Mike Nevin likes his chocolate to pack some power. Thus his preference for bittersweet and dark over milk chocolate, and his fondness for the Chocolate Pot de Creme on his menu at the Garden Cafe in the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
"I like it because it's intense," Nevin says of the espresso-flavored dessert.
The little chocolate pot has been on his menu since he owned Il Fresco in Ward Warehouse. "I've made it forever."
It's a classic dessert -- " a rich, dense, traditional French chocolate pudding" -- nothing special, he says. "I think we use a better chocolate (Valhrona) than most people use, and take a little more time."
Maybe so, but Mahealani Schneider-Furuya counts it among her favorite chocolate treats and is after the recipe.
Nevin says it would be easy to duplicate at home and would turn out well even using less-expensive chocolate. The nice thing about the recipe, he says, is that the espresso helps keep the chocolate at an even texture as it melts.
Nevin is currently working out of make-shift quarters at the academy, as a new exhibition space and cafe are under construction. He's been displaced since August and won't move into his new spot until November.
But lunches are being served up with style in the meantime, in keeping with Nevin's philosophy of preparing simple meals, but in a manner befitting the surroundings.
Art and food both appeal to the senses and to a person's appreciation of the finer things, he says. "I think there is a sensual connection."
Sensual. A good word for Nevin's velvety chocolate dessert.
Chocolate Pots de Creme1/3 cup espressoMelt chocolate in espresso over a double boiler.
2 cups bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1-1/3 cups sugar
3 cups cream
12 egg yolks
Separately dissolve sugar in cream, over medium heat.
Whip egg yolks, then temper by stirring in 1/3 of the cream. Stir this egg mixture back into the remaining cream.
Mix chocolate and cream mixtures together; strain.
Pour chocolate into small pots or custard cups and bake in a water bath (place cups in a shallow pan of water) at 325 degrees for 25 minutes, until just set. Makes 12 5-ounce portions. Garnish with whipped cream and a strawberry, if desired.
Nutritional information unavailable.
Now that we've lusted over that indulgence, here's a pot de creme designed for calorie-counters. This close to New Year's, it seems that everyone is on a diet.
Vanilla Pots de Creme"Cook it Light Desserts" by Jeanne Jones (Macmillan, 1994)2 12-ounce cans evaporated skim milkHeat the milk over a double boiler with the water simmering. Add sugar and margarine and stir until sugar is dissolved and margarine is melted. Add hot milk to the beaten egg substitute, stirring constantly. Add vanilla and mix well. Pour into 8 small pots or custard cups.
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons corn oil margarine
1/2 cup nonfat liquid egg substitute, beaten until frothy
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place pots in a pan containing 3/4 inch of hot water and place pan in a 325-degree oven. Bake about 25 minute, or until a knife inserted into the center of a pot comes out clean. Cool, then refrigerate until serving.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 116 calories, 2 g fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 158 mg sodium.*
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Can you help?
In keeping with our chocolate theme, Claire Araki is looking for a recipe for brownies served at Kahului School on Maui in the 1950s and '60s. Araki says they were unique and she's never been able to duplicate the taste.
Leanne Chuck is after the recipe for cole slaw served at Lyn's Delicatessen, located in Ala Moana but now closed. Anyone have a lead to Lyn's?
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Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
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