Chocolate Hazelnut Pots de Creme with Praline

chocolate praline

 ~ Chocolate Hazelnut Pots de Creme with Praline ~

These little vessels of silky rich dark chocolate custard get dressed up with nutty, fragrant hazelnuts. Frangelico liqueur is the secret ingredient, an Italian noisette (hazelnut) flavored liqueur that tastes great straight up or laced in coffee or over ice cream. It’s also a great addition to an affogato. This recipe will make 6 generous servings for diehard chocoholics. If the portions are too intense, divide among espresso cups for the perfect sweet after dinner touch of chocolate. For best results, use high quality dark (70%) chocolate. And if you can’t find frangelico but still feel nutty, then substitute amaretto.

chocolate hazelnut tastefood

Chocolate Hazelnut Pots de Creme with Praline

Begin this recipe 1 to 2 days in advance of serving. Makes 6 (3/4-cup) ramekins or 12 espresso cups.

Pots de Creme:
1  3/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
6 ounces high quality dark chocolate (70 to 72%), finely chopped
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Frangelico or hazelnut liqueur

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Frangelico or hazelnut liqueur

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted lightly and skinned, coarsely chopped (or almonds, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Make the pots de creme:
Preheat oven to 325 F. (170 C.) Heat the cream and milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it reaches a simmer. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until melted and smooth.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl until blended. Add the cream in a steady stream, whisking to combine. Whisk in Frangelico. Strain through a fine meshed sieve into another bowl and cool for 5 minutes.
Pour into ramekins or espresso cups. Place the ramekins in a baking pan. Fill the pan with boiling water half way up the ramekins. Cover ramekins with foil and transfer to oven. Bake until set, but still a little wobbly when jiggled, about 55 minutes for ramekins and 45 minutes for espresso cups. Remove from water bath and remove foil. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Make the whipped cream:
Beat the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer until traces of the whisk appear. Add sugar and Frangelico. Continue to beat until peaks form.

Make the praline:
Heat the sugar in a heavy small saucepen over medium heat until sugar melts, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until sugar turns amber in color. Add the nuts and sea salt and stir quickly to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and spread into a thin layer.. Do not touch with your fingers. Cool completely. Break into small pieces.

To serve, spoon a dollop of cream over the center of each ramekin. Top with chards or finely chopped praline.