I’m not the only one missing out on tonight’s Chocolate Makers Dinner at Ashland Springs Hotel. Tickets sold out quickly for the popular event, which kicks off this weekend’s 11th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival.
Chocolate in every course is the dinner’s calling card. Foie gras with cocoa-nib mustard and celery-root bisque with a chocolate crouton look particularly enticing.
But there’s plenty more to sample from nearly 40 vendors Saturday and Sunday, when I will be serving once again on the festival judging panel. Look for live updates on Twitter and Facebook of the festival highlights.
It’s been many years since I’ve come clean on this blog about my relative ambivalence to chocolate. I’d choose almost any dessert over the flavor that makes so many people swoon, including my 2-year-old.
This past year, however, has seen us consuming a bit more chocolate around my house. It started with the desire to sample a stash of McCormick’s extracts. The easiest course seemed to spike hot cocoa — homemade from whole milk, simple syrup and cocoa powder — with flavors of coffee, hazelnut, orange, raspberry or peppermint.
Grown-up hot cocoa this is, but my son clings to the cup if offered a taste. The same goes for my occasional indulgence in dark-chocolate with cherries, chilies, sea salt, crystallized ginger and the like. Give him a bite and be prepared to hide the rest of the bar from view.
So I know that chocolate pudding, one of the quintessential kid-friendly desserts, can’t be far behind. And this version, while filled with no small amount of fat, manages to come off exceptionally light and airy, according to recipe testers for the Los Angeles Times.
Filomena’s Italian Kitchen in Costa Mesa, Calif., dubs this a chocolate mousse, although it skips the traditional step of beating and folding in egg whites. Melting chocolate into an egg custard is hardly more involved than mixing up pudding from a box.
Filomena’s Vasetto di Crema
6 egg yolks
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
9 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
In a saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, milk and cream, and then cook over medium-high heat until mixture thickens to a custard-like consistency. Remove from heat and gently stir in the chocolate until chocolate is melted and incorporated.
Strain mixture to remove any lumps, then divide custard among 6 ramekins or tea cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set, for at least 2 hours.
Makes 6 servings.