Pots de crème is a traditional French dessert that became popular back in the 17th century. The name means “pot of custard” or “pot of cream”. It is simply a custard baked in a water bath, much like a flan or what we Americans call pudding. Pot de Crème is traditionally served in small ceramic pots but you can use ramekins or even espresso cups.
Pots de crème — especially this chocolate variety — are wonderfully rich and satisfying when you have a craving for sweets after dinner.
And pots de crème fancy enough for dinner guests. Plus it's gluten- and grain-free. Best of all, it's so easy to make. And it can be made ahead the day before or in the morning.
This recipe is based on the recipe from the Balthazar Cookbook (which I highly, highly recommend — every recipe — from the French fries to the chicken liver mousse has come out delicious).
Balthazar is one of my favorite restaurants. It's a brasserie in SoHo and they have a fabulous raw seafood bar. If you're ever in Manhattan, drop by for a plate of oysters and a glass of wine. You can even get a traditional English breakfast there. But I digress…
I adapted the recipe by using a healthy sweetener, Sucanat, instead of refined white sugar. sucanat contains all the vitamins and minerals in unrefined sugar — like in blackstrap molasses. You can find it in health food stores. I found sucanat at a local restaurant supply store. I swear there is absolutely no difference — this tasted just as good as if it were made with white sugar!
I also used grass-fed cream and grass-fed whole milk. It is not essential to use raw milk because this recipe involves boiling. But do try to use milk and cream from grass-fed cows on pasture, and eggs from pastured chickens. It makes this dessert so much healthier.
You can serve the pots de crème (or pot au crème) with whipped cream if you like (just whip a little cream with a little maple syrup to make it slightly sweet). But this dessert is heavenly — whipping cream or no whipping cream.
Chocolate Pots de Crème (French Chocolate Pudding)
Organic grass-fed cream (1/2 cup — 4 ounces)
Organic grass-fed whole milk (1/3 cup) — where to buy milk
Sucanat (1 1/2 ounces) — where to buy sucanat
Organic vanilla extract (1/3 tsp) — where to buy vanilla extract
Good quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (2 1/2 ounces) — I used Callebaut. It's very good chocolate and tastes wonderful, but unfortunately it does contain refined sugar and soy lecithin; a better choice would be Rapunzel brand bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
Large pastured egg yolks (2)
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
2. Measure your ingredients and set them out mise en place.
3. In a medium saucepan on medium heat, combine the cream, milk, sucanat, and vanilla extract. Stir and bring to a boil.
4. Add the coarsely chopped chocolate and whisk until melted. Remove from heat.
5. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks.
6. Slowly whisk in the beaten egg yolks to the chocolate mixture in a slow, steady stream (like making mayonnaise).
7. Pour the mixture into two ramekins or espresso cups.
8. Set the cups in a high-sided baking dish and fill the baking dish with cold water about halfway up the sides of the cups.
9. Cover tightly with foil and bake for an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes (the Balthazar recipe says one hour and 15 minutes but mine took longer).
10. Using a pot holder, remove from the bath. Let cool slightly on the counter, then transfer to the fridge and serve chilled. If you are short on time, you can slip the cups into the freezer. Freeze for only 20 minutes — then transfer to fridge or serve.
Don't forget to let your little ones (or big ones for that matter) lick the whisk and bowl!
Note: This recipe is part of the Nourishing Chocolate Recipes carnival at the Nourishing Gourmet blog. Please visit The Nourishing Gourmet for more healthy chocolate recipes.