Mocha Sichuan Peppercorn Pots de Crème
Sichuan peppercorns (also known as Szechwan Szechuan peppercorns) Sichuan pepper has a unique aroma and flavor that is not hot or pungent like black or white pepper, or chili peppers. Instead, it has slight lemony overtones and creates a tingly numbness in the mouth that awakens your taste buds and makes these creamy little custards all the more chocolaty.
Pots de crème! That’s an awfully fancy sounding dessert. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. Pots de crème are just Frenchified little custards.
I know you know custard. It’s like pudding only eggier. And I mean that in a good way! A very good way.
Because a good custard is a thing of real beauty. Properly accomplished it transforms the humble egg into something elegantly voluptuous.
They are not hard to make either. But there are no shortcuts. The ratio of fat to flavor is what gives it its heavenly texture. That means you must use whole milk and cream in their proper proportions. Too much egg and the custard gets too dense. Too much heat or too much cooking and the thing will curdle and get grainy on you.
A perfectly cooked pot de crème (or any custard for that matter) should have a bit of sheen on its surface. It should wiggle a bit if tapped or shaken. When you take a bite it should hold its form, but just barely. In fact the moment it touches your tongue it should melt upon itself in a way that is (and there is no other way to say it) sensual.
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