Chocolate Pots de Creme

I’m not a huge beer drinker. I joke that I only drink beer if I’m on a sunny beach in Mexico, thinking that someone will take me up on that to prove it. So far, that hasn’t happened, so I may need to change my tactic. While I figure out another way, one thing I am sure of is that there’s no shortage of beer in France.

Young Parisians almost exclusively drink beer, at least from what I see on every café table in my decidedly hipster-heavy neighborhood. Most of what they drink is draft beer (bière pression), often in generously oversized glasses. But there are some very good French craft beers, and several bars, stores, and even microbreweries in Paris, specialize in beer. However, beer is rarely paired with food, like wine is.

The artisan beer movement in the States has been chugging along for a while. Last year the Brewers Association, an association designed to support, and make people more familiar with, independent brewers, hosted a dinner in Paris to pair some American beers from small producers with food for some locals. It was interesting for me to become familiar with some of the lesser-known brews from the United States in Paris, even if we weren’t in Mexico. And I was reminded how good, and varied, beer can be.

One of the people I met that evening was Adam Dulye, who is the executive chef for the association and for Craftbeer.com. We had a good chat in between sips of various beers and learned that we had something in common, which was that we’d both cooked professionally in San Francisco.

Adam was in town last week and dropped by to give me a copy of his new book, The Beer Pantry, a collection of recipes that show the variety of foods that one can pair with craft beer, along with suggestions. As I was leafing through it, I mentally stuck a bookmark in the recipe for pots de crème, little “pots” of chocolate custard, whose recommended pairing were a few stouts, one with chocolate in it. Beer brewed with chocolate? I don’t need to be on a beach in Mexico to be down with that.

I didn’t find any beer brewed with chocolate around town, but when I was at my local natural food store, I spotted some beer made with blé noir (buckwheat), which sounded like it’d work well with the dark chocolate custards. And it did.

As I chugged (…okay, sipped) and spooned up the custard, I was happy to learn something new. Not only that I don’t need to go to Mexico to drink beer, but that beer can be enjoyed in unexpected places, such as alongside desserts such as these lovely, unapologetically rich pots de crème, which, fortunately, are best enjoyed by little spoonfuls. Use a good dark chocolate for these. Since there aren’t many other ingredients in them, it’s worth using a better one here.

I also think they’re best either warm or at room temperature, rather than chilled. I like breaking through the glossy-smooth dark chocolate surface and diving into a pudding-soft interior. You might want whipped cream on top, which is fine if you’re so inclined. But one thing I can tell you is that a glass of beer isn’t bad alongside. That, I’m certain of.

Chocolate Pots de Creme
Print Recipe
6 servings
Adapted from The Beer Pantry by Adam Dulye with Michael Harlan TurkellRamekins and custard cups run the gamut in terms of sizes. Mine hold about 4 ounces (120ml) each, although you can make them smaller or larger. Be sure to check them before the recommended baking time since ovens also vary, especially if using smaller sized baking vessels.Some people like the pour the water into the baking dish when it's already on the oven rack, in step 4, to avoid sloshing water into the custards when transferring the pan to the oven. I have a zen-like steady hand when it comes to custard so do it before putting them in the oven. But you can fill the pan with water and cover with foil when the custards are on the oven rack.The original recipe said to bake them uncovered, but the "pastry chef" part of me felt compelled to bake them covered. I circled back to Adam, who told me he tested them both ways and covering them didn't seem to make a difference. So you could try baking them uncovered. If you do, let us know how they turn outYou can add a dollop of whipped cream and some chocolate curls to the top of the custards, when cool, but I like them with any adornment. I don't want anything to get between me, and that pot of creamy, dark, bittersweet chocolate!
8 ounces (225g) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cups (430ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (125ml) whole or lowfat milk
1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
6 large egg yolks
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC).
2. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream, milk, and salt in a small saucepan. When it begins to simmer, remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir with a whisk until smooth.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then whisk in the sugar. Gradually add the melted chocolate mixture while whisking until well-blended. Strain the mixture into a large measuring cup or pitcher, or another bowl.
4. Place 6 ramekins or custard cups in a roasting pan or baking dish. Divide the custards amongst the ramekins. Add hot water to the baking dish until it reaches halfway up the outside of the ramekins.
5. Cover snugly with foil and carefully place the pan in the oven. Bake until the custards are set around the edges but still slightly soft and jiggly when you nudge them, about 30 to 35 minutes, but check them before as ovens can vary. Remove the pan of custards from the oven and lift off the foil.
6. As soon as the custards are cool enough to handle, remove them from the hot water bath and place them on a cooling rack.

Serving: The custards are best enjoyed warm or at room temperature. They can be served on their own, or with a dollop of whipped cream and some chocolate shavings.

Storage: The baked custards will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. They can be rewarmed either in a microwave oven or by putting them in a tray of hot water and gently rewarming them in the oven, covered or uncovered.


Deeply delicious, dark chocolate French custards that are easy to make at home.


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40 comments

  • April 2, 2018 6:49pm

    Oh no. We are heading to Mexico next month and I’m supposed to be able to get into my swimsuit. How could you do this??

    Do you think the recipe would be easily halved or… cut into thirds (thirded?)? Reply

    • abby
      April 4, 2018 1:02am

      Anything can be halved. You just have to have the right vessel for the dish! Good luck! Reply

  • Kim
    April 2, 2018 6:59pm

    I had a slight chuckle at your typo of the book’s title in the body of your post . . . The Beer Panty. And the Pots de creme look bowl-licking delicious! Reply

    • April 3, 2018 5:14pm

      how much % chocolate would you suggest ? Normally I am happy with 85% dark chocolate. But it may be too strong for this. Reply

      • April 3, 2018 5:45pm
        David Lebovitz

        Kim: Fixed! : )

        Heddy: You could use a high-percentage like that but I generally bake with chocolates between 50 to70ish%. Very high percentage chocolate can be acidic but I think there’s enough cream in here to avoid that happening with what you’re using it for. Enjoy! Reply

  • April 2, 2018 7:44pm

    I lived in Brussels for six years and am used to beer with (or in) everything. And it’s good beer.
    This recipe looks delicious! Reply

  • Kimberly
    April 2, 2018 8:09pm

    Beer and chocolate are a great combo. I make Guinness brownies at St Patrick’s Day that are always a hit. All you need is 2 bites since these are dense and rich! Reply

    • Bernadette
      April 3, 2018 6:21pm

      I was thinking the same thing, Guinness pairs so well with chocolate. I use it in cake, Storehouse mousse, breads, etc. David these look scrumptious. Adding heavy cream and extra eggs to the shopping list next go. Reply

  • April 2, 2018 9:53pm

    I love beer and chocolate! And these? Oh my yum. Reply

  • SJG611
    April 2, 2018 11:43pm

    Where is the beer in the recipe? Reply

  • April 3, 2018 7:08am

    I love chocolate pots de creme – it’s such a delightful dessert, so creamy and chocolatey. It’s been a long while since I made it at home, and your recipe really makes me wanna get into my kitchen and bake ♥ Reply

  • Ivana
    April 3, 2018 11:26am

    I am intrigued by that whisk! Does the special shape have a function or is it just decorative? Reply

  • April 3, 2018 1:28pm

    hey David, I enjoy drinking non alcoholic beer only.

    Anyway, your first pic makes me wanna order caramel pudding next, not sure if Starbucks have this here in Bucharest, Romania though…

    Keep up the great work! Reply

  • Jan
    April 3, 2018 5:07pm

    Which cream would you use in France?

    and why/what is kosher salt?

    Chocolate in France – they don’t seem to do ‘bittersweet’ – any advice? Reply

  • April 3, 2018 5:27pm
    David Lebovitz

    Krystal: Sure, it could easily be cut in half or thirds. You can bake it in smaller ramekins or cups as well. Just be sure to watch them while baking; they’ll likely take less time to bake than indicated.

    Jan: I would use crème liquide or crème entière. You can read more about them at my post here. Kosher salt is semi-coarse salt. It’s similar to sel gris (not gros), or you can use fleur de sel. Use any dark chocolate in France, except 100% cacao which is unsweetened and shouldn’t be used in this recipe.

    Ivana: I like picking up vintage cookware and baking implements at flea markets. I especially like this one!

    SJG611: There’s no beer in the recipe. It’s meant to be paired along with the finished custards. Reply

  • TheDoug
    April 3, 2018 5:33pm

    I’m going to just start referring to you as “Amazing Dave”…you’ve been one of my culinary inspirations for a long time. Keep up the awesome work, sir! Reply

  • Michele
    April 3, 2018 6:09pm

    Oddly enough I made this yesterday, same ingredients but recipe from another source plus 1 tsp ground ginger. Your recipe is easier, David, because you bake the pots in a bain marie. The one I did required the mix to be cooked like a custard, & I always worry that it will cook too quickly and curdle. But a yummy mix, thank you. Good with salted Breton shortbread crumbs. Reply

  • Madeline Bishop
    April 3, 2018 6:40pm

    I’m salivating all over my computer. Reply

  • kate
    April 3, 2018 6:59pm

    David, I love your recipes. I just had to make these last night after seeing the recipe. They were so good but mine didn’t set up fully – they were looser than I would have expected (despite being set up around the edges and jiggly in the middle), I baked them for 40 minutes (and my oven is calibrated & has a thermometer for double-checking). Any idea where I might have gone wrong? Thank you! Reply

    • kate
      April 4, 2018 5:23am

      Oops! Nevermind! So turns out all my pots needed was an overnight chill in the fridge. Tonight they are perfection. :) Reply

  • Paula
    April 3, 2018 7:59pm

    These look delish. Good luck with your book signing. I just finished reading your book yesterday. Give up beer, but never give up Romain! :) Reply

  • Gayatri
    April 3, 2018 8:31pm

    This recipe looks yumm .. Are there any chocolate brands that you suggest for this recipe?? Thanks Reply

  • Geraldine
    April 3, 2018 9:34pm

    Greetings from the MED / SUN. Here up the coast from Barcelona we drink a lot of beer …… and eat a lot of Chocoate. LOVE your recipe, it was one of my favorites during the late 60’s and still an all time FAV.

    Great recipe, but then ALL OF. YOUR RECIPES are amazing. THANKS.
    Going to suggest to a couple of friend to get over to the Library. Reply

  • Georgeann Brown
    April 4, 2018 4:10pm

    Black Abbey beer in Nashville TN offers a coffee brewed beer. Will serve with this wonderful dessert, yum. Reply

  • April 4, 2018 5:25pm

    These look fantastic! A simple, perfect recipe. I’m definitely going to give this a try! Reply

  • Deborah Kelowna BC Canada
    April 4, 2018 6:22pm

    Just finished reading My Paris Kitchen. I so enjoyed it. Well done. Makes me want to visit Paris. Sigh, maybe someday. I am totally going to try this pot de creme and the beer tart. First I have to buy a tart pan. Thanks for this David. You have another fan. Reply

  • April 4, 2018 8:01pm

    I’ll trust you on this. I like few beers and I adore chocolate pots de creme—usually make Melissa Clark’s recipe. Will try it and add the beer, too. Living in Colorado, I can get stunning beer anytime and nearly anywhere. Can’t wait! Thanks, David. Reply

  • Marshall
    April 5, 2018 3:10pm

    Oh David, I’ve been on a custard kick lately this will be a great diversion in the form of chocolate.

    This story couldn’t have come at a better time. Reply

  • Bebe
    April 5, 2018 9:48pm

    This is amusing! Many long years ago one of my beach buddies on Point Loma was a gal who loved Hershey bars with her beer. Reply

    • Bebe
      April 5, 2018 9:49pm

      D: I typoed out one character in my email addie. It’s me. Reply

  • Victoria R
    April 6, 2018 4:55am

    I made the custard today in lieu of dinner and it was delicious! Very rich (I love chocolate and I was only able to eat 3/4 of it), my husband said it was like eating a chocolate bar. I halved the recipe and had no problems. Just split it between two ramicans a little larger than the 125 ml ones mentioned in the recipe. Also I baked them uncovered and they came out luscious. There was no extra thick skin or anything weird. They came out just like the pictures. Thank you for sharing this recipe David. :) Reply

  • Stephanie DeMaurice
    April 7, 2018 5:27am

    Thank you so much for letting me live in Paris vicariously through you ! This is the best Pot de creme recipe I have evever tried ! Hands down thank you for posting – ! I enjoy your blog and recipes so much you are so funny and interesting — Reply

  • April 9, 2018 7:47am

    Ohhhh. Such a nice idea!!! It’s true that people drink draught beer a lot now and I like to drink wine with a chocolate dessert but I’ve never tried drinking beer with pots de crème. It would be great like you wrote, because I really love the perfect combination of sweetness and bitterness. Reply

  • Cindy Williamson
    April 10, 2018 4:09am

    David, received an Anova precision cooker for Christmas so used your recipe and their recommendation for 180 degrees for 45 minutes in 4 oz. mason jars and Mon Dieu! C’est Fantastique! So quick and easy :) Reply

  • adrian
    April 11, 2018 5:52pm

    There is a bière chocolat made by Thierry Mulhaupt that is quite tastey :) Reply

  • marshall
    April 15, 2018 7:05pm

    I made this recipe last night but didn’t have time to cook in water bath in the oven so I just finished off in double boiler.

    Added a pinch of cayenne. They were delicious. Reply

  • April 16, 2018 4:13am

    Made these without doing the straining after mixing the chocolate with the egg yolks and no cover in the oven.
    The tops look slightly drier and mottled than in your photos but I love how the tops taste different than the pudding-y middle. It’s only slightly less creamy and slightly more dense but delicious! Now I’m thinking I have to try this again and cover just to see the difference. Reply

  • Carmen
    April 18, 2018 3:10pm

    Hi David, just made it last night and I think I followed your instructions to a T but it tasted super bitter and I may have to throw the whole thing out! I don’t blame you nor the recipe but the Trader Joe’s bittersweet chocolate. I think I need better quality chocolate…normally TJ is good, maybe it was just not good enough.. Reply

    • April 18, 2018 3:33pm
      David Lebovitz

      That’s unusual it was “super” bitter. I’ve used that Trader Joe’s chocolate from Belgium and never found it overly bitter. There’s not a lot of sugar in these, though. Are you sure you used “bittersweet” and not “bitter” (unsweetened) chocolate? Reply

  • Jean B.
    April 19, 2018 10:20pm

    These are fabulous. Just pure chocolate flavor. I’ve made the recipe twice and anticipate making it many, many more times. Thank you, David, for another winner! Reply

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