*Make Ahead Required* A most luxurious and rich dessert with simple ingredients and minimal effort. Chocolate Pots de Crème with a dairy free option, is a go-to recipe for make ahead ease. vegetarian + gluten free
Preheat oven to 300F (150C) and set oven rack in the center. Set four, 8oz (230g) ramekins or oven proof glass jars in the middle of a deep baking or roasting pan (at least 2"/ 5cm deep). Set aside.
Put a kettle of water on to boil. This will be used to fill the pan 1/2 way, creating a water bath to gently bake the Pots de Creme.
If using coconut milk, sometimes the fat settles at the top. Open the can and whisk until all the fat is incorporated with the liquid, then measure out one cup. In a medium sauce pot, heat the milk until just bubbling around the edges. Whisk, then allow the bubbles to return around the edges. Remove from heat and immediately add the chopped chocolate. Give the pan a shake so that the chocolate is covered. Set a timer for one minute and allow the chocolate/milk mixture to set. After one minute, whisk until all the chocolate is melted. Set aside.
In a large spouted measuring cup or medium mixing bowl, whisk the whole egg, egg yolk, and sugar together until throughly combined. While whisking the egg mixture, add about 1/2 cup of the chocolate mixture to the eggs and whip vigorously (this is tempering so as to not scramble the eggs with the hot milk mixture). After about 10 seconds, you can pour the remaining chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Add the vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Whisk again.
*OPTIONAL* If you're concerned that there may be any bits of cooked egg in the chocolate mixture, you can run the custard through a sieve before pouring it into the vessels.
Divide the chocolate custard evenly into the four vessels (a little under 1/2 C each) being careful not to spill into the pan. Carefully fill the pan 1/2 way with boiling water, then gently transfer the pan to the oven. Lay a sheet of foil over the top of the custards.
Bake the custards for 22-25 minutes or until the custard is set but the center still juggles a bit. Remove from oven. Use tongs to transfer the vessels to a plate, then transfer to the refrigerator. Allow to set in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours so the custard has time to set. If needed, the pots can be made up to two days ahead. Once chilled, cover the pots until ready to share. Remove from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes prior to enjoying.
Share with lightly sweetened whipped cream or whipped coconut cream, sprinkle with chocolate shavings, or with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg.
*I prefer 80-85% chocolate in this recipe. The higher the percentage, the more bitter the chocolate is. This resource lists so many excellent dairy free chocolate brands. I love Theo, and Endangered Species.**Leftover egg whites freeze beautifully. I use leftover whites for meringues, buttercream, macaroons etc... but they can also be stored in the fridge for a few days to later be used in a fritatta or any eggy dish. Disclosure: Theo Chocolate sent me samples of their Chocolate. They are fair trade, organic and vegan and for me, local. I've been a fan for a long time. All opinions are my own.