Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pots de Creme with Homemade Whipped Cream

One of my favorite parts about the South is that recipes are passed down, around and throughout the region like a currency carrying with it the history and traditions of that particular area.  

Something I have enjoyed doing since I was in college traveling all over the great state of Georgia, visiting friend's homes and seeing the different small towns, is to pick up cookbooks in whatever little shop I find myself and see how they make chicken salad.

I know it sounds silly but it is one of those basic southern recipes that seems to be made a million different ways and still tastes perfect every single time.

One such "series" of cookbooks that I always loved to stumble upon were the Junior League cookbooks.  Always the creme de la creme of local recipes, these seemed to be the tried-and-true, the staples of that particular area.  In each of these cookbooks there was a specific way to make chicken salad and serve it with just the right presentation, whether in a phyllo cup or stuffed in a hollowed out tomato, all of which I was certain would be divine!

In each of these cookbooks I find recipes I have no problem trying as I know they will be delicious.  One such recipe is the Pots de Creme recipe from Decatur, AL Cotton Country Cooking Junior League Cookbook.  

Passed around through generations, this recipe found its way to my kitchen through my friend, Kaylee, who originally got the recipe from her friend Sydney's grandmother, Jane McDonald, aka "Nana". 

It is these paths a recipe can take that make me think of a feather flitting through a weeping willow that makes me truly love the simplicity and dedication with which the South treasures and shares its most delicious recipes.

Pots de Creme
Serves 4
l egg
l 6-ounce package semisweet chocolate morsels
l teaspoon vanilla
l teaspoon instant coffee
dash of salt
l pat of butter
2/3 cup milk (heated just to boiling)
Topping: whipped cream** and chocolate shavings

Put all but last three ingredients in a blender. 
 Add hot milk and blend for one minute until thoroughly blended.  Pour into pots de creme and chill for several hours. Add topping just before serving.
(I double the recipe and it will serve 10 in my small pots de creme containers.)
**To make the whipped cream you will need:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a chilled bowl with a chilled whisk, vigorously whisk the cream into peaks.  I use my KitchenAid mixer with the whisk attachment.  You can also use a hand-held mixer to do this just make sure the metal bowl you are using is chilled and the beaters are as well, if possible.  
The trick to making this perfect is a chilled bowl and chilled whisk.
Pour the cream into the metal bowl and turn on whisk to high.  Let whisk until peaks begin to form.  
Add the vanilla and sugar.   
Do not over beat as it will make the whipped cream grainy.  
 Top each pots de creme with a large dollup of whipped cream.  After a long day the tree was trimmed, the pots de creme ready and we were on our way to getting into the Christmas spirit! 

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