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Chocolate Pots de Creme



Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Split vanilla bean with a paring knife, and scrape the soft insides out with the sharp edge of the knife.
Add the contents of the bean, as well as the shell, into a saucepan with the milk and cream.
Bring milk and cream just to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.
Remove from heat.
Strain out the shell of the vanilla bean.
Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth.
In a separate large bowl, whisk yolks and sugar until pale.
Temper the egg mixture with the chocolate by gradually whisking in the hot chocolate mixture.
Do this just a little at a time to ensure that you dont scramble the eggs.
If you see any egg bits, then strain the mixture through a fine sieve into another bowl.
Let the custard mixture cool, about 10 minutes, gently skimming any foam from the surface.
Divide the custard mixture among six 3/4-cup custard cups or souffle dishes.
Try to make sure that there are no bubbles or foam on the surface.
Cover each with foil.
Place cups in a large baking pan.
Add enough hot water to the pan to come halfway up the sides of the cups.
Bake until custards are set but centers still move slightly when gently shaken, about 55 minutes.
Remove from water, and carefully remove the foil.
Chill the custards until cold, about 3 hours.
(Can be made 2 days ahead.
Cover and keep chilled.
) Serve in the cups they were baked in, with fresh unsweetened whipped cream and fresh berries.