Nothing could be less labor intensive and more elegant than these sweet little chocolate pot au cremes.
Almost like a mousse, pot au creme has a soft pudding like consistency. Unlike a mousse, they are not as airy, but a slight bit denser, giving them an almost fudge-like quality. The main difference is that chocolate mousse is time consuming and fiddly. These are super simple and they lend themselves perfectly to making ahead.
I thought about adding an ingredient or two to the chocolate base, but then I thought, it is a classic for a reason just the way it is. So, back to basics.
This particular recipe calls for dark chocolate and is incredibly rich. Topped with a small dollop of whipped cream, a small amount goes a long way. As with any really good dessert, all you really need is a bite or two to get the benefit of having indulged in something wonderful.
I make these in little glass dessert dishes I bought years ago. They almost look like large shot glasses. Use whatever you have that can go into the oven safely. French white creme brûlée ramekins work great or even a small juice glass would look stunning filled with this dark chocolate mixture. Just make sure whatever it is, it is oven safe.
All you do is bring cream, milk, sugar and vanilla to a boil in saucepan.
Add a whole bunch of dark chocolate.
I use 60% cacao but if you like it dark, go for a higher percentage. Stir the mixture constantly so it doesn’t boil over and the chocolate melts in smoothly.
Crack some egg yolks into a measuring cup (see why below) and whisk them lightly. Drizzle the chocolate mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly.
Now comes the tricky part. You have to make a bain marie, which is when you set your containers in a larger pan containing water to cook. It keeps your mixture from burning and helps it cook evenly throughout.
You want to make sure not to slosh or spill the contents of your containers. I’ve come up with a way to make this a little easier so you have less movement once the baking dish is filled with water.
Place your containers into a larger baking dish with at least 2” deep sides. Leave room around each container. Pour the mixture into each container. This is where the measuring cup comes in handy versus a bowl. Make sure to keep them all equal in amount. If you can fill to the top do so, but depending on your containers you may only be able to fill them part way. That’s fine, as long they are even.
Now, place the pan carefully on the top rack of a 250° oven that has been set on the middle rack holder.
Carefully pour about 4 cups of cold water around the containers until it is no higher than half way up the sides of the containers.
Wrap the whole baking dish in foil, being careful not to jostle anything.
Let them cook in there for 1 hour and 15 minutes. They should be jiggly, not firm, but not liquid at all.
Let them cool at room temperature and then refrigerate for a couple of hours to set firmly. You can make these up to two days ahead of time.
When you are ready to serve, whip up a little heavy cream with a dash of vanilla extract and a bit of powdered sugar. Top each pot au creme with a spoonful of whipped cream. You can garnish the whole thing with a small chunk of chocolate or a grating of chocolate sprinkled over the top, if you like.
The most delicious little chocolate decadence you can imagine!
Chocolate Pot Au Creme
- small saucepan
- 4 individual oven safe dishes
- large baking dish with deep sides
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 oz dark chocolate 60% cacao or higher, roughly chopped
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp powdered sugar
- dash vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 250° and set top rack in middle position.
- Add egg yolks to a large measuring cup with a pour spout. Whisk lightly and set aside.
- In a saucepan, bring cream, milk, sugar and vanilla to a boil.
- Add chocolate and stir constantly until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Slowly pour chocolate mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly until all the chocolate mixture is incorporated into the egg yolks. It will thicken slightly.
- Place the individual containers into the larger baking dish, keeping space between them.
- Carefully pour the chocolate mixture into each of the smaller dishes, dividing it evenly among them.
- Carefully place the baking dish with the individually filled dishes onto the oven rack.
- Pour about 4 cups of cold water around the dishes, taking care not to splash into them. The water should reach about halfway up the side of the small dishes and no further.
- Cover in foil, taking care not to jostle the dishes under the foil.
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The pot au cremes should be jiggly with no liquid.
- Remove from the oven, again, carefully. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours in order to fully firm.
- Whip the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract together until firm but not stiff. This can be done by hand or with a mixer.
- Spoon a dollop of cream onto the tops of each pot au creme. Top with a piec of chocoloate or chcolate shavings if you like.