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
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