Planning a Valentine’s Day dinner with your sweetheart? If so, these Chocolate Raspberry Pots de Creme are a perfect dessert for your meal.
Or you could make this recipe for two and eat them both yourself – I won’t tell. You can even double or triple the recipe and make the pots de creme for a party. But with their raspberry top and sinfully rich chocolate underneath, they’re tailor made for romance.
Combining chocolate and raspberry is always a good idea. It is especially appropriate for a Valentine’s Day dish. After all, chocolate is an aphrodisiac, and red or pink is the color of love. Last Valentine’s Day, I put them together in a chocolate layered crepe cake topped with raspberry sauce. Before that, I topped chocolate mousse with fresh raspberries. A few years ago, my friend Barb of Creative Culinary layered chocolate and fresh raspberries in a pavlova. And now I’ve combined them into a rich single-serving dessert that is both elegant and easy.
If you’re not familiar with chocolate pots de creme, you’re in for a treat. But first, let’s talk about what pots de creme are – and what they are not.
What’s the difference between a pot de creme and a mousse? Pot de creme is a cooked custard that contains heavy cream and egg yolks. Often, although not always, you cook a pot de creme in a water bath, sometimes called by it’s French name, a bain Marie. To cook using a water bath, you put the pot de creme ramekin in a larger pan which you fill with water approximately halfway up the side of the ramekin. The water steams, creating a moist atmosphere for baking the pot de creme. By contrast, a mousse is typically uncooked, with a lighter texture than a pot de creme. The mousse owes its light quality to whipping cream (either heavy or whipping cream), often with beaten egg whites.
One side note. You can bake chocolate mousse ingredients, but without the cream, and you’ll end up with a roulade. That is, in essence, a fallen chocolate soufflé. After baking it in a jelly roll pan, you spread whipped cream on the thin, cake-like chocolate, and roll it up, making a cylinder with lovely swirl design inside.
How about the difference between a pot de creme and pudding? The difference lies in their ingredients. A pot de creme relies on the eggs and baking to set it. By contrast, a pudding contains a thickener, usually flour, cornstarch, or a similar thickening agent. However, I like to use avocado as the thickener in my chocolate pudding.
As you can tell, the definitions for what makes a pot de creme, mousse, or pudding are somewhat elastic. As recipes develop with new ingredients or techniques, the definition of what needs to be in one or the other and the techniques for making them might change.
In making these chocolate pots de creme, three other recipes inspired me – David Lebovitz’s (adapted from The Beer Pantry), the Cafe Tamayo version on Epicurious, and another one from The Kitchn. All follow the same basic, simple pattern: heat the cream, melt the chocolate in it, and let it cool a bit. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together and gradually combine the two mixtures. The salt goes in with the cream in Lebovitz’s recipe and with the sugar and egg yolks in The Kitchn’s pots de creme. The Cafe Tamayo version does not include salt. All three bake the custards in a covered water bath or bain Marie.
My version adds raspberry whipped cream on top. I’m of two minds when it comes to timing on the whipped cream. You can add the whipped cream after the pots de creme cool down for one hour, but it stands up better (and looks better in photos) if you refrigerate the ramekins and then bring them back to room temperature. On the other hand, my personal preference is to eat the chocolate when it is warm. Either way, the chocolate/raspberry combination is amazing.
Chocolate Raspberry Pots de Creme Custard
A fabulously rich chocolate dessert topped with raspberry whipped cream.
Chocolate Pots de Creme
- 6 ounces heavy cream Equal to 3/4 cup
- 2 ounces lowfat or nonfat milk Equal to 1/4 cup
- 1 pinch kosher or fine sea salt
- 2 & 1/2 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 egg yolks (from large eggs) Reserve the whites for a pavlova or meringue cookies.
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
Raspberry Whipped Cream Topping
- 3 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries
- 4 ounces heavy cream Equal to 1/2 cup
- 3 tablespoons sugar
Chocolate Pots de Creme
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream, milk and salt to a simmer over medium-low heat. Once the cream and milk simmer (small bubbles along all the edges), take the saucepan off the heat and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Whisk gently until the mixture is smooth.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together.
Gradually add the cream/milk/chocolate mixture and strain the mixture into a two-cup measure or a medium size bowl to make sure it is well-blended. Pour the custard carefully into 6 ounce ramekins.
Place the ramekins in an oven-proof dish large enough to hold them both, add enough hot water to the pan to come halfway up the ramekin sides, cover the pan with foil and place it on the middle rack of the oven.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the custard is set but still jiggly. Once you can handle the ramekins, put them on a wire rack. (The ones in this photo are a bit overbaked.) Cool them for about an hour then either refrigerate them or proceed directly to make the raspberry whipped cream.
Raspberry Whipped Cream
Crush the raspberries in a mortar and pestle, with a fork, or in a food processor. Then strain them, using a spoon to press out the juice. All that should remain on the top of the strainer are the small seeds.
Gently fold the raspberry juice into the heavy cream and add the sugar.
Whip with a whisk or mixer until the cream makes still peaks in a cold bowl. If using a mixer, start at a low speed and only gradually move up. Whip until the cream makes stiff peaks. Either pipe the whipped cream or spoon it gently on top of each pot de creme.