Being invited to the Green & Black’s chocolate tasting in L.A. was like a dream come true, alas I live in the Great White North, ‘eh! I gladly settled for a FedEx package of luxury chocolate bars delivered straight to my door. I truly love chocolate, but can be a chocolate snob, preferring a deliciously dark or a perfectly creamy bar over the corner store varieties of candy bars (although I would be hard pressed to turn down a Kit-Kat). Living in Switzerland, we surely ate chocolate in some form every day and often treated ourselves to a chocolate pyramid cake from Sprüngli. I first discovered Green & Black’s chocolate while in the UK many years ago and was thrilled to discover an organic, fairly traded chocolate bar; I bought a good supplies worth to take home to Canada. Over the past several years, Green & Black’s has become readily available at all of my local favorite shops.
Baking with good chocolate is like using real butter and cooking with a wine you would actually drink. What a treat to use the 70% Dark Chocolate for my Dark Chocolate Crème Brûlée; see recipe below. I paired this with A Michelin and A Mom’s Citrus Madelines (dusted with powdered sugar). Green & Black’s also sent one of my all time favorites – Dark Chocolate with Cherry – which I simply paired with a local BC Ice Wine (Paradise Ranch Chardonnay – nothing short of gorgeous).
I will admit this dessert may have been easier and just as delicious as a straight up pudding or custard. I found the dark chocolate finicky when it came time to broil the sugar. I opted for a low heat torch that didn’t allow for a thick crust, but in the end was better as the chocolate was rich enough. My husband said it was substantial but not overpowering and the hint of citrus in the Madeline was a perfect accompaniment.
Check out Green & Black’s very informative website where you’ll find the company story, how to host a chocolate tasting and the basics of the cocoa bean (did you know there are 45 cocoa beans in each pod?).
Dark Chocolate Crème Brûlée (Pudding)
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup light cream
3.5 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla – set aside. Heat whip cream and cream until very hot, whisking almost constantly. Turn off or remove from heat, add chopped chocolate and whisk until chocolate has melted. Add a little of the chocolate mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisk well. Continue adding a little of the chocolate mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking well after each addition. Fill up your kettle and start it to boil. Place your ramekins (ramequins) into a deep oven safe pan, filling each one about 3/4 full with your chocolate mixture. Now use the boiling water to fill the baking pan with hot water (water should reach about half way up the ramekins). Bake for about 40 minutes – chocolate should be springy and not sticky to a light touch. Remove and chill. (You can eat this delicious dessert now – add a dollop of whip cream to create a perfect pudding) After chilling for several hours (if possible), sprinkle each ramekin with granulated sugar. Ensure the sugar is evenly spread by tapping and gently shaking the ramekin. The easiest and best way to create the brûlée is with a handheld torch; however you can use the broiler in your oven. It would appear that the best way to use the traditional broiler to completely chill the dessert, add the sugar and then place it in an ice bath of sorts. Add cold water and ice to the baking dish you used previously to help diminish the heat reaching your custard. I will warn you this is particularly tricky as the sugar will easily burn.
This makes about 5 servings, but if you double the recipe and use a deeper or wider ramekin, you will yield about 8 servings.
**I found my pretty Madeline pan at Bella Vita**