The combination of the silky smooth milk chocolate cremeux with fruity olive oil and sea salt flakes is perfect. You would think that this interesting flavor pairing of chocolate with olive oil is the creation of some molecular gastronomy chef but it was actually the Catalans in Spain long time ago. When luxury ingredients such as chocolate were strictly rationed after World War II, Catalans would melt a piece of chocolate, spread it on bread and add a few drops of olive oil and salt on top. This is no surprise as the Spanish use olive oil with almost anything, especially on bread.
There is still a scientific explanation of why chocolate pairs well with olive oil. Chocolate is made up of cacao solids, cacao butter, vanilla and sugar. Cacao butter is very fatty and coats the tongue. The extra virgin olive oil decreases the fat thanks to the polyphenols it contains, a class of antioxidants found in a variety of foods, and these polyphenols dry the mouth and allow the cacao flavor to come through.
Also, the flavor notes of chocolate pair well with those of olive oil. Some chocolates taste fruity, others taste nutty; some are more bitter, and some are milder. Olive oil is the same. Different varieties are more or less bitter, and taste more or less peppery, fruity, or floral. These flavors complement the fruity, floral notes in chocolate.
The sea salt flakes add some texture, temper the sweetness and accentuate the flavors of chocolate and olive oil.
For this dessert to be really perfect you need to get the best quality chocolate, fruity olive oil and flaky sea salt.
Chocolate Cremeux Ingredients
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup of milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 180 g (6oz) dark chocolate 60-65% cocoa content
- olive oil
- sea salt flakes (like British sea salt Maldon)
- cookies such as butter almond thins
1. Bring the cream, milk and about half of sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Meanwhile in a bowl, whisk the egg yolk smooth and very rapidly whisk in the remaining sugar. Make sure no egg yolk and sugar lumps are still visible.
2. Pour a quarter of the boiling milk into the egg yolk mixture and whisk quickly. Pour the tempered egg mixture into the heated milk and on low heat stir the mixture to 81⁰C (183⁰F) while constantly stirring using a rubber spatula. Remove from heat and pour into another bowl to stop the cooking process.
4. Add the chocolate (chopped or grated) and using an immersion blender make the mixture smooth. Pour into a container and place covered in a refrigerator. Let it cool down in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before serving.
5. Serve two small scoops per plate. Drizzle with fruity olive oil around the scoops, not on top. Sprinkle some sea salt flakes on the chocolate cremeux scoops. Place two butter almond thins on each plate. Watch the face of your surprised dinners.