Chocolate Pot de Crème with Hazelnut Shortbread and Blood Orange Compote


Photograph by Iaian Bagwell

From Kathryn King, Aria

Special Equipment
6 (8-ounce) ramekins or heatproof bowls
3-inch-deep roasting pan large enough for the bowls to fit into

For pot de crème:
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 ounces sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half
9 large egg yolks
4 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into  1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 quarts boiling water

For hazelnut shortbread:
8 ounces unsalted butter
3 1/2 ounces confectioners’ sugar
fine zest of one orange
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces toasted hazelnuts, chopped finely

For compote:
3 blood oranges
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water

To prepare pot de crème:
Preheat oven to 300°F. Bring cream, sugar, and half-and-half to a simmer. Whisk the yolks in a medium-sized bowl, then slowly pour the cream mixture into the yolks while whisking. Add the chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Strain the mixture into a pitcher. Place the ramekins or bowls into the roasting pan and pour the hot mixture into the ramekins. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, turning back one corner. Place it in the oven and pour the boiling water into the pan until water reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Re-cover the corner. Bake for 20 minutes. Shake the pan gently to see if the custards are set; they may require a few more minutes. Remove from water, and chill until the custards are cold, about 3 hours.

To prepare shortbread:
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Cream the butter, sugar, and orange zest together until very light and fluffy. Sift the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, add the nuts, and blend with a fork until mixture forms a soft dough. Pat or roll dough into a log and chill. When ready to bake, slice off 1/2-inch-thick slices and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake until very lightly brown around edges, 13 to 18 minutes. Transfer from sheet to a rack to cool completely.

To prepare compote:
Finely grate the zest from the oranges. Peel and section the oranges, carefully removing all the white pith from around each segment, then place zest and sections in a small bowl. In a small, heavy pan, combine sugar and water and simmer until sugar is dissolved and turns a deep golden color. Pour the caramelized sugar over the orange sections, toss to combine, and macerate for 1 hour.