Bittersweet Chocolate Pots de Crème

by Dec 29, 2011

Chocolate pots de crème are a festive (and easy!) way to enjoy dessert with family and friends, especially this time of year. Make them the day before and let them chill in your refrigerator until you’re ready for them. When serving, add a dollop of whipped cream on top to add some contrast (or mascarpone, or crème fraîche, or a blend of all).


Bittersweet Chocolate Pots de Crème

makes 12 half-cup servings; recipe adapted from Scharffen Berger Chocolate brochure from the olden days


  • 6 ½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped quality pays off here, Valrhona, Scharffen Berger 70% and above
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (or less depending what you like)
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch sea salt or Kosher salt

For serving: whipped cream


  1. Set up: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Select an assortment of ramekins, tea cups or other oven safe glass containers and set them in an 8×11-inch pyrex “lasagne” pan or other 2-inch deep baking container. 

  2. Melt the chocolate with half of the cream: Put chocolate and 1 cup cream into a medium sized stainless steel bowl and set the bowl in a frying pan of water to make a double boiler of sorts. Heat on the stovetop so the water bath is gently simmering and the chocolate melts into the cream. Stir occasionally until chocolate and cream is smooth then remove from water bath and set aside.

  3. Boil remaining cream: Put remaining cream, milk and sugar into a saucepan, bring to a boil then remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla and pinch of sea salt.  Pour this mixture into the chocolate/cream mixture and whisk to combine.  

  4. Whisk into the egg yolks and bake: Crack egg yolks into a medium sized bowl and whisk in the chocolate-cream mixture. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a 4-cup glass measuring cup or a bowl with a pouring spout. Fill ramekins leaving some space at the top. Pour hot (not boiling) water into the glass pyrex dish to about half-way up the sides of the containers. Cover the pan with a large rectangle of foil and bake for around 30 minutes, until the custard is set but still has a jiggle to the center. 

    Remove pan from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes then remove each ramekin from the water bath (being careful not to drip water into the others) and set aside to cool. Refrigerate for a few hours, or up to a few days. 

Recipe Notes / Tips

  • Start checking for doneness at 25 minutes, the time will vary due to many variables—temperature of the "hot" water you used, size of your ramekins, your oven, your altitude, the milk, the cream, the chocolate, etc. Nothing to worry about, just give the custards the time they need to set, it will happen, low and slow is the game here. Look for beginning to set around the edges with a jiggle in the center. They will continue to set as they cool, but you want to see it happening after being in the oven, kind of like a pumpkin pie.
  • The easiest way to ferry the ramekins into and out of the refrigerator is to put them back into the baking dish (after you dump out the water) or onto a serving tray. Keep covered with the foil or plastic wrap and they will sit happily in the refrigerator for several days.
  • This is a big batch, you can make half a batch which will yield 6 half-cup servings. 4 ounce Ball canning jars are perfect containers to use, especially for gifting.

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