Who do you have to impress?
At this point in our pandemic life, it feels like we only have ourselves and the internet. I’m certainly not having a holiday dinner on any major level this year. I’m mostly cooking for comfort.
But I’m also still infusing our Christmas traditions with as much sparkle as possible, so that means we’re still going to have dessert, dammit. And it’s going to be more than peanut butter blossom cookies.
A chocolate pot de creme tart is a sublime combination of familiar and elevated. Like most things I love in life, it’s the marriage of high and low that makes it work.
It’s easy to make (promise), impressive to look at, and one hundred percent satisfying to sink a fork into.
Pot de creme—a French dessert whose name translates to “pot of cream,” you’re not reading that wrong—is a thick custard. It’s basically the most indulgent pudding you can imagine.
Like pudding, you can make it in a number of flavors, like salted caramel (fancier butterscotch!), vanilla, and lemon, but chocolate pot de creme is the standard.
Typically, it’s served in small ramekins or cups, because a little goes a long way. Pot de creme is not something you could eat by the pint. (Well, you could, but don’t expect me to bring you the Tums after that adventure. I told you so.)
But you could also serve it in an edible vessel—say, an easy no-roll tart crust.
So when you combine pot de creme with pâte sucrée (that’s another French term meaning “sugar paste,” aka sweet dough), what do you get?
Basically the fanciest French combination of chocolate pudding and sugar cookie crust in history.
The no-roll tart crust is a simple process, as my how-to video shows. You blitz a quick dough in a food processor, press it into a tart pan with your hands, then bake until it’s golden brown.
And the act of making the chocolate pot de creme tart filling is just as quick.
Please don’t be intimidated by the process of tempering eggs into a custard. I promise it’s not as scary as you might think, and it gives you the most luscious texture.
If you love chocolate ganache—which is really just melted chocolate and cream—this is simply one more step.
It’s the same technique as making an ice cream base, and it pays dividends.
You can fancy your tart up even more by putting whipped cream in a piping bag and making little rosettes, or just spoon whipped cream on top and call it a day.
And if for some reason you can’t polish off an entire chocolate pot de creme tart between yourself and one other person, share the wealth!
It slices beautifully so you can box up single pieces and leave them on your friends’ porches as socially distanced gifts. Just text your friends and let them know it’s there so the squirrels don’t get to the tart first.
Once your filling is made, you’ll have four egg whites leftover for future treats. Don’t send them down the drain! That’s liquid gold right there. Well, liquid whites.
What to do with extra egg whites
- use in a classic fizz cocktail, like the Thomas Jefferson cocktail
- make homemade marshmallow fluff
- make baby meringues, like these one-bite lemon meringues
- or use any of these suggestions from Dessert for Two
- 1 no-roll tart crust
- 6 ounces (168 grams; about 1 cup) milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 ounces (113 grams; about 2/3 cup) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup dark maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 no-roll tart crust, baked and cooled
- whipped cream for garnish (optional)
- Make the tart crust according to instructions and cool to room temperature.
- Combine the chocolates in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.
- Gently beat the egg yolks in a separate medium heatproof bowl and set aside.
- Whisk the cream, milk, maple syrup, and salt together in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.
- Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently with a silicone spatula, until wisps of steam start rising off the liquid and small bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan.
- Slowly drizzle the hot liquid into the eggs, whisking constantly until blended.
- Return the liquid to the saucepan. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid thickens to a loose custard consistency. Timing will vary but will take no more than 5 minutes. You'll know it's ready when you lift the spatula out of the custard and it falls off the edge of the spatula in thick drips rather than a thin stream.
- Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer into the chocolate and let rest for 2 minutes.
- Stir the chocolate and custard together until the chocolate has fully melted.
- Pour the chocolate custard into the prepared tart crust and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.
- Garnish with whipped cream if desired or serve on the side.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 233Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 131mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 5g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.