continually but slowly, all that needs to happen is for the chocolate to melt and mix with the creme fraiche. Once that was done, I poured the mixture into a measuring cup with a spout and poured it into small cups.
NOTE: If it’s just a few of you, do a lot less than 21 ounces of creme fraiche! Maybe half that would work. I was feeding 20 people.
I poured the creme fraiche carefully so as not to make a mess, and I actually got away with it. Once it was all poured out, fairly evenly, I put the cups into the refrigerator to cool overnight. This only needs as long as it takes to get it cold.
On to the burnt caramel sauce. I got this via Google search on deliciousliving. This is a really simple caramel with added cream:
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (I actually used less than this, probably 1/4 teaspoon)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
Again in a saucepan (I cleaned out the one I already used so my wife wouldn’t think I was just trying to dirty more stuff), I put the sugar, salt and water. I let it bubble on medium high without touching it until just before I thought it was going to burn, at a nice dark golden color. I took it off the heat and slowly added the 2 cups of cream, stirring up as much caramel as I could. Putting it back on medium heat, I stirred it until I got as much caramel incorporated as I could. Then I added the vanilla and stirred it in, too.
I poured all that into a bowl and refrigerated it, covered, overnight along with the chocolate creme fraiche. The next day, I thought about whipping the burnt caramel sauce, but instead decided to leave it a bit runny, and I poured it into each of the cups holding the chocolate creme fraiche.
Just before serving, the last touch I added was a few sprinkles of Fleur de Sel sea salt, which is in kind of big grains. The result was much better than I expected, and seemed to meet with approval from almost everyone.
Admittedly, not everyone liked it. My wife doesn’t care for dark chocolate, so she didn’t have any, though she loved the burnt caramel sauce. A couple guests tried it and didn’t really like it, but the vast majority loved it, several asking for the recipe.