Chocolate Pot de Crème with Candied Brioche Whipped Cream

Serves 8.

Note: The pudding can be refrigerated overnight; bring to room temperature before serving. The croutons can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature overnight. Chef Gavin Kaysen of Spoon and Stable created this dessert in honor of his grandmother Dorothy. He told Food & Wine magazine, “She used to make a big bowl of chocolate pudding and then set it in the middle of the table with a handful of spoons.” From Food & Wine’s January 2016 issue.

Pudding:

• 2 c. heavy whipping cream

• 1 1/2 tbsp. instant espresso powder

• 5 oz. dark chocolate (60 percent cocoa), finely chopped

• 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks

• 1/2 c. sugar

• 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

 

Croutons:

• 3 oz. brioche, cut into 1/2-in. dice

• 3/4 c. sugar

• Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling

• Whipped cream:

• 1/4 c. warm heavy whipping cream, plus 1/2 c. chilled heavy cream

• 1 tbsp. sugar

Directions

To make the pudding: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Set an 8-inch round soufflé dish in a small roasting pan. In medium saucepan, whisk 2 cups cream with espresso powder and bring just to a simmer over moderately high heat. Remove from heat, add chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes; whisk until smooth.

In large bowl, whisk eggs and extra yolks with 1/2 cup sugar and salt. Gradually whisk in one-quarter of the hot chocolate cream until smooth; gradually whisk in the remaining chocolate cream. Strain pudding through a fine sieve into the soufflé dish. Add enough hot water to the roasting pan to reach halfway up the side of the soufflé dish. Bake pudding for about 50 minutes, until just set. Let cool slightly and then remove from the water bath and let cool completely.

To make the croutons: Spread brioche on a baking sheet and toast in oven until golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer croutons to a bowl and let cool completely. Wipe off baking sheet and line it with a sheet of parchment paper.

In medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar with 1/4 cup water and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until temperature reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes. Stir in brioche and cook, stirring, until croutons are coated in an amber caramel, 3 to 5 minutes. Spread on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon. Let cool completely, then coarsely crush the candied croutons.

To make the whipped cream: In a blender, combine 1/4 cup warm cream with 1 tablespoon sugar and one-quarter of the candied croutons; purée until smooth. Let cool.

In large bowl, using hand mixer, beat 1/2 cup cold heavy cream at high speed until soft peaks form. Fold in candied brioche cream and beat at high speed until stiff peaks form. Spoon chocolate pot de crème into glasses and top with candied brioche whipped cream and the remaining candied croutons.