I am normally a Creme Brulee purist. I like the white Creme Brulee. For home baking, I have used the same recipe for years. It has the perfect creamy texture and the flavor doesn't taste too much like egg.
I was excited to try my first Chocolate Creme Brulee. Since it's only the two of us, I decided to make a half recipe. I ended up with three 6-ounce ramekins. I think I could have filled them a little less full and had enough for four. The recipe calls for extra bittersweet chocolate. Francois defines extra bittersweet as 72 percent chocolate. I couldn't find 72%, so I used Ghiradelli 70%.I think a good chocolate is one of the keys to this recipe.
I always use white sugar for the carmelized top of the Creme Brulee. Francois suggests using brown sugar. Brown sugar, however, contains too much moisture, so he recommends drying it. To dry it you spread the brown sugar on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 200 degree oven for an hour. When you take it out, if the sugar is lumpy, use the paddle attachment of your mixer to break up the lumps.
I am sad to say, I didn't love, love, love this recipe. I wasn't happy with the appearance of the carmelized top. I tried one with brown sugar and one with white sugar. I think the reason is the darkness of the chocolate causes the carmelized sugar to look very dark. One of my favorite things about white creme brulee is the beautiful golden brown carmelized top. The flavor didn't wow me. Although I am a dark chocolate fan, to me this wasn't sweet enough and the texture wasn't as creamy as I would have liked.
I am proud to be creating along side a very talented group of ladies. You can find the links to their blogs over at Chocolate With Francois.
Chocolate Creme Brulees
From Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard
6 ounces 72% chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup sugar
8 large egg yolks
3 cups plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup sugar
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 300.
Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Combine the sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk until well combined.
Bring the cream to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Remove from the heat, and stir in the chocolate until it is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Slowly pour a fourth of the cholcate cream into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep the yolks from curdling. Pour all of the yolk mixture into the chocolate cream and whisk until everything is combined.
Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a pitcher or a bowl. (The custard will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.) Pour the custard into eight 6-ounce ramekins. Place the ramekins in a rimmed baking sheet or a shallow baking dish and pour about 1/4 inch of water into the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 1 hour, until the custard is just set. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the ramekins until the custard is completely set and chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
Finish the dessert: Place a rack as high as you can in the oven and preheat the oven to 500. With the ramekins on a baking sheet, spread the top of each custard with an even layer of about 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place them in the oven as close as possible to the heat source. Broil until the sugar melts completely and forms a crisp, caramel colored crust, about 2 minutes. Keep a close eye on the oven, as the sugar can burn very quickly. Serve immediately.
You can also use a small blowtorch to carmelize the sugar. It allows you to control the heat better as you run the blowtorch over the sugar. I always carmelize using this method. I have never had much success carmelizing in the oven.