Chocolate Pots de Crème

March 10, 2021 Updated: March 10, 2021

These rich, creamy French custards are such a great entertaining dessert. Depending on the kind of vessel you make them in, they can be rustic or elegant, to match the tone of your dinner.

The ingredient list is short and sweet: chocolate, sugar, cream, and egg yolks. (The leftover egg whites will freeze beautifully, and you can always use them to make meringues, an egg white vegetable frittata, or cheese soufflés.) Be sure to use really good quality dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao).

I like to serve the pots de creme in small espresso cups, just because it looks so pretty, with a sprinkle of nuts, a few shavings of chocolate, or even a small dollop of whipped cream for decoration. If you can find it, there is china made specifically for pots de creme: They look like mini mugs with decorative lids.

Make them the day before, to let the flavors develop overnight, and serve them chilled or at room temperature—the perfect end for this dinner party.

Makes 6

  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao), broken into pieces
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup white sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare 6 espresso or custard cups, and line a baking dish, big enough to fit the cups, with paper towels (so the cups don’t slide).

In a saucepan, add the heavy cream, bring to a boil, and remove from the heat. Add the chocolate pieces and slowly stir until all melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until smooth. A little at a time, slowly and carefully incorporate the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture and stir to combine well. Strain through a fine sieve and fill the espresso or custard cups 3/4 full.

Place the filled cups in the lined baking dish, and pour hot water into the dish to reach about halfway up the cups. Cover the whole dish tightly with tin foil and transfer to the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pots de creme are almost completely set, and jiggle slightly in the center.

Remove the baking dish from the oven, and carefully remove the custard cups from the hot water bath to cool. If making in advance, transfer to the fridge to chill.

Serve chilled or at room temperature, garnished with a sprinkle of salt, pecans, hazelnuts, whipped cream, or chocolate shavings, or simply left plain.