If you’re a dessert enthusiast or a lover of all things French cuisine, then you’re in for a treat because today is National Pots de Crème Day! This delightful culinary holiday is the perfect excuse to indulge in the velvety, luscious world of pots de crème.
The History of Pots de Crème
First, the correct pronunciation of pots de crème is “poh duh krehm.” It literally translates to “pots of cream,” and that’s precisely what they are – little pots or cups filled with a luxurious custard that’s smooth, rich, and oh-so-satisfying.
Pots de Crème is a French creation that originated in the 16th century primarily to fill crusts similar to pies. As the years passed, they transitioned into smaller servings, eventually doing away with the crust altogether. By the 17th century, specially crafted porcelain cups, alternatively known as pots de crème or petits pots (small pots), were designed specifically for serving these desserts.
Interestingly, the French language lacks an equivalent term for “custard.” The translation of the word “crème” means cream. Pots de crème represents a baked custard, constituting one of a trio of iconic baked French custards. The other two are a crème brûlée and a crème caramel.
These delectable treats are like a cross between a classic custard and a velvety pudding, creating a harmonious marriage of flavors and textures that will make you forget all about those boxed pudding mixes.
This chocolate pots de crème recipe is from 2013 Pastry Team USA Member and 2023 Pastry Team Coach, Chef Andy Chlebana. With only four ingredients and a bit of patience, it could not be simpler.
Pots de Crème au Chocolat
Yield: 6 servings
|Chocolate, 64% (We use Valrhona Manjari)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take a medium-sized baking dish and place the six 4-ounce ramekins in the dish. Make sure the baking dish is large enough that the ramekins are not touching each other. Set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. It should be enough water to go halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Chop up the chocolate into small pieces, place in a bowl, and set aside. Note: You can also use chocolate chips – just give them a rough chop.
Combine half of the granulated sugar with the egg yolks. Mix until sugar is incorporated with the egg yolks. Set aside.
Place the remaining granulated sugar and the milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat to a boil. Stirring occasionally. (If you are adding the salt – add it now).
Gradually temper all of the hot milk into the egg yolk/sugar mixture. Mix well.
Pour the custard mixture into the chopped chocolate. Emulsify with an immersion blender.
Strain through a chinois or kitchen strainer and fill the ramekins.
Carefully take the boiling water and fill the baking dish so the water goes halfway up the ramekins.
Place the baking dish in the oven.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges of the custard are set and slightly jiggly in the middle.
Set on a wire rack and allow to cool.
Cover and place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Serve plain, whipped cream and/or grated chocolate.
At its fundamental essence, pots de crème consist of merely four uncomplicated ingredients – ones that are quite probable already in your kitchen. Nevertheless, these velvety indulgences need not be confined solely to chocolate. Once you’ve honed this skill, a vast realm of flavors beckons, ranging from the timeless allure of vanilla to the rich mellowness of butterscotch, and even venturing into a realm of diverse fruit infusions. What’s more, you can play with the likes of white, milk, or the uniquely captivating ruby chocolate. Valrhona even has an Inspiration Baking Chocolate line – Framboise (Raspberry), Yuzu, Passion Fruit, and Almond – that would make a truly unique pots de crème.