Time to think outside of the pumpkin pie! Not that there is anything wrong with pumpkin pie, but it’s good now and then to switch things around for the holidays. I especially love making custards for dessert when I am entertaining because they don’t take long to put together, just toss them in the oven, no cook-sitting necessary plus you can make them ahead, say the night before. Sounds like a piece of pie? Yeah, I know – but it’s actually chocolate custard! 🙂
There are many kinds of custards and when I started making this one it was meant to be a “pot de crème” but I decided to add fig and skip the straining part so that we could actually taste the figs and it turned out super good!!! One more thing that I was pretty spoiled about on this recipe: I was able to use Venezuelan chocolate that my sister brought me this past summer. Anytime I can add a little piece of my home country to a recipe it just makes it a bit more special.
If you’ve never made a custard before don’t be afraid. It’s pretty easy, the secret lies in tempering the eggs so they don’t scramble. How do you do that? Just by adding a little bit of the hot cream at a time until you bring them to the same temperature. Let’s get cooking!
1 Cup dried figs
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
1 Cup heavy cream
1/4 Whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
2 oz. Dark chocolate, chopped (I used 70%)
3 Large egg yolks
The topping is optional:
1/2 Cup dried figs, chopped in strips
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 Cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 325F. In a small saucepan heat the heavy cream, milk, vanilla and salt over medium heat until just starting to bubble. (warning: you better keep an eye on the cream, once it starts bubbling it will overflow really quickly!). Remove from the heat and keep warm.
In a blender or small food processor pulse the figs and ginger until a smooth paste is form. You can add one tablespoon of water to help you smooth it out. In another saucepan combine the sugar and 1/4 cup of water over medium heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring until it turns amber, about 10 minutes. Add the fig-ginger paste and stir to combine, cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the warm cream mixture, add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
In a medium bowl whisk the egg yolks, start tempering the eggs by adding two tablespoons of the warm chocolate mixture, repeat this step one more time them combine the egg yolks with the rest of the chocolate mixture.
Divide the mixture among 4 ramekins. Set the ramekins in baking dish, then add enough hot water to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with foil and bake until the custard is set, about 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the water and let cool at room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Toppings: this step is completely optional but if you want to add a little dazzle, go for it! Make the toppings right before serving. In a small saucepan over medium heat melt the butter, add the sugar and swirl until melted and starting to turn amber. Add the chopped figs and cook until caramelized lightly, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. In a medium bowl whip the cold heavy cream until soft peaks form. Top your custard with a spoon of whipping cream and some of the candied figs. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂