Week-night dinners are never disappointing in this house. Calum amended his repertoire of chicken and Uncle Ben’s rice, telling his work colleagues he has no choice about the matter. Which is perfectly true. Instead he is rustling up a mean carbonara, prawns cooked in ginger and garlic with noodles drenched in soy sauce, steak-stuffed peppers topped with melted cheese, and his notorious roast of lamb shoulder, enough to feed six but we’ve got it covered, roast potatoes and all the trimmings including ‘homemade’ Yorkshires from the freezer (I’m still working on it).
After demolishing dinners like these we sit sluggishly on the sofa (yes, we still need a dining table) propping each other up in a well-fed torpor. Inevitably, this satisfaction doesn’t last long and I’m soon thinking where’s the dessert at already… The meal is not over until something sweet has passed these lips. It is the full stop to the eating period, or potentially the exclamation mark; that moment when you taste the morsel on the spoon and your eyes widen in surprise, in pleasure, in melt-into-your-bowl ecstasy. Before you know it you’re scraping the bottom of the empty dish with violent precision, grateful there wasn’t a pattern there.
So, with this happy future in mind, I start casually examining the fridge, browsing the cupboards, constructing a treat as I go. Sometimes it’s the extravagance of homemade doughnuts which we’d roll in cinnamon sugar, rip into chunks and top with cherry jam – no need to waste time on actually filling them. Otherwise it’s as simple as a mug-cake – a great invention – carved out into bowls and served with a drizzle of cream, or, if it’s a particularly sorry sight for ingredients, some cake from the freezer which I conveniently froze in slices, defrosted lickety-spit in the microwave.
That is, until I found this; the personification of a simple, week-night, kitchen adventure. These sea salt chocolate pots only require four ingredients; chocolate, salt, cream and egg yolks. They only ask for a little melting and mixing then a rest in the fridge which is the hardest part, that frustrating waiting part. The cream sets like a ganache rather than a mousse, thick and unctuous and, in Calum’s words, ‘the only thing smoother than the texture, was the taste.’
I chose dark chocolate sprinkled with sea salt (a handy two-birds-with-one-stone purchase) that salty edge balancing the cloying richness. Rippling raspberries through the chocolate cream can offer bursts of tartness, however, I like the silky smooth mouth-feel unadulterated. By instead topping the creams with a couple of dainty raspberries the fruity flavour compliments the chocolate. Due to poor mathematical judgement I split a quantity for two across three glasses but it resulted in the perfect amount; a couple of teaspoonfuls of this rich ganache was more than enough each, and, coming from me who can scoff cookies and cake like a pig at a trough, is saying a lot.
Forget the weekend, with these little guys around bring on the week-night.
Sea salt chocolate pots
Adapted from Allan Pickett’s recipe
100g good-quality salted dark chocolate, chopped – I used Lindt Excellence Sea Salt, if you use an unsalted variety add a pinch of flaky sea salt to the chocolate cream.
100ml double cream
1 large egg yolk
- Heat the cream in a saucepan until it begins to simmer at the edges. Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the cream over. Gently stir until melted and smooth.
- Beat the egg yolk in a separate bowl and quickly whisk into the chocolate cream. Spoon the mixture into three glasses or small ramekins. Chill in the fridge for an hour or so, or until set.
- Garnish with a couple of raspberries and attack with a teaspoon.