Chocolate Pots de Crème (French Chocolate Pudding)

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.

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Chocolate Pots de Crème (French Chocolate Pudding)

  • Author: Ann Marie Michaels

Ingredients

  • Organic grass-fed cream (1/2 cup — 4 ounces)
  • Organic grass-fed whole milk (1/3 cup)
  • Sucanat (1 1/2 ounces)
  • Organic vanilla extract (1/3 tsp)
  • 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)

Instructions

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!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4

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Equipment Needed for This Recipe

Ramekins or espresso cups
Medium saucepan

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Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Cheeseslave.com. Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

35 thoughts on “Chocolate Pots de Crème (French Chocolate Pudding)

  1. These look great. I’m doing low carb right now, so they are out. But maybe someday. I have two resident spatula-lickers: my husband and my toddler.

    And thanks for your comment on my new site. Let me know if you’re still interested in me being involved in real food media.

    Have a great day!

    Shannon’s last blog post..Looking Ahead

  2. My husband didn’t finish his last night — I guess he was stuffed from those seared ahi tacos.

    But he ate the rest of his chocolate this morning for breakfast! LOL!

  3. Have you ever tried Sweet Earth chocolate? The bittersweet varieties are soy-free. I order a bunch at one time and just keep it on hand indefinitely for cookies and desserts. Yum! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  4. Nice, easy, and delicious-looking recipe! I wonder, could you use cocoa powder instead? Also, I’ve always heard that you should add vanilla extract after heating/boiling, not before. When you use vanilla bean you boil it to extract the flavor.
    I will be making this soon!

  5. I believe you can use cocoa powder:

    https://www.joyofbaking.com/cocoa.html

    Also, Martha Stewart uses cocoa powder in her recipe: https://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/chocolate-pot-de-creme.

    Of course she also uses skim milk and evaporated milk — not recommended!

  6. Soli,

    Ann Marie said it was OK if I gave you this link for some healthy lunch ideas:

    https://www.kellythekitchenkop.com/2008/05/fast-food-healthy-options.html

    You’ll need to scroll down a bit to get to the lunch section.

    Hope that helps a little,
    Kelly

  7. I love pots de chocolat! How would you make a non-chocolate version? I’m assuming I would add butter instead of chocolate to get the fat content right. I can’t have chocolate in the evenings because I’m sensitive to the caffeine. I won’t sleep after. ><

    Spinner’s last blog post..On a lighter note

  8. Hi Spinner

    Here’s a good looking recipe for butterscotch pots de creme over at Orangette:

    https://orangette.blogspot.com/2008/01/pots-of-gold.html

    She uses the natural sweetener, muscovado. This is a nutrient-dense, unrefined, traditional sweetener.

    I don’t know much about demerara (which she is also using) but I don’t think it’s as good of a choice as rapadrua/sucanat.

    Look at this NEAT chart I found (scroll down to the bottom) on HOW SUGARS COMPARE:

    https://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/mccaffrey/vpost?id=2200607

    Look at all those vitamins and minerals in rapadura and sucanat!

    This person also says, “I do not have a nutritional analysis for demerara and turbinado, but I am guessing they would fall somewhere between the Sugar in the Raw and the Evap Cane Juice.”

    I think Orangette’s custard is most likely very delicious. I would use the muscavaod but I would use rapadura or sucanat instead of the demerara.

  9. Hi, Soli!

    I’m planning a post on how I pack lunches for my (almost) 2-year-old who goes to daycare during the week.

    Don’t get the wrong idea — it’s not all “toddler food”. She eats what we eat. And her lunches are probably better than most adult’s lunches!

    For example today she went to school with two thermoses — one was full of soaked oatmeal with grass-fed butter, cream and maple syrup. The other had rice cooked in lobster and chicken stock with black beans topped with corn, tomato, and avocado.

    I’ll post how I do her packed lunches and what brand of Thermos I use. I heat it up on the stove in the morning (takes 10 mins) and stays warm until lunchtime.

    I could probably also do a post on healthy portable lunch ideas. Do you have any dietary restrictions? I mean can you eat wheat and dairy?

  10. Oh I am excited about the lunch list (we can’t have dairy or gluten, so I hope you include some ideas for us too!!) 😀

    I would also love to know your recipe for those seared ahi tacos. Also, if it is not too much to ask, would it be possible for you, when you list your menus, for newbies like me, to list what book you are getting the recipe from? I like how you link to some of them, but I know some are from books or your creation and you are unable to do that.

    THANKS!!!

    Paula’s last blog post..Saturday Sweethearts: Sayings to go with Gifts

  11. Your pots de creme look yummy! I bet with the grass fed cream they are out of this world. I’m so jealous of you having access to a good source for those! Pots de creme also work well with erythritol for those who are low carbing it. 🙂

    Great website! Love the message!

  12. I was wondering what could be substituted for the egg yolks. My two-and-a-half-year-old son and I are unable to consume eggs in any form at this time, but I would love for the both of us to have some sweet pudding. It seems that so many brands use cornstarch or wheat-derived products (two more no-nos for us!). I would greatly appreciate any tips. Could I just adjust the milk ratio???

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the blog!!! I’ve referred three people and they all LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the blog as well. 🙂

    AnnMarie
    Detroit, MI

  13. I haven’t made this yet, my little one can’t eat dairy, and I’m still nursing. I would recommend checking out askinosie chocolate. https://www.askinosie.com/c-1-chocolate-bars.aspx I can’t bake with anything else now!

  14. oh this is my absolute favorite dessert….especially when the kids are all in bed and i can curl up on the couch with a rami of this and a good book.

  15. Hello!! We love your blog, our family has been on GAPS for 6 months and just started dabbling in a little raw cacao powder for treats. I just happened to make this for the first time last night, it turned out really well and very, very tasty (not a hint of avocado taste). So we used Cacao instead of carob and from what I understand it’s a more advanced gaps legal food.

    https://grainfreefoodie.blogspot.com/2011/03/chocolate-avocado-pudding-transitional.html

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  17. I made this last night using cocoa powder. It turned out yummy. I substituted 3 tbsp cocoa powder, 3 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp butter for every ounce of chocolate. I melted the butter on the stove and then mixed in the cocoa powder and sugar. I ended up sweetening it with honey and just added honey and then tasted it until I liked the taste of the chocolate. Then I blended it in with the cream mixture when the recipe said to add the chocolate.
    I may try to use palm sugar (instead if honey) next time I make this to see if it makes a difference in the way it turns out.

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