A Dessert for White Chocolate Lovers
In my family, we have an occasional clash between dark chocolate lovers and white chocolate lovers. Just by looking at our kitchen pantry, you can clearly know who’s winning (hint: it’s dark chocolate). But sometimes, certain flavors call for white chocolate, and there’s nothing like orange and lavender to turn ordinary white chocolate into a fancy dessert.
Pots de Crème is More Just a Fancy Custard
Pots de Crème can be considered fancy because it’s more sophisticated than classic custard. It contains heavy cream and yolks. So basically, it’s closer in richness and consistency to Crème Brulé but without the burned sugar crust. The great thing about Pots de Crème is that it can be flavored in many ways, by infusing the cream with citrus zest or spices.
Orange, Lavender, and White Chocolate
The moment I hear the word lavender, I think of Provence and the South of France. This immediately conjures up the image of lavender fields and citrus trees. The aromas of Lavender mixed with orange zest are perfect together, especially with creamy white chocolate. That’s why this dessert is like a culinary ticket to the French Countryside. All you need to add for a perfect gourmet experience is a splash of chilled dessert wine from the Southern Rhône. I would suggest a dessert wine that has a boost of acidity and expressive orange blossom aromas such as Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise.
White Chocolate Orange-Lavender Pots de CrèmeCourse: DessertCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium
2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream (divided 1 ½ cups for infused cream + ½ cup for white chocolate ganache)
1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1/3 cup (67 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons of culinary lavender flowers
orange zest (from one orange
4 ounces (113 grams) white chocolate chips
1 large egg
4 egg yolks
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place 6-8 ramekins in a roasting pan lined with a kitchen towel (to prevent the ramekins from sliding while baking). Boil 1-2 quarts of water in a kettle and set aside.
Mix 1 ½ cups of heavy cream with the milk, sugar, lavender, and orange zest in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover and let it steep for 30 minutes.
Place the white chocolate chips in a small bowl. Bring the ½ cup heavy cream to a boil. Immediately, pour it over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds. Quickly begin mixing the ganache using a small spatula, making small circles in the center. As the ganache starts to emulsify in the center, start stirring in bigger circles until you get a smooth silky consistency.
Bring the lavender-orange cream mixture to a boil again, then strain and discard zest and lavender flowers.
Using a heatproof bowl with a spout, or a pitcher, whisk the egg and yolks with salt until smooth. Now it’s time to temper the eggs. Begin by whisking the eggs continuously, and gradually add 3-4 tablespoons of the hot cream to the eggs, one at a time. The goal is to get a smooth mixture without cooking the eggs. Once you have poured about half of the infused cream, add the remaining liquid to the ganache mix, stir together and add the vanilla. Pour the ganache cream to the egg-cream mixture and stir.
Strain the liquid through a mesh to discard any impurities. If your final liquid has lots of bubbles, skim them off if you can, to ensure that the custard will have a smooth-looking surface. Pour the mixture into the prepared ramekins.
Once the ramekins are ready, place the roasting pan in the oven and immediately pour the hot water into the corner of the pan, making sure no water gets splashed into the custard. The water should come halfway up sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of ramekins and amount of custard. You’ll know when they are ready when the custard looks set when tapped from the sides.
Remove ramekins from pan. Transfer to a cooling rack, and when it reaches room temperature chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Cover tightly and consume in 2 days.
Wine Pairing Suggestions
- Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise