Chocolate Garden that included Chocolate Mint. Who wouldn't want a garden that looks and smells like chocolate? I also did a post a few weeks ago on Chocolate Ice Tea that included chocolate mint (peppermint). Chocolate Mint is very easy to grow, although it can become invasive, as most mints. Keep it in a pot by the kitchen door, and you'll be a happy camper. Lots of uses.
So naturally I was excited when I picked up the latest issue of Sunset Magazine (July 2011), one of my favorite magazines for design, food and gardening, and there was an entire article on Chocolate Mint. Be sure and read the entire article in Sunset with recipes for Chocolate Mint Pots de Creme, Grilled Lamb with chocolate mint salsa, and Moroccan Chocolate Mint Tea. Don't expect the mint to taste as intense as a piece of chocolate. The chocolate part is very, very subtle, but the mint is strong and different from the usual mint you might find at the market.
So here's the Sunset Recipe for Chocolate Mint Pots de Creme. You can make this ahead, so you have time to relax before your 'garden' party! And, since tomorrow is National Pudding Day, and Pots de Creme is really just a version of pudding, you should consider making Chocolate Mint Pots de Creme. YUM!
CHOCOLATE MINT POTS DE CREME
One of the hints from Sunset is to add all cream instead of half milk and half cream. Yes, it makes it so much richer! I've changed the recipe below. If you really love chocolate (you're reading this blog, so you must!), add a bit more chocolate on top!
4 cups heavy cream
3 ounces (3 big handfuls) chocolate mint sprigs, plus leaves for garnish
1 cup sugar
8 large egg yolks
Sweetened whipped cream
3/4 cup dark chocolate shavings
1. Heat together cream and mint in a medium pot over medium heat until mixture starts to simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep about 2 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 300°. Set 8 ramekins (4 oz. each) in a large roasting pan or baking dish.
3. Reheat cream mixture to a simmer; strain into a medium bowl. Whisk together sugar and yolks in a large bowl. Slowly add cream to yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
4. Pour mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly. Fill pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up sides of ramekins.
5. Cover pan with foil and bake until custards are set and jiggle only slightly in the center, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit in hot water 30 minutes. Transfer ramekins to a baking sheet, cover, and chill at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
6. Serve with whipped cream, fresh mint leaves, and chocolate shavings.
Photo: Thomas J. Story, Sunset