Dark Chocolate Salted-Almond Custards and Treats For a Friend’s Open House

SONY DSCThis was a really exciting night, both for me and my friend Natalie. She struck out on her own and took the risk to open her own salon after years of working towards it – and finally has reached her dream. It’s been really inspiring to watch her journey and see her determination pay off. On Friday, she had an open house for friends, family, and clients to come by and celebrate her opening, with tons of support from local businesses and friends, who brought homemade goods and other fun products to sell and raffle off. She had an awesome turn out!

I was so excited to both display new photographs at her salon, and bring homemade treats for all the guests to try! I had never made food for an event like this before, and decided on two kinds of gluten-free tarts: pickled cherry tomatoes with goat cheese, and another with roasted beets, caramelized onions, and goat cheese, as well as the supah tasty custard this whole post is about. I also made ice cream toppings to raffle off: salted-bourbon caramel, rosemary-vanilla salted caramel, hot fudge, and candied nuts. I set up a table with my treats under my new photographs. You can see the photos here.

I served the custards in mini, quilted Ball jars. This was great, because I could give people jars to take home, and transporting them with their lids was super easy.

Dark Chocolate, Salted-Almond Custards

Adapted from “Small Plates and Sweet Treats: My Family’s Journey to Gluten-Free Cooking” by Aran Goyoaga

Makes six 4-ounce custards

  • 1/4 cup (30 g) slivered almonds
  • 2 cups (500 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) coconut palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter (made with only almonds, i.e. no oils or sugars added)
  • 4 ounces (120 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (or chips)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more for sprinkling on top
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut milk, the vanilla bean, and its seeds over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, coconut palm sugar, and almond butter until almost lump-free.
  3. When the coconut milk has come to a simmer, remove the pan from the heat. Remove the vanilla pod and add the chocolates. Stir to melt the chocolates into the milk.
  4. Pour a little bit of the hot coconut milk mixture over the eggs while whisking to keep the eggs from coagulating. Add the rest of the mixture and whisk. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Add the sea salt and stir.
  5. Pour the custard into 6 (4-ounce) oven-safe ramekins or jars – I used small, quilted Ball jars. Place the jars in a deep baking pan and place the pan on the oven rack. Add enough hot water to the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins, creating a water bath.
  6. At 300F, bake the custard for 30 to 40 minutes or until the center is set, taking them out after 20 minutes or so to add a sprinkling of the slivered almonds to each. Waiting to add the almonds ensures they’ll stay at the top of the custard, instead of sinking to the bottom. They’ll also get nice and toasty.
  7. Let the ramekins cool to room temperature, then sprinkle a few flakes of coarse sea salt on top. They can be served at room temperature or chilled.

Happy Natalie (middle) at her open house with friends

I happily had just enough custards left over that my family and I could enjoy some over the weekend…definitely indulged in one cuddled up in bed after yoga with some good reads. And that’s what the weekend is for!
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Also debuted a new business card – felt very official!

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