Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pots of Chocolate from Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle, who is searching
for new things to cover with
chocolate, is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
When I first discovered pots de crème, the clouds parted, the sun appeared, I’d found pudding nirvana! This classic dessert may translate from French to English as "pots of cream," but I always think of it as pots of chocolate, mainly because it's the only flavor I make. :)

This is not your high school cafeteria’s chocolate custard. It’s a rich, smooth, sinfully satisfying experience. It’s also very easy to whip up. Like last week's classic egg custard, you need no special culinary skills to make this treat.


This dessert, along with the modern gourmet philosophy of palate fatigue, plays a role in in my sixth Coffeehouse Mystery. To learn more about the book, click here: French Pressed

Cleo Coyle’s 
Chocolate Pots de Crème

To download this recipe 
in a free PDF that you can
print, save, 
or share, click here.

Servings: This recipe will produce 4 cups of liquid to divide among your ramekins, custard cups, or ovenproof coffee cups. Consequently, depending on the size of your containers, this recipe will give you 6 to 8 servings.


12 ounces of good quality semisweet chocolate chopped (or chips)
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
6 egg yolks (extra large or jumbo size)
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Step 1: Melt the chocolate - Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Put your chopped chocolate (or chips) in a metal or glass bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and milk until it’s just about to boil, but not yet boiling. Pour this hot liquid over your chocolate and let it sit for about a minute until the chocolate is softened. Then stir this mixture until it’s smooth. The stirring will take one to two minutes.

Step 2: Beat the eggs - Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs well, for about 1 minute. Gradually mix in sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and salt. Now gradually beat the chocolate mixture you made (in Step 1) into these egg yolks.

Step 3: Strain and pour into containers - Strain this custard through a fine-meshed sieve (I use a small metal colander). Pour the strained liquid into a container with a spout. This will make it easier to evenly divide the mixture among containers.

Step 4: Prepare for Baking - Place the cups in a shallow baking pan. Carefully fill the pan with boiling water until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the custard cups (or ramekins or ovenproof coffee cups).

Step 5: Cover and Bake - Cover pan with foil, seal ends, and pierce in several places so that steam can escape. Bake for about 25 - 35 minutes in the center of your 300 degree F. oven until the tops of the pots de crème look solid, but the custard still jiggles slightly when you shake it. Don’t worry; the custard will firm up as it cools.

Note on Cooking Time: The smaller your cups, the quicker your custard will set. The deeper your cups, however, the longer your custard will take to set. If your custard still has a liquid top after 35 minutes, then turn up the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. and bake another 10 minutes. (If you use cool or room temperature water, rather than boiling water for the water bath, the cooking process may take longer, as well.)

Step 6: Chill, baby! - Now carefully remove the hot pots from the oven and the hot pan and let them cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge. After they come to room temperature, make sure to cover these with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. The custards should be chilled at least 3 hours before serving.


Because this is a classic French dessert, many versions exist in cookbooks and on the Internet. For variations on this basic recipe, reduce the vanilla to 2 teaspoons and add 2 tablespoons Kahlúa (or try dark rum, Grand Marnier, or coffee syrup).

Coffee syrup can be bought pre-made. It can also be made from scratch. My recipe can be found by clicking here or turning to the back of the fifth Coffeehouse Mystery Decaffeinated Corpse.

For many more ideas on variations
for French pots de crème,
click here and have fun! There are some wonderful ideas there.


Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of

To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or 
learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit my online coffeehouse: CoffeehouseMystery.com

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.


  1. My first experience with pots de creme had me hearing angels singing too...is there any more perfect dessert on earth? Thanks for making its lusciousness look easily achievable. What kind of chocolate do you like to use in it?

    1. Laine - Wonderful to see you in the Kitchen! Thank you for dropping in today...as far as the chocolate, there are some fantastic premium chocolates that are astounding in this dessert. It all comes down to budget and fuss.

      The French Valrhona is one of the best in the world; and then there's Scharffen Berger, America's first modern artisan chocolate maker. Closer to home in NYC, I'm a big fan of Mast Brothers Chocolate in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They bring in Stumptown coffee beans to make their dark chocolate mocha bar (bliss, bliss, bliss). Taza stone-ground discs are fun for a Mexican-style version of this dessert. For convenience, however, I'll often use Ghirardelli chocolate, which I can find in my local Queens grocery. :)

      Thanks again for stopping by the Kitchen today, Laine!

      Have a great week,

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. It must be chocolate week at MLK--and we didn't even know it! Cleo, have you ever served these warm, maybe with some whipped cream on top? Seems like it would be hard to wait 3 hours...

  3. OH my goodness...these look so good! =D

    The photos are so pretty! Thanks for sharing.