With 2,500 members, Chevy Chase Club’s Executive Pastry Chef, Elena Clement, relies on dessert components that stand the test of time and can be used in a multitude of ways.
I currently have a favorite recipe at the club that I thought might serve other club chefs well since it’s relatively simple and incredibly versatile. We use this cremeux recipe for plated as well as buffet desserts. It’s a workhorse, yet it’s simple enough for any cook who knows his or her way around the kitchen to prepare with great success.
The literal translation of cremeux is “creamy” which makes sense since this is a dense, soft, classic pudding. It relies heavily on a handful of quality ingredients. We typically use fresh egg yolks here at Chevy Chase, however, you can certainly use sugared egg yolks. (If you do use sugared yolks, be sure to reduce the sugar in the recipe by 10% to keep it balanced.) We prefer to use superfine sugar, too, because it dissolves faster than granulated sugar. Then for the ultimate creaminess, we use heavy cream with 36% or more fat and whole milk.
Now, for the star of the show: the chocolate! I am currently loving the flavors of the single country origin (Columbia) 65% Tika Bittersweet Chocolate from AUI. It has this “in your face” chocolaty-ness with a fruity and slightly acidic finish. It makes the pudding incredibly delicious, slightly complex and is still super affordable at just under $6.00 per pound.
The ease of making this cremeux is what makes it stand out. It’s basically crème anglaise with the addition of chocolate. To make the anglaise, put the cream, milk and half of the sugar in a heavy-bottomed pot and bring it to a boil. Then, whisk the second half of the sugar into the eggs yolks and temper in half of the dairy mixture. Use an immersion blend for a few seconds to ensure it has a smooth consistency. While blending the egg mixture allow the rest of the dairy to come back to a boil (this reduces the cooking time once you add the egg mixture back to the pot). Add the egg mixture back to the boiling dairy and cook to nappé stirring constantly with a spatula. Be careful not to incorporate air bubbles. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes so that the chocolate can soften and begin to melt. Hit it again with an immersion blender to form a super smooth emulsion but do not incorporate a lot of air as you do not want bubbles on the top of the cremeux once it is in the desired vessel.
Once you’ve completely combined all ingredients and you’ve scraped the bowl well, put it into your desired vessel.
For plated desserts, we typically make our desired amount and pour it into a hotel pan. We allow it to set up overnight and then quenelle it to the desired size for the dessert.
For buffets, we have been using a sauce gun to portion it into 4-ounce ramekins that set up overnight and are garnished the next day for the buffet. We like to garnish the cremeux with seasonal fruits and sauces then accompany it with some tasty crunch components.
Our members are enjoying the various presentation of the chocolate cremeux. And we love that it’s so easy to prepare and very versatile to garnish. Whatever your presentation methods are, we hope you will use this recipe to your advantage soon!
Chevy Chase Club’s Chocolate Cremeux
Yield: approximately 1 # 7 ounces
4 ounces heavy cream
8 ounces whole milk
3 each fresh egg yolks
3 ounces granulated sugar
6.5 ounces dark chocolate, 58% or higher