This was going to be my entry for our April cookalong, which had the theme of chocolate. However, as I have been a little late in getting the post up, it won't be being judged by the lovely people at Eat Magazine.
I'm not too upset though as I have managed to win a couple of cookalongs previously. My tart won the seafood cookalong last August, my Valentine's recipes won in February's competition and my Molly Malone Hotpot was the winner in March's cookalong along with this Swiss Roll recipe from Cake in the Country.
I decided to make these delicious little chocolate pots after spotting the recipe in the latest addition to my cook book collection: The Flavour Thesaurus. This is an amazing book that lists various food together into flavour types and then lists which flavours pair well together and why.
"A backdrop of dark chocolate shows off rosemary's cool, evergreen flavours. If this recalls the lovely combination of Chocolate & Cardamom (see page 14), that's because the dominant flavour compound in both rosemary and cardamom is cineole, common to bay leaf too (think how all three make great milk-based desserts). Cineole has woody eucalyptus, slightly minty notes. In rosemary, these are joined by peppery, camphorous characters, while cardamom takes it in a more citrusy, floral direction -- you might say chocolate with rosemary is a wintry alternative to chocolate and cardamom."
After reading that paragraph I knew I had to try them as I would never have thought to pair chocolate and rosemary together previously. They are incredibly delicious, the rosemary takes away the cloyingness that you can sometimes get with chocolate.
This recipe is relatively straight forward but there is a point at which is can all go horribly wrong, but fear not, as I shall include troubleshooting instructions for you should this happen.
Cut your lemon in half and squeeze out the juice of one half. Measure out the sugar into a heavy bottomed pot and pour in the lemon juice.
Add the wine and put over a low heat, stirring occsionally until all the sugar has dissolved.
While the sugar is dissolving it is time to prepare the chocolate. The chocolate needs to be grated so that it will melt quickly into the mixture later.
When the sugar has all dissolved, carefully pour in the double cream.
Now comes the important part; you need to stir the double cream mixture constantly over a gentle heat until it thickens, which will take about 20 mins. Do not let the mixture boil!
Now add a sprig of rosemary to the cream mixture and stir in the grated chocolate.
Bring the mixture to the boil and stir until the chocolate has completely melted. Once melted, reduce the heat and simmer the mixture for 20 mins until rich and dark.
Allow the mixture to cool. Once cool you face the moment of truth, seeing whether your mixture has split or not. You will know if it has split if there is a visible layer of fat sitting on the top of the chocolate mixture when it cools. This is easily fixed by using an electric hand whisk on the mixture for 3 - 5 mins until the fat is completely reincorporated into the chocolate mixture. This whisking can be done after the following step.
When the chocolate mixture is cool, strain it through a sieve into a bowl. This is to remove the rosemary stalk from the mixture.
Set out your little ramekins and divide the mixture into them. This mixture should fill between 8 and 10 dishes depending on their size.
Cover each ramekin with a small square of cling film and put into the fridge to set.
The pots should be set after about 2 hours. Eat and enjoy! These keep for at least a week in the fridge, I can't tell you if they keep any longer as there were none left then.