I had the opportunity to take a private, in-home cooking class from Elia Aboumrad, a Mexican born chef, trained in France, who was a contestant in the second season of Bravo’s Top Chef series. She exited that show with quite a bang, engaging in some heated give and take with the judges. She was serene and level-headed in the kitchen for the five hours I spent with her. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to most of you that a high percentage of the dramatics we see in the kitchens of the competitive cooking shows is manufactured for the TV cameras. Most of the chefs are serious professionals whose real-life behavior when teaching or running a kitchen bears little resemblance to the theatrics they are capable of putting on for TV. I liked Elia. She’s meticulous, smart and gracious. The only challenge we had with her were a few goofs related to her math skills switching from her native metric measurements to our pounds, cups and ounces.
Elia’s Chocolate Pot de Crème is a quiet dessert. It’s smooth and light and will please milk chocolate lovers. I’m an admitted dark chocolate addict, so I lean more towards dark chocolate mousse or molten dark chocolate cake. If you like a lighter dessert with a mild milk chocolate flavor, this is for you. Elia treats her dessert making like a science, not an art, and carefully weighs all of her ingredients. Such precision leads to more consistent outcomes, but it requires discipline and of course, a kitchen scale.
Milk Chocolate Pot de Crème with Orange Bergamot Sauce (seven servings)
- 100 grams of egg yolks
- 280 grams whole milk
- 220 grams heavy cream
- 160 grams milk chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Gently whisk the egg yolks trying not to incorporate air into them. In a double boiler (also called a bain-marie) melt the milk chocolate with the cream. Remove it from the heat and gently whisk it into the milk. Gently add the egg yolk to the milk chocolate mixture.
Pour into small ramekins. Put the ramekins into a quarter sheet pan. Add 1/2 inch of water (just covering the bottom of the pan). Bake for 25-30 minutes until set. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Orange Bergamot Sauce
- 5-6 Valencia Oranges
- Zest of one large orange
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1 Earl Grey tea bag
Juice five of the oranges. You want 1 ½ to 2 cups juice. Put the juice in a small saucepan. Zest one large orange straight into the juice (I love my micro planer for this task). Add the brown sugar and honey and then simmer this citrus mixture on low until it the juice is reduced by half. Never boil citrus or it will become bitter. The reducing process will take at least 20 minutes.
Dampen the tea bag with a small amount of cool water and then place it in the reduced orange juice. Cover the saucepan, remove from heat and allow to sit for twenty minutes. Remove the tea bag.
Drizzle the Citrus Sauce over the Pot de Creme when you serve it. You can also add one or two sections of orange for garnish.