7ouncesdark chocolate70% cacao or higher, finely chopped
114-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
2large egg yolks
⅛– ¼ teaspoon ancho chile powderdepending on how much heat you prefer
⅛ teaspoonkosher salt
For the whipped topping:
114-ounce can full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight in the refrigerator
Coconut sugarto taste (optional)
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, add a can of coconut milk, a couple of egg yolks, ancho chile powder, and kosher salt.
Whisk until thoroughly combined, and then drop in the cinnamon stick.
Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and forms a smooth custard that coats the back of a spoon (about 10 to 15 minutes).
Watch the custard like a hawk – you don’t want to overcook it. Remember: Steaming is good, but simmering and boiling are bad. And when in doubt, use an instant-read thermometer to make sure the final temperature is about 175°F (80°C).
When the custard is ready, take the pot off the heat, and fish out the cinnamon stick. Position a fine mesh sieve over the bowl of chocolate, and pour the custard through to catch any lumpy bits.
Let the chocolate and custard mixture sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
Seriously: set a timer and walk away. Staring at the chocolatey goodness is just going to drive you bonkers.
When your timer goes off, grab a spatula and stir ever so gently to mix the melted chocolate into the custard base. If you stir like crazy, the temperature will drop too quickly, and you’ll end up with grainy chocolate. (Mexican chocolate is traditionally coarse-ground and can be crumbly in texture, but I prefer my pots de crème to be sinfully smooth.)
Steady, slow stirring is essential for ensuring a stable emulsion. Once you’ve achieved a smooth mixture, stir in the vanilla extract.
Divide the mixture evenly into eight 2-ounce espresso cups or ramekins and cool to room temperature. Cover the cups with plastic wrap and let ‘em chill and firm up in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
When you’re ready to serve, remove the pots de crème from the fridge, along with the chilled can of coconut milk.
Remove the lid and carefully spoon out the thick layer of solidified coconut cream on the top.
Toss the cream into a chilled bowl (and coconut sugar if you’re using it) and whip it. In the sage words of Devo, whip it real good.
Spoon a dollop of the whipped coconut cream onto each cup – or if you’re feeling fancy, use a pastry bag to pipe the cream on top.
Dust with a shower of cinnamon grab a spoon, and dig in.
This recipe is foolproof, provided you don’t rush things. Yes, I know it’s virtually impossible to exercise self-restraint when it comes to chocolate, but to ensure a silky-smooth ganache, staple these three tips to your forehead:
Be patient when forming the base custard,
Step away from the chocolate for a full five minutes while it’s melting, and
Stir slooowly and deliberately when combining the melted chocolate and custard.
Trust me: you’ll be rewarded for your stoic Jedi ways.