Chocolate Pots de Creme

by Dec 29, 2011

A tray of mini pots de créme is 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 — of sweetness, texture, and visual appeal.  
Chocolate Pots de Créme
8 – 10 servings
6 1/2 ounces good quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
2 cups organic heavy cream
2 cups organic whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
pinch sea salt
extra whipped cream for serving
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 a bit of 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, in its bowl, 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 from step 2 and whisk to combine.  
4.  Whisk into the egg yolks & bake:  Crack egg yolks into a medium sized bowl and whisk in the cream and chocolate mixture from step 3.  Pour this mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large glass measuring cup or a bowl with a pouring spout.  Fill ramekins leaving some space at the top.  Pour hot water into the glass pyrex dish holding the ramekins so water comes about half way up their sides.  Cover the whole ramekin pan with a large rectangle of foil and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the custard is set but still has a jiggle to it.  Set aside to 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.  To serve, top with a dollop of very slightly sweetened freshly whipped cream.
Amy’s Kitchen Coach Tips
  • If you don’t have the exact quantities of milk and cream, remember that half and half is half cream, half milk and substitute.  Same with fat levels of the milk – see what you have already in your fridge and use up little amounts taking space in there, supplementing them with new purchases of cream and milk.  Do keep in mind, these are not “non fat” treats, so I don’t recommend using nonfat milk as a 100% substitute.  (They’re small and you can even share a cup if you wish.  Do not be afraid.  Enjoy your small but decadent treats!)
  • 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.
  • Experiment with the many different dark chocolates that are now available – each have their own subtle flavors that will present nicely in these little puddings.  Also, see what comes your way…I was shopping at my mini-grocery, Burlingame Produce, sadly didn’t find the dark chocolate I needed to make these.  Told Kirk what I was up to, and he cheerfully offered me a taste of the bulk Belgian chocolate they use at their coffee bar (Blue Bottle!), and guess what?  Delicious.  And sold!

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