The Pass. The Judgement day of plates.

The Pass. The Judgement day of plates.
Bring the finished plates up to the pass for inspection.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chocolate Cremeux? What?

Chocolate Cremeux? What? When you venture into the world of French pastries and desserts, one thing you will notice is that, the French have a lot of fancy names to their food that you might find intimidating to eat or to make. For example, "Chocolate Cremeux", What the hell is that? That's right. That was also my reaction when I had asked the Head Pastry Chef of Sepia Restaurant in Chicago while she stirred a pot of rich, chocolaty, sauce-like mixture.

"Cremeux" is simply just a French word that means "Creamy", and so in translation 'chocolate cremeux' is "just chocolate creamy". But what is it excatly? Well, the chocolate cremeux is not really a chocolate sauce nor is it a mousse but it's sort of in between both. I guess you can say it's almost like chocolate pudding that you buy in the western grocery stores but this is a lot better, obviously.

To make the chocolate cremeux it's very easy. What you need are your basic ingredients to make a simple creme anglaise, which in translation is 'English cream' sauce. Egg yolks, Sugar, Milk and flavoring, which vanilla is the most common.

Heat up the milk with half the sugar and whisk the other half of the sugar with your egg yolks. It is important you don't add your sugar to your egg yolks before your milk mixture is hot and ready. The reason for it is that, sugar is very hygroscopic and it will absorb the moisture content of your egg yolks, thus leaving you with grainy spots of yolks that you will have to strain out. If you don't, you will end up with little bits of sand-like specs in your chocolate cremeux, and it's very unpleasant. So if you are planning to make this, just be warned, do not rush the sugar + egg yolk mixture until your milk is hot and ready to be tempered.
Being organized is important and also one of the many keys to success. Have all your ingredients laid out in front of you, and even run through a mental play by play with you have to. Therefore, when you freak out during the process, you have a better chance of knowing how to react and fix the situation if ever needed to. I have my 70% chocolate from Cacao Berry, my yolks, flavoring, and my gelatin at the top. It goes in last.

When the milk comes to a medium simmer, turn off the heat and stream line in the egg yolk + sugar mixture while quickly whisking. This whisking step is important due to the fact that if you don't whisk the mixture fast enough, the heat from the milk and pot might end up cooking the yolks, and you will end up with some kind of scrambled eggs gone horribly wrong. This process of preventing the egg yolks from cooking is all about temperature control, and in the world of baking/pastries, it's refereed as "Tempering". You will often hear this term, 'tempering' in the use of making a lot of butter emulsified sauces, chocolate art making and many dessert making involving the use of egg yolks.

Now, when making sauces or desserts with the usage of raw eggs, it is important and recommended that we bring the temperature of the sauce with the eggs in it to a pasteurized stage. Killing most of harmful bacteria that might be lurking in your sauce. Bring the sauce to a temperature of 85C and holding it for about 10-15 seconds will do the trick, but be sure to keep on whisking it or else you will get scrambled eggs.

I use Cacao Berry chocolate, it's just the brand of what I'm used to, (and plus they are my sponsors in Taiwan) but you can use any other brands of chocolate to your liking. Some people enjoy chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa, and of course, the higher % of cocoa the more bitter the chocolate will be. I, on the other hand, enjoy all types of chocolates.. I don't discriminate. It just depends on the type of mood that I am in. However, after spending some time playing with all sorts chocolates with various percentages and from various regions of the world, I guess it's like coffee, you will slowly learn to lean towards the higher purity of taste. In this recipe, I am using 70% dark chocolate, it's not too bitter, not too sweet and has just about the right amount of cocoa aroma needed for the chocolate cremeux.

So once your cream anglais has hit 85C for 10-15 seconds, pour the sauce over a fine mesh strainer to filter out any curdled egg yolks at the bottom of the pan. And this will also filter out any of the burned egg yolks that your sugar might have caused. Let the mixture sit with the chocolate for about 30 seconds, allowing the heat from the sauce to soften your chocolate callets, it's easier to emulsify the mixture this way.

Then bloom your gelatin over cold water until it's soft and jelly like, add that into your warm chocolate mixture. Using a whisk, start from the center of the bowl and whisk to bind the gelatin, warm creme anglais and partially melted chocolate into an emulsification. Then slowly whisk your way out with bigger circular motion until the over all mixture is fully emulsified and you're done.

The end result is a really creamy, full bodied chocolate mousse-like sauce. You can use it as a cake filler or a sauce for your ice cream, and or let it sit in the fridge until the gelatin sets and eat it like pudding. I would suggest you make yourself some chocolate crumbles, and layer it with the chocolate cremeux and chocolate sponge cake to make a really delicious chocolate trifle. You would have the crunch texture from the crumbles, the rich 70% chocolate cremeux for sauce and the chocolate sponge cake for body. It's a prefect dessert for a lady friend who loves chocolate.


  1. The cream you make is quite similar to our chocolate cream here (crema ciocolato) the difference is instead of using gelatine, we mix egg yolk with sugar and flour, the rest of the process is the same. If we stop the process until cream anglais then we call it crema pasticcera.
    About the French, totally agree with you that they know so well how to do business, cus to me there food is not so so much fancy or magical as people talk about (like macaron is a type of ITalian Maringhe, or Eclais is a form of choux/bigna), but they renamed and promote their food as a fashion or a gift from god! :p

    1. The French take food from other culturals and enlighten them making them their own. If you think thats a bad thing then you shouldn't be cooking

  2. Hi there,
    Just found your blog and looks like you are making fabulous progess on your goal to conquer pastry and baking. I wish I could make the beautiful things you are...but I guess I'll just have to follow your blog instead :D

  3. @cooking practice - with flour? not corn starch? because the most basic pastry cream are usually made with cornstrach. you guys use flour.. that's interesting! thanks for letting me know! where did you say it was from?

  4. @Brittany - thanks! I appreciate your support! I'll try and post up more food posts this week. I got tons of pictures that i took from doing chocolate work for the last 2 weeks!

  5. Yub, we use flour instead of starch, we are from Italy :)

  6. add your gelatin to the anglaise, chances gelatin will dissolve are greater, than strain that mixture over chocolate. straining gelatin is always a great idea

  7. I have seen and made them both with flour and cornstarch, I like flour better, still that is pastry cream, not creme anglaise, which is only thickened by egg.

  8. Sounds like Bavarian cream :)

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  72. What do you use cremeux for? Can you use as cake filling, or in entremets? Can you add fruits like blueberry?