This Chocolate Soup is the best soup you'll ever have! It has a thick, creamy texture and a rich chocolate taste that is enhanced by the buttery cinnamon croissant croutons, and the whipped vanilla bean crème fraiche.
Use a vegetable peeler to peel off the orange part of the rind, leaving the bitter white pith on the fruit. Combine the orange rind, milk, and half-and-half in a large saucepan, and place it over medium heat. Bring the milk to a simmer, with bubbles appearing along the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and cover it with a lid. Let it sit to infuse the orange flavor in the milk, for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours, depending on how strong you want the orange flavor to be.
While you are waiting for your cream to infuse, finely chop the semi-sweet chocolate. Mix the cornstarch and cold water together in a small bowl, making sure the cornstarch is entirely dissolved. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl nearby.
Once the cream has infused for your desired time, return the pan to the heat, and bring it back until it is nearly at a simmer—you want it hot but not boiling. Add the chopped chocolate, and whisk consistently until it melts. Add the cornstarch and whisk it in. Finally, start whisking the egg yolks, and as you do that, drizzle in about a cup of the hot chocolate milk mixture—adding the hot milk gradually "tempers" the egg yolks so that they don't cook and congeal.
Finally, whisk the hot chocolate mixture in the pan as you drizzle in the bowl of egg yolks. Add the salt and vanilla, and cook the chocolate soup, whisking frequently, until it is very hot and thickens slightly. It should have the texture of a nice creamy soup.
Serve warm, topped with a handful of croissant croutons and a generous dollop of crème fraiche whipped cream.
To Make the Croissant Croutons:
Preheat the oven to 300 F, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the croissants into small cubes. Place the butter in a large bowl, and microwave it for 15 seconds, or until melted.
Add the croissants to the butter in the bowl, and toss to coat. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together, then sprinkle the mixture over the croissants and toss everything together. Scatter the croissant cubes on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake at 300 F for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the croutons are lightly golden and crunchy. Cool completely, then enjoy!
To Make the Whipped Crème Fraiche:
Chill your mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Combine the heavy cream, crème fraiche, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean paste or extract in the chilled bowl. Beat on medium-high speed, scraping down the bowl once or twice, until the mixture is thickened and holds firm peaks. Don’t overbeat, or it will get grainy!
I like a little flavor in my chocolate soup, so I've written the recipe to give it a chocolate-orange taste. If you don't like this combination, you can omit the orange and either have a pure chocolate flavor, or add a teaspoon of your favorite flavoring extract instead.