Chocolate hazelnut pots de crème
And for this year, my wish for each of us is small and very simple.
And it's this.
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.
So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever. - Neil Gaiman
Notes: The hazelnut flavor of the custard is super subtle; if you prefer a stronger hazelnut tone, add an additional tablespoon of hazelnut liqueur. If you don't have coconut milk, you can substitute equal amounts of soy cream. If using non-dairy milk (almond, soy, etc.) you'll want to increase the the tapioca starch to 5-6 tablespoons. The best thickener for custards tend to be those of the root variety, so feel free to use potato or arrowroot in place of the tapioca. I used muscovado sugar because it's super rich and helps to deepen the flavor of the custard, but feel free to use cane sugar, brown sugar, sucanat, etc. If you'd prefer to skip the baking step, knock yourself out. But you'll still need to refrigerate the custard until set.The consistency of canned coconut milk varies greatly. If using Thai Kitchen (one of the higher quality coconut milks, in my opinion), you'll want to boil the mixture for only 5 minutes instead of 10. If using Native Forest, follow the instructions as laid out below. Unfortunately, I have not tested any other coconut milks.
Update: I tried making this with a cheaper variety of dark chocolate and it did not turn out properly. It is important that you use the best quality chocolate you can find - I've used Valrhona le Noir 61% chocolate and Whole Foods 56% cacao with great results.
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT POTS DE CRÈME
4 oz good quality dark chocolate
1 3/4 cups full fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons muscovado sugar
1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line the bottom of a shallow baking pan with a small towel; set aside. Chop the chocolate and place it in a large mixing bowl; set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the coconut milk, sugar, and hazelnut liqueur; bring to a boil and let rumble for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat, pour over chocolate, and let sit for 5 minutes; whisk to combine. Sift in the tapioca starch and whisk vigorously until all clumps have disappeared. To reduce the number of air bubbles (or leftover starch clumps, if any), pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
Divide the creme between four 4 ounce ramekins and place them in the prepared baking pan. Fill the pan with warm water, just until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. If you don't want a thin layer of "skin" to form atop the custards, cover the pan with foil. However, covered custards will take considerably longer to set. Bake at 325˚F for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool (room temperature), then chill in fridge for at least 4 hours to set. Top with cacao powder, whipped cream, toasted hazelnuts, and cacao nibs, if desired.
Yield: 4 pots