Bake the Book: Chocolate and Passion Fruit Pots de Crème with Lychees and Candied Ginger
A hallmark of the desserts found in Frenchie is that they are more than the sum of their parts. Marchand could have stopped at the pots de creme and ginger, or served fresh lychees in passion fruit caramel. But his choice to combine them all yields something greater. This is a dessert best brought out at a dinner party; your guests will find the interplay of flavors remarkable, and it will make you seem like a kitchen wizard.
Tips: It's best to buy fresh lychees for this recipe. Canned lychees have been robbed of that juicy, grape-like texture that pops in the mouth and yields a mild, sweet juice. It's a fresh respite from the heavy cream, chocolate, and caramel. Your local Asian grocery store should carry them. When preparing, make sure to entirely remove the peel and pit. If left on or in, you'll end up with bitter flavors.
Speaking of buying fresh fruit, we sourced our passion fruits from Whole Foods, which has a small section devoted to exotic fruits. If you can't find passion fruit there, an Asian grocery would be a good place to look (and you'll probably be there buying the lychees.) But since this recipe just calls for unsweetened passion fruit juice, that can be bought, in a pinch, in the juice aisle.
Tweaks: Of all the elements in this recipe, the ginger is the most time-consuming. If you'd rather not spend two hours candying finely chopped ginger to spoon over this dessert, we won't blame you. Substitute with store-bought syrupy candied, not crystallized ginger, to mimic the texture called for here. Finely chopped, it will be a suitable replacement.
As always with our Bake the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Frenchie to give away.