Pots de creme are a dreamy, rich dark chocolate dessert that’ll have your dinner guests cleaning their bowls! Velvety, creamy, and dense, the balance of bitter and sweet in this luxurious custard will have you hooked in a heartbeat.
This one is for chocolate lovers everywhere! It’s surprisingly easy to make — the key is timing and a little patience.
Pots de creme hail from 17th century France and are a dessert that transcends time and distance. It’s found itself on tables in Europe and America for hundreds of years with only minor changes to the recipe.
The original pots de creme recipe was served in a delicate crust as a small custard pie. Nowadays, if you order a pot de crème off the menu, it will be served to you in a small cup, mason jar, or bowl. While the serving size is small, I promise it’s plenty. This dessert is so rich and dense, you’ll be more than satisfied with a single serving.
Table of Contents
Pots de Crème – a custard or mousse
Pots de crème is a custard and uses egg yolks, not the whiles, to get a very dense and creamy texture. A mousse is not cooked and with the addition of air to the mixture leads to a fluffier consistency and lighter texture. Mousse is typically served chilled or frozen. Custards are made by cooking the milk and sugar base and adding whole eggs to thicken the mixture.
- Dark Chocolate – The chocolate needs to be in small chunks: chocolate chips, chopped, wafers, and so on. I use dark chocolate because the rest of the pot de crème is so sweet, but you’re welcome to use milk or semi-sweet — just know it’ll be very sugary!
- Whole Milk & Heavy Cream – Unfortunately, skim or low-fat milk options aren’t the best for making custard. You need full-fat milk to get that thick, creamy consistency.
- Egg Yolks – The yolks, not the whites, are what give the pots de creme that very smooth, rich consistency.
- Sugar – Avoid using liquid sweeteners so that the liquid ratio isn’t thrown off, otherwise the custard may not set properly. You can, however, use brown sugar. It melts just as well and adds a slightly different, more caramel-like flavor to the dessert.
- Kosher Salt – A little salt is important to heighten every other flavor in this pots de creme recipe. Desserts without salt always fall a little flat, so don’t skip it!
- Prepare Chocolate for Melting. Add the chocolate chips to a large, heatproof bowl that’s well suited for pouring — a large measuring bowl, for example.
- Heat the Custard. Add the milk, cream, yolks, sugar, and salt to a heavy-bottom saucepan. Heat on medium-low and stir regularly with a heat-proof spatula. Keep the temperature stable and the liquid moving to ensure you don’t overcook and curdle the mixture.
- Melt Chocolate & Chill. Pour the liquid over the chocolate right away, as soon as it leaves the stovetop. Immediately stir with the spatula to thoroughly incorporate the chocolate. Transfer the mixture to ramekins or similar serving cups and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- Serve Chilled. This dessert can sit at room temperature for a short while — and some even prefer the slightly softer texture — but should not be left out for an extended period of time. Top the ramekins with chocolate shavings or whipped cream just before serving.
- Heatproof Measuring Bowl – A large measuring bowl will make your life way easier in the kitchen, and choosing one that’s heatproof is even better. Making soups, custards, cakes, crepes, and pancakes will be a breeze!
Cover leftovers with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. It’s very important to use an airtight container so that a skin doesn’t form on the surface of the custard.
I do not recommend freezing because custard tends to separate once thawed, ruining the smooth texture.
Yes, though I will say that pots de creme are 100% best fresh, as soon as the custard sets. However, chilling for a day or so in advance is perfectly fine.
Hold off on adding any toppings — whipped cream, chocolate shavings, fruit, and the like — until just before serving to ensure the cream doesn’t weep, fruit doesn’t sweat, and shavings don’t lose their freshness.
No — pot de crème is a custard, while mousse is something else entirely.
You’ll see in my pots de creme recipe that we use egg yolks, not the whiles, to get a very dense and creamy texture. Also a mousse is not cooked and with the addition of air to the mixture leads to a fluffier consistency and lighter texture. Mousse is typically served chilled or frozen. Custards are made by cooking the milk and sugar base and adding whole eggs to thicken the mixture.
Timing is absolutely crucial. The hot cream mixture does all of the work melting the chocolate down, so it needs to be piping hot, right off the stove.
And you need to stir all the while to make sure no chocolate chunks are left at the bottom of the bowl. If the chunks are too large, they may struggle to melt and instead sink back to the bottom and harden.
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Chocolate Pots de Crème
- Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl or large measuring bowl for easy pouring.
- In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan whisk together the milk, cream, egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until mixture thickens and easily coats the spatula, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the custard otherwise eggs might curdle.
- Immediately pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and carefully stir with spatula to incorporate thoroughly. Pour the chocolate mixture into ramekins or small cups and refrigerate, about 2 hours minimum, to set.
- Top the chilled chocolate pots de creme with optional chocolate shavings, shards or whipped cream.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.