Although I expected it to resemble chocolate pudding, pots de creme actually taste more like a cross between a ganache and a mousse. It’s very rich and chocolate-y, so you need the whipped cream on top to cut some of that intensity. Also, since chocolate is such a key component, it’s worth it to splurge on nicer chocolate.
Chocolate Pots de Creme
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Yield: 2 servings
For the pots de creme:
- 2 1/2 oz high-quality bittersweet chocolate (I used their recommendation, the Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Premium Baking Bar), chopped finely
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3-4 teaspoons granulated sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1/8 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the whipped cream:
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, cold
- 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons powdered sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and set a fine-mesh strainer over it. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Whisk in cream.
- Transfer to a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scrapping the bottom of the saucepan with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is thickened and silky, 3-6 minutes. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the mixture should be 175-180°F. (I don’t have one, so I cooked until the mixture coated the back of a spoon.) Don’t overcook or let custard come to a simmer, or it will curdle. (It will still taste great, though.)
- Immediately pour custard through the strainer over the chocolate.
- Let stand for 5 minutes to melt the chocolate, then whisk until smooth.
- In a small bowl, stir together water and espresso powder.
- Whisk dissolved espresso plus vanilla into the chocolate mixture.
- Divide mixture evenly between two ramekins or small bowls. Tap gently on the counter to get rid of air bubbles. (If you overcooked your custard, the liquids and solids will separate somewhat here. Don’t worry, it will still taste great in the end.)
- Let pots de creme cool completely, about 1 hour, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours. They will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Bring them back out to stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving.
- Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl with a handheld mixer, beat cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla on medium-low speed until foamy.
- Increase speed to high and beat 1-3 more minutes, or until soft peaks form.
- Dollop whipped cream over chocolate pots de creme. If you curdled your custard, you can spread the whipped cream over the top to hide that.