December 4, 2022

Pot de Crème

“Pots of Cream”

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Pots de Crème means “pots of cream” in French. If this translation already has your mouth watering, you won’t be disappointed when you try them. Pots de Crème are creamy and divine, not just for special occasions.

Pots de creme are simple enough to make, and you can serve leftovers to help you pull together an easy dinner during the week. Serve a light dinner of soup (easy if you have some homemade soup in the freezer) or Caesar salad, fruit, and charcuterie (assorted cured meats such as bresaola, prosciutto, capicola, ham, and salami). This four-course meal will take the time to warm the soup or make a salad, plate the charcuterie, and put the fruit and pot de crème on the table. Not bad for a busy Tuesday night when you don’t feel like cooking.

This is a recipe from the famous chef Thomas Keller. I simplified it slightly, but he gets all the credit. The original recipe is in grams. I suggest having a kitchen scale to work in grams because you’ll find recipes from fine chefs in grams, so having a scale will save you the trouble of translating. For this recipe, though, I translated it for you into customary American units.

Compared to a commercially made treat, Pot de Crème gets an A+ for the quality and purity of the ingredients. They are rich and satisfying, so a small 3 - 4 ounce portion is all you need. When you serve a dessert like this, no one will want to snack on chips and cookies two hours after dinner. So it’s a small investment in your health as well.


Pot de Crème

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190 grams 70 or 72% dark chocolate - Valrhona, Michel Cluizel, Marou, or Lindt, or another good brand.

220 grams (7.76 ounces) of whole milk

220 (7.76 ounces) grams of heavy cream

85 grams (3 ounces) egg yolks

15 grams (.53 ounces) granulated sugar

1 gram (.04 ounces) kosher salt


First, chop the chocolate finely.

Then, bring the milk and heavy cream to a small simmer in a medium saucepot over medium-low heat. While the mixture is coming up to a simmer, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.

While whisking the yolk-sugar-salt mixture, slowly pour half the hot milk-cream mixture. Be sure to whisk the yolk-sugar mixture continuously to temper the yolks and prevent curdling. Pour the tempered mixture back into the pot, off the stove, adding it to the remaining milk-cream mixture. Whisk to combine.

Return the pot to the stove over low heat. Continuously scrape the bottom and edges of the saucepot and stir the mixture for even heating. Be careful not to overcook the mixture and curdle the eggs; you may need to remove the saucepot from the heat to prevent overcooking occasionally. Cook this mixture until an instant-read thermometer reads 85ºC or a clean line is left behind when you run your finger through the custard on the back of a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes. (If you do not have a thermometer, you can rely on the test of running your finger on the back of a wooden spoon.)

As soon as the custard reaches the proper temperature, remove the saucepot from the heat, and add the chopped chocolate. Whisk the mixture, taking care to get the corners of the saucepot, until all the chocolate is melted and evenly dispersed. The result should resemble a pudding.

Use an immersion blender to blend the mixture until it is homogenous, light, and aerated, and the chocolate is emulsified. The color of the mixture will lighten up from the blending.

Transfer the custard to a measuring cup with a spout, and divide the custard among ramekins, small glass jars, or classic single-serve “pots.” You can also store this in one large bowl and spoon it into small bowls when it is time to serve. 


Chocolate Pot de Crème is an excellent dessert to bring to a party in verrines, or for entertaining.

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Here is an example of an inexpensive kitchen scale. It is the one that I use. 

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I often cook "au pif," as we say in France, which means cooking without an exact recipe and by "feel" using your intuition.  You’ll often find guidelines in many recipes versus exact quantities.  Write to me here if you have any questions about the recipes.

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