I love when a recipe calls for stuff I would never have thought of, and it really adds a mysterious and subtle complexity to the dish. I mean, anyone can figure out that peanut butter and chocolate might go well together in a dessert (although bless you, whoever did it first!) but to combine chocolate, orange zest, basil, and pepper is something I would not have come up with on my own.
Fortunately, the author of Speed Vegan did, in this recipe for Chocolate Pots De Crème – and man, it’s so cool! It’s definitely something I’d call unique, so maybe don’t serve it to your pickiest friends, but if you enjoy things that are slightly different (while still being creamy, chocolatey, sweet, and decadent) you should give this one a whirl. If nothing else, it definitely lives up to the premise of being quick to prepare – it does have to set in the fridge for a couple hours, but the prep time is super short. Took me five minutes, tops.
And now for a complete non-sequitur: once, several years ago, when my little brother was about 12 or so, he and I and my husband were hanging out at my parents’ house but they weren’t home – they’d gone out shopping or something, with no particular return time set. My mom gets a phone call and my brother answers it. The person asks how long until my mom gets back and my brother says “Two minutes, tops.”
Maybe you had to be there, but it seriously busted us up. What kind of estimate is that? Two minutes? TOPS? No way are they possibly going to take longer than two minutes to get home, that would be crazy! Now whenever I hear someone use the expression “five minutes, tops,” it always makes me laugh.
But back to the recipe at hand. As promised, it’s very easy (two minutes, tops!). Just heat a can of coconut milk on the stove until it’s simmering, and while it’s doing that chop up a few ounces of chocolate.
His recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, but I have featured a couple of recipes calling for dark chocolate and it seems to be tough for a lot of people to find solid bar chocolates without refined sugar or soy lecithin, so from now on I’m going to try to start with 100% baking chocolate and include sweeteners and such in the recipe. For those of you who don’t particularly care about avoiding sugar and soy lecithin, I’ll point out how to do it with regular chocolate too.
Add your chocolate to a blender or food processor and then pour the hot coconut milk over it. Add some agave nectar, vanilla, basil, orange zest, and a bit of freshly ground pepper and blend until smooth.
You’ll notice the sides of my food processor are super messy – this is because I can never remember that hot things like to explode out of the blender. Use caution and make sure you’ve got your top on nice and tight before you blend!
Pour the blended chocolate into 2-4 small cups (I used 2 ramekins and got them pretty full – this is super rich so you really could get away with 4 smaller bowls) The original recipe suggests straining this through a fine mesh sieve before putting it in the bowls – I skipped this step because…well, because I’m lazy. There were some very small flecks of basil and orange zest that didn’t bother me but if you want it to be perfectly smooth go ahead and strain it first.
Let the bowls sit in the fridge for about 3 hours or until the chocolate is nice and firm and enjoy! The texture is so luxurious, it’s like a nice thick mousse. If the idea of basil and pepper in your chocolate doesn’t excite you, go ahead and skip it – the chocolate crème works great without it. The orange zest alone is a lot of fun, or you could add whiskey if you want to make it really decadent. A bit of mint would also be great – I suspect this recipe is really flexible so be creative!
So, does anyone have any funny stories of stuff their family did when you were younger?
Chocolate Pots De Crème (Vegan, Gluten Free)
- 1 14 oz can regular coconut milk
- 5 oz bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped (I used about 4.5 oz of 100% baking chocolate - if you want to do this, add an additional Tablespoon of agave and an additional teaspoon of vanilla extract)
- 1/2 cup basil leaves coarsely torn (I used about 1/4 cup)
- 2 Tablespoons agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed peppercorns I just used a few turns of black pepper from the pepper grinder
- Put the coconut milk in a small pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
- Put the chocolate in a blender or food processor and pour the hot coconut milk over it. Add basil, agave, orange zest, vanilla extract, and pepper and blend until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Strain through a fine-mesh sieve (I skipped this step but did have small flecks of basil in the final dish so you may want to strain yours to make it super smooth.) Divide among four small cups. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.