When the temperatures soar but you have a fierce craving for chocolate and custard, there is a wonderful stovetop version of chocolate pots de crème. The process is simple: make a crème anglaise, pour the cooked custard through a sieve over chopped chocolate, let it sit, then whisk to combine and add any additional flavors you choose (vanilla, espresso, liqueur…). No fussing with a water bath, just make the custard and refrigerate – simple, right?
Though making crème anglaise strikes fear in many people, as long as you have a candy thermometer and aren’t afraid of stirring, the process is really quite easy. And because you’re sieving the finished product, even if you do slightly scramble the eggs, no one ever has to know.
This is a truly decadent treat perfect for a special occasion or dinner party, but easy enough to make to satisfy a chocolate craving.
Chocolate Pots de Crème
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
1 oz 60% cacao chocolate, chopped*
3.5oz 70% cacao chocolate, chopped*
3 large egg yolks
5 T powdered erythritol or sugar
2 pinches of salt
1 c heavy cream
1/4 c half n half
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp espresso combined with 1/2 T water
1. Place chocolate in medium heatproof bowl; set a sieve over the bowl and set aside.
2. Whisk yolks, erythritol, and salt in medium bowl until combined; whisk in heavy cream and half-and-half. Transfer mixture to medium saucepan. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon, until thickened and silky and custard registers 170-172 degrees** on a candy thermometer, 8 to 12 minutes. Do not let custard overcook or simmer.
3. Immediately pour custard through strainer over chocolate. Let mixture stand to melt the chocolate, about 5 minutes. While the mixture is sitting, combine the espresso, water, and vanilla. Whisk the custard mixture gently until smooth, then whisk in vanilla and espresso. Divide mixture evenly among four ramekins or dessert cups. Gently tap ramekins against counter to remove air bubbles.
4. Cool pots de crème to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 72 hours. Before serving, let pots de crème stand at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes. Garnish with berries and/or mint sprigs.
*You can play around with the % cacao you use; I prefer using 85%, but because I was planning on serving this dessert to a friend of mine, I went with a lower cacao % so we would both enjoy the dessert.
**Because I used erythritol in this recipe, I cooked the mixture to a slightly lower temperature than the original recipe (with sugar) called for. If using sugar, cook to about 175*F. To powder granulated erythritol, just run it through a coffee grinder.