Our theme this week for I Heart Cooking Clubs is "Midnight Sneaks" which means a Nigella Lawson recipe that is so good, it is well worth sneaking to the kitchen late at night for another few bites of it. Although I am a snacker and sometimes an insomniac, I don't do a lot of late night kitchen trips like those Nigella is famous for. Still, when picking a midnight sneak (or snack), I went for something that is often on my cravings list, chocolate, in the form of cool, creamy and ridiculously easy to make Chocolate Pots from "Nigella Bites".
Nigella calls these treats, "just mousse without the whisked egg whites, easier to make and somehow less vulgar, for all the daintiness of their presentation. The method used to make them is ludicrously simple and done necessarily, in advance. You just process the lot, pour them into small containers and sit them in the refrigerator to set."
Nigella Bites, Nigella Lawson
(Makes 8 1/4-cup pots or cups)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (best-quality - minimum 70 percent cocoa solids)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon allspice
8 pots or custard cups (1/4 cup)
Crush the chocolate to smithereens in the food processor. Heat the cream and milk until just about boiling, then add the vanilla and allspice and pour through the funnel over the chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds. Process for 30 seconds, then crack the egg down the funnel and process for 45 seconds.
Pour into whatever little cups you're serving in, and sit them in the refrigerator for 5 hours or overnight. But remember to take them out of the refrigerator a good 20 minutes before you want them to be eaten; the chill interferes with their luscious, silky richness.
Note: This makes 2 cups altogether: enough to fill 8 little pots of approximately 1/4 cup capacity. But if you've got only bigger cups, just augment quantities.
Notes/Results: Rich and satisfying, these little pots of goodness are delicious. Like a cross between a mousse and a ganache, they are rich and chocolaty and the touch of allspice gives them a slightly exotic touch. Originally I wasn't sure if I was going to like the allspice, but it did add another layer of flavor that when combined with a good dark bittersweet chocolate, kept these from being too sweet. I used a good local single origin chocolate from Waialua Estates on the North Shore with 70% cocoa solids. This recipe took all of about 10 minutes to prepare, and then it sits until firm in the fridge--easy peasy. Nigella recommends letting them sit out for 20 minutes before serving and I found pulling them out about 15 minutes before eating worked for me--making them not too thin, not too firm but just right. They are so rich that a small 1/4 portion is perfect and I served them in some of my favorite little sake cups from Japan. I would make these again, as is, or it would also be fun to play around with different spices like cinnamon or cardamom.
You can check out the other "midnight sneaks" our IHCC participants made and what they thought of them by going to the IHCC website here.
In case you missed it yesterday, I am giving away one big, beautiful "My New Orleans: The Cookbook" by Chef John Besh. Read my review and find out how to enter (you get up to 3 chances to win), here. You have until midnight Sunday to enter. Don't miss out, this is a terrific cookbook!