Chocolate Pots de Crème

For those who don’t know, pots de crème are a sort of fancy relative of pudding.  Now I have to say, I absolutely love chocolate pudding.  It is a wonderfully simple yet delicious dessert that makes me feel like a kid again with every spoonful.  However, chocolate pots de crème are a richer, smoother, more seductive version of a spoon dessert that are easy to make but elegant enough to serve for company.  They are also an excellent choice if you need a nice dessert on relatively short notice.  With minimal ingredients that we usually have on hand and brief prep time, these can be made in a snap and then popped into the fridge while you focus on other things.

I did have one minor issue with the recipe.  Dorie’s version directs the reader to cover the pan with plastic wrap and then bake the custards.  This seems like a bad idea to me, but she says that because they bake at low heat, the plastic wrap will be fine.  I think she may have some special kind of plastic wrap, because mine dissolved after about 15 minutes.  Thankfully it stayed away from the desserts themselves, but still, I don’t want melted plastic anywhere near my food.  I have adapted the version below to use a foil cover – this just seems safer all around.  You will have to peek under the foil to check for doneness, so be careful not to blast yourself in the face with steam.  Now that I’ve tried these, I can’t wait to try the caramel version next!

Chocolate Pots de Crème
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4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups heavy cream, divided
1½ cups whole milk
1 large egg
5 large egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 300° F.  Line a large roasting pan or baking dish with two layers of paper towels.  Place eight ramekins, espresso cups, custard cups or pots de crème pots in the pan.  Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil.  Once the water comes to a boil, remove from the heat and cover.

In the meantime, place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.  Bring ½ cup of the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan.  Once the cream reaches a boil, pour it over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute.  Stir with a rubber spatula, starting in the center of the bowl and working outward in a circular motion, until the ganache is smooth; set aside.

Combine the remaining heavy cream and the whole milk in the saucepan and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, sugar, and salt until slightly thickened and pale yellow in color.  Drizzle in a small amount of the hot cream-milk mixture, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs.  Pour in the remainder of the hot liquid, still whisking constantly, until completely incorporated.  Finally, gently whisk the egg mixture into the ganache until incorporated.

Spoon any skin that has formed off the top of the custard.  Divide the custard evenly between the prepared cups.  Pour some of the previously set aside hot water into the baking dish around the custard cups so that it reaches about halfway up the sides of the cups.  Cover the top of the pan tightly with foil, poking two holes in opposite corners.  Very carefully slide the pan into the oven.

Bake 35-40 minutes, or until the custard jiggles only a bit in the center when tapped or lightly shaken.  Carefully remove the pan from the oven and transfer it to a cooling rack.  Allow the custards to rest in their warm water bath for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and very carefully transfer the cups from the water to the cooling rack.  Once they come to room temperature, cover individually with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

26 Responses

  1. I love pots de creme, and yours look beautiful! The whipped cream and raspberries look so pretty!

  2. I made Bailey’s pots de creme a few years ago and got RAVE reviews. The irish cream added to chocolate was such a nice twist.

  3. What a lovely photo. You dressed up your pots de crème perfectly.

  4. These are so beautiful and sound scrumptious!

  5. These look delicious!! This is sort of a silly question, but when you call for heavy cream, what brand do you usually use?? Just half and half??

    Thanks for the yummies 🙂

    • Hi Anne,
      Half and half is not the same thing as heavy cream. It has a lower percentage of butter fat. Heavy cream and whipping cream are close enough that they can be used interchangeably, but half and half is not an acceptable sub. As for actual brand of heavy cream, I buy whatever kind is on sale – usually the store brand.

  6. They look perfect! I love chocolate anything, so I must try these! I have trouble separating my egg sometimes and just getting the yolk – do you have any tips?

    • Cheryl, I used to use an egg separator, which made it super easy every time. Now I just gently transfer the egg back and forth between the two halves of the shell until only the yolk remains.

  7. Hello, Annie –
    I’ve haven’t commented for awhile but I’ve def. been checking out your blog on a regular basis. Thank you so much for including recipes that even I can make. Most of my baking are done with recipes from your blog! I didn’t cook much until I started reading it. Thanks, my dear.

    • Aw, thanks Judy! That means so much coming from you 🙂 I am glad I’ve inspired you to get into the kitchen more – that’s my goal! I try to make even somewhat complicated things seem approachable. Miss you!

  8. Annie, these look amazing. Can these be made ahead of time?
    Also, not sure I understand the paper towel lining the baking dish? I assume that comes out before baking?


    • Hi Anna,
      No, you leave the paper towels in during baking. I think it helps to prevent the dishes from sliding around during transfer. It may also serve some other purpose that I’m unaware of. But just leave them – it won’t hurt anything.

  9. Wishing you a very happy new year, dear Annie!

  10. These look wonderful. I can’t wait to try them!

  11. These look absolutely delicious!!
    Is it possible to bake them in one large serving dish rather than cups? I love individual desserts for smaller groups but we generally host buffet style dinners for big groups, so individual desserts get harder for me to manage then.

    • Mahvish, I’m not sure chocolate pots de creme would be the best dessert for a buffet style serving set up. Maybe you could try something like a brownie pudding instead, which is made to be baked in one large dish and then served. I have a recipe, and I’d be happy to post about it if you’re interested. You don’t really have to twist my arm to get me to make a chocolatey dessert 🙂

      • Annie that sounds yummy!! Please do post that recipe when you get the chance.
        So far I’ve tried your New York Cheesecake, Stuffed Mushrooms, Red Velvet Cheesecake, Fettuccine Alfredo and Island Chicken. They all turned out absolutely fab!!
        Next up on the list are the Molten Chocolate cakes and the Chocolate Overdose cake (as you can imagine I am a fellow choc-aholic!)

      • Great, you have twisted my arm 🙂 I will try to make it in the near future and will post it by the end of the month. Thanks!

  12. I’ll admit it, I don’t like chocolate. I think there are 5 of us in the whole world. However, there are times I do enjoy it.

    I think I’m going to adapt this recipe to include an orange flavor. It’s citrus season in Arizona and I’ve got loads and loads of oranges in the kitchen.

    Happy New Year.

  13. Annie-
    I recently found your blog and I am in trouble. My kids are big eaters and love to cook and bake, so we are always looking for new recipes! In the past 5 days we have made your pumpkin spice pancakes twice, the pumpkin scones, chocolate cupcakes with butter cream frosting, thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies and today I made the plain bagels! Each recipe was awesome! I can’t wait to try more. I have made some substitutions because I am a Registered Dietitian and I try to watch how much of certain nutrients we eat but everything in moderation! Thanks for your blog and I look forward to making several of your recipes in the upcoming weeks and can’t wait to see what 2010 has to offer.

  14. I love Pots de creme ever since Dan and Steve made them with creme fraiche on FN. This recipe sounds great.

  15. What a great shot. The desert looks delicious!

  16. These look absolutely divine. And just a heads up — Dorie might have the wrap that we use in restaurants. It can be put into the oven/steamer with no melting. It’s pretty much industrial strength. Glad yours melting didn’t ruin the dish. Beautiful!

    • Bugaboo, that’s what I figured! Seems that sort of thing should be noted in the book, rather than just saying that using plastic wrap is perfectly safe. Eek! Oh well, it turned out deliciously in the end 🙂

  17. Absolutely gorgeous photo girl! I have to give this Dorie recipe a try!

  18. Beautiful post! These look scrumptious!

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