Mocha Sichuan Pepper Pots de Creme

By • April 15, 2011 • 8 Comments


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Author Notes: Sichuan pepper has a unique aroma and flavor that is not hot or pungent like black or white pepper, or even 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.
- SippitySup
SippitySup

Food52 Review: SippitySup's take on a classic pot de creme results in a densely creamy, intense coffee flavor and the subtle kick and mouth numbing sensation from the Szechuan peppercorns puts it over the top. While finding these particular peppercorns may prove difficult, do search them out; they provide a truly unique twist for this recipe and you'll find yourself using them again and again. The recipe calls for steeping the crushed coffee and peppercorns in the milk and cream to infuse the flavors, allowing you to control the coffee and pepper intensity. I found 30 minutes just about right. Straining the coffee mixture twice - once into the eggs, and again into the chocolate/cream, may sound fussy, but it absolutely makes the difference in texture and smoothness. - Burnt Offerings
Burnt Offerings

Serves 4

  • 3/4 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 3 ounces bitter sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole espresso or dark roast coffee beans
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
  • 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • lightly sweetened whipped cream, to taste (optional)
  1. Bring a medium saucepan half filled with water to a simmer. Put 1/2 cup of the cream and the chopped chocolate into a heat proof bowl. Choose a bowl that will snugly fit on top of the saucepan without touching the water. Stir until melted and well combined. Remove from heat, set aside.
  2. Put the coffee beans and Sichuan peppercorns in the bowl of a mortar and pestle. Lightly work them into a roughly crushed mixture. Do not grind into a powder.
  3. Add the crushed coffee and Sichuan peppercorns along with the remaining 1/4 cup cream, all of the milk and the sugar to another small sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a near boil, stirring continuously until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let the flavors infuse, covered about 30 minutes. Return the pan to low heat and bring the mixture back to a simmer.
  4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks together well, then slowly pour the 1/3 of the warmed cream and milk through a strainer into the yolks. Whisk to combine. Repeat 2 more times until all of the cream and milk is incorporated. Discard the solids and rinse out the strainer.
  5. Next pour the egg, cream and milk mixture through the rinsed strainer (to remove any coddled egg) directly into the bowl with the melted chocolate. Stir to combine.
  6. Arrange four 4 or 5 ounce espresso or custard cups in a small baking dish so that they do not touch. Fill each cup nearly to the top with the custard mixture. Fill the baking dish with enough warm water to come about halfway up the sides of the cups. Cover the pan with plastic wrap (it won't melt). Poke 2 or 3 holes in the plastic wrap and carefully move the pan to the oven. Bake about 40 to 45 minutes, until the edges begin to darken and the custards are barely set. They will continue to cook once removed from the oven.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit covered about 10 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and take the cups out of the water to come to room temperature. At this point they can be covered in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to one day.
  8. Serve at room temperature, with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream (optional).

Tags: chocolate, coffee

Comments (8) Questions (0)

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Gregopenskytomatomania

almost 3 years ago SippitySup

Thanks for such a thoughtful write up. I am sorry the plastic wrap melted. That never happens to me. I do buy the heavy duty commercial stuff that comes in rolls as heavy as me, because I like to watch them cook so I know exactly when to take them out. Personally I would skip covering them rather use foil which may raise the temp inside the dish and toughen the custard.

Sunflower_profile

almost 3 years ago Burnt Offerings

They came out just fine with the foil covering! I think my neighbors were disappointed in the small serving size since I always share my desert tests with them to get unbiased opinions ;-)

Sunflower_profile

almost 3 years ago Burnt Offerings

This is the review I sent in, in case they edit it for length: SippitySup's take on a classic Pot de Creme results in a densely creamy, intense coffee flavor, but the subtle kick and mouth numbing sensation from the Szechuan peppercorns really puts it over the top. I had trouble tracking down these elusive peppercorns. They were banned in the US for most of the 90's and early 2000's over the concerns about the risk of a citrus canker they can carry. They are available again, but finding them turned out to be tricky. I finally ordered them online from Amazon - search them out - they provide a truly unique twist on this recipe, and you'll find yourself using them again and again. This recipe calls for steeping the crushed coffee and peppercorns in the milk and cream to infuse the flavors. This allows you to control the coffee and pepper intensity. I found 30 minutes to be just about right, but you can steep more or less to your tastes. Straining the coffee mixture twice - once into the eggs, and again into the chocolate/cream, may sound fussy, but it absolutely makes the difference in texture and smoothness. Two notes - the recipe calls for covering the dish with plastic wrap - mine melted completely and I had to throw it all out and start over. Try using aluminum foil instead to be safe. Also, I would increase the milk to 1 1/2 cups to provide more volume for four servings. This recipe makes 4 servings, but they are barely 1/4 cup each. As written, it makes 2, nice sized servings.

Sunflower_profile

almost 3 years ago Burnt Offerings

Cannot WAIT to test this! Heading down to Rockville on Saturday to meet Amanda and get Sichuan peppercorns. Just ran out a few weeks ago.

Winnie100

about 3 years ago WinnieAb

Looks totally unique and awesome Greg!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

This looks and sounds amazing. Saving this and look forward to trying.

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about 3 years ago yuko

This sounds absolutely wonderful. I just can't wait to make this. Hopefully this weekend!

Hib_kitchen

about 3 years ago MyCommunalTable

This looks really intriquing and delish!