Impress your sweetie with these silky smooth Chocolate Pots de Crème for Two! Rich and creamy chocolate custard is baked to perfection, and can be easily made a day in advance. This is an easy and decadent chocolate dessert that is perfect for Valentine’s Day!
Chocolate Dessert for Two
It’s Valentine’s Day and what to make, what to make? I could take the time to whip up a nice Souffle or a Baked Alaska, but the thought of these just makes me tired. Plus, it’s Valentine’s Day, I just don’t want to work that hard.
It’s no secret that I love custardy, creamy and pudding-type desserts. Just check out the many recipes I’ve posted on the blog already – the Sparkling Cider Parfaits I made for New Year’s, or the Cherry Mousse to celebrate cherry summer season, or the Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding Parfaits I made to celebrate it was Thursday. Naturally, I thought Chocolate Pots de Crème would be a lovely way to celebrate this greeting card holiday.
Chocolate Pots de Crème
So, what is a Pots de Crème exactly? Sounds pretty fancy.
A pot de crème (or pots de crème for plural) is just a baked pudding/custard. It translates to ‘pot of custard’ or ‘pot of cream’. And the pot refers to the cup it is served in – usually a porcelain ramekin.
Why do we have to bake the custard? If we are already making the custard on the stove top, baking it seems redundant. Well, it’s not actually. Baking the custard sets it firm and the result is an extraordinary, silky bowl of decadence.
The custard starts out like a typical pudding:
- Heat the milk and cream – in a saucepan on the stove.
- Temper the egg yolks – by pouring some of the heated milk over them so we don’t end up with scrambled eggs.
- Strain the custard – to remove any unwanted clumps.
Then from there, we add steps for Pots de Crème:
- Pour the custard into ramekins – for individual servings, but any heat/oven proof serving dish will work.
- Place the ramekins in a deep baking dish – so we have enough space to pour hot water into the baking dish for the water bath.
- Water bath – pour hot water into the baking dish. This ensures the custards don’t bake too fast and the texture is silky smooth.
It may seem like there are a lot of moving parts, but I assure you, it really is pretty easy.
What You Need To Make Pots de Crème
- Milk – My preference is whole milk, but 2% will work.
- Heavy cream
- Chocolate – I prefer a nice dark or bittersweet baking chocolate for this recipe. However, you can use chocolate chips as well.
- Egg yolks – Room temperature is best. If you want to use the leftover egg whites, try the Flourless Chocolate Cookies, or make Meringue Frosting to top the Pots de Crème!
- Granulated sugar – I have not tested the recipe with other sugar options.
- Vanilla extract
- Toppings of choice – Caramel sauce, whipped cream, fruit, more chocolate …
- Small saucepan
- Two ramekins – At least 4 ounces. If you don’t have ramekins, you can use any other small baking dish – as long as it is heat/oven proof.
- Deep(er) baking dish – Like a casserole dish, and large enough to hold the two ramekins.
Tips For Making Pots de Crème
- Make it ahead of time – The Pots de Crème need to set in the refrigerator after baking. Overnight is best.
- Get everything you need out and ready – The custard comes together pretty quickly. You don’t want to be searching for the next ingredient or utensil mid-way through the recipe.
- Use good quality chocolate – This is my preference and recommendation. Since this is a fancier dessert likely to be served for a special occasion (i.e. Valentine’s Day!), a little decadence is warranted. Good baking chocolate is pure, whereas chocolate chips have other additives that may not melt as smoothly.
- Bring the egg yolks to room temperature – They are going to be mixed with warm milk, and they will mix better when at room temperature.
- Whisk! – Whisking is very important when making pudding/custard. When you are pouring the warm milk over the egg yolks, whisking prevents them from scrambling.
- Strain the custard – Even with all of the whisking, it may be possible to end up with a few little lumps.
- Use hot water for the water bath. So the water doesn’t have to take more time to get to temperature in the oven.
- Bake until the edges are firm and the center is giggly – Depending on your oven, it could take anywhere from 30-40 minutes.
- Decorate the Pots de Crème – Whipped cream, caramel sauce, fresh fruit or more chocolate shavings. More layers of flavor, plus it makes the little custards look pretty!
More Valentine’s Day Desserts For Two
- Healthier Dark Chocolate Bark Candy
- Chocolate Chia Pudding and Pomegranate Parfaits
- Snow Day Cake (Almond Cardamom and Coconut)
- Easy Chocolate Mini Cake
- Small Batch Strawberry Cupcakes
- Sparkling Cider Parfaits
Chocolate Pots De Crème – For Two
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 ounces dark chocolate - chips or baking bar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 and 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Whipped Coconut Cream - optional
- Caramel Sauce, to top - optional
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 300o degrees. Set two 1/2 cup (4 ounces) ramekins, or other small ovenproof dishes, in a deep baking dish.
- In a medium saucepan, add the milk and cream and heat over medium heat until small bubbles appear along the sides of the pan. Add the chocolate and stir with a spatula until the chocolate melts and dissolves. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Slowly drizzle half of the the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Note – you can also use a soup ladle to drizzle the warm milk into the egg yolks. Pour the tempered egg mixture back to the saucepan with the remaining milk, add the vanilla extract, and whisk until the custard is smooth and combined.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a glass measuring cup and pour the custard into the measuring cup. Spoon off any foam from the surface of the custard once poured into the measuring cup.
- Divide the chocolate custard evenly between the two ramekins. Pour hot water into the baking dish until it reaches half-way up the sides of the ramekins.
- Cover the baking dish loosely with foil to prevent a skin forming on top of the custards. Bake, until the custards are firm just at the edges and the centers still move when the ramekins are gently shaken – about 30 – 40 minutes.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and carefully remove the ramekins from the water. Allow to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight to set.
- Serve the custards chilled. Top with your topping of choice – whipped cream, caramel, fruit or chocolate shavings.