This Chocolate Pots De Crème is a great Valentine's Day dessert.

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Makes 8 servings 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (use 60 percent cacao bittersweet chocolate such as Ghirardelli, Callebaut, Valrhona or El Rey), chopped fine

5 large egg yolks

5 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup half-and-half

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder mixed with 1 tablespoon water, or 1 tablespoon strong brewed coffee

Whipped cream and cocoa powder or chocolate shavings for garnish

1. Place chocolate in medium heatproof bowl; set fine-mesh strainer over bowl and set aside.

2. Whisk yolks, sugar and salt in medium bowl until combined; whisk in heavy cream and half-and-half. Transfer mixture to a medium saucepan.

3. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon, until thickened and silky and custard registers 175 to 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 8 to 12 minutes. Do not let custard overcook or simmer.

4. Immediately pour custard through strainer over chocolate. Let mixture stand to melt chocolate, about 5 minutes. Whisk gently until smooth, then whisk in vanilla and espresso. Divide mixture evenly among 8 (5-ounce) ramekins. Gently tap ramekins against counter to remove air bubbles.

5. Cool pots de crème to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 72 hours.

6. Before serving, let pots de crème stand at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes.

7. Serve topped with a dollop of whipped cream whipped to soft peaks with a little sugar and vanilla and garnish with a dusting of cocoa powder or chocolate shavings, if desired.

Shared by Chris Kimball, from Cook’s Illustrated,

November 2006 issue