Hazelnut Pots au Chocolat
HAZELNUT POTS AU CHOCOLAT
‘Pots au Chocolat’ are a classic little French dessert, usually made using dark chocolate, and are essentially a petit cup of silky smooth sublime chocolaty goodness.
Whilst they are made with a custard base, they come together very quickly, can be made in advance, and won’t fail to impress. Because of their richness, keep the serving size small. Adding some extra contrasting crunchy texture will only improve the eating enjoyment. Biscotti, roasted or caramelised hazelnuts work a treat with them.
I've mixed it up by adding a sweet hazelnut flavour to the pots, by adding one of my favourite ingredients, Gianduja. Gianduja is a heavenly concoction invented in Turin, the capital of Piedmont (near Switzerland and France) by the amazingly creative Italians, at the end of the 18th Century, during the regency of Napoleon.
What could be argued as some of the best hazelnuts in the world grow in this region, and there are an abundance of them. A clever local chocolatier came up with the idea of combining ground hazelnuts with cacao, to make this thrifty chocolate/hazelnut combination, which didn’t need as much cacao as plain chocolate bars. Visitors to Italy these days can hardly escape being introduced to the product, as Gianduiotti, a little piece of gianduja wrapped in gold paper, shaped like the hull of an upturned boat, are found everywhere!
Gianduja can either be a dark mix of hazelnuts with cacao, or a milk chocolate mixed with the hazelnuts. Both are delicious, and either will work in this recipe. Darker will yield a richer, darker chocolate taste. By law Gianduja must have at least 20% hazelnuts in the ingredients, but 30% is around what I believe is a good quality gianduja.
A marionette character has also taken the name in honour of the sweet confection, and represents the Piedmontese in a carnival in the region!
HAZELNUT POTS AU CHOCOLAT
For a print friendly recipe, CLICK HERE!
180g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate
100g gianduja (roasted, ground hazelnuts mixed with chocolate)
55g caster sugar
85g egg yolks (approx 5)
Combine milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and finely chopped gianduja in a bowl.
Beat caster sugar and egg yolks until creamy, fluffy and lighter in colour
Heat milk and cream to almost boiling, and very slowly pour onto the egg/sugar mixture, whilst it is still beating slowly, to temper the eggs.
Return the mix to the saucepan, and heat whilst stirring continuously until thickened slightly and the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
Pour through a sieve onto the chocolates, allow the hot cream mix to start to melt the chocolate, then stir gently with a whisk until combined.
Pour into pots (or cups or glasses … or whatever takes your fancy) and refrigerate until set (a couple of hours). Can be made ahead of time, and will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.
Serve with a whole hazelnut on top.
SWITCH IT UP
Lemony lemon: Heath the cream and infuse the zest of a lemon in the cream to add some acidity which cuts through the rich milk chocolate/creaminess. Lemon works well with milk chocolate, and lime prefers dark chocolate (for my preferences anyway!)
Honey bunch: add a tablespoon of honey to the cream/milk mixture for a beautiful flavour combination. My favourite is Yellow Box honey which I think pairs amazingly with milk chocolate and hazelnut … but use your favourite honey.