60-Min Stovetop Chocolate Pot de Crème
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Chocolate pot de crème is a heavenly dessert, and when it’s made stovetop, it’s incredibly simple to make — there’s no water bath… hooray! A stovetop custard comes together in no time, and after an hour chill in the fridge, it’s ready to go. Dark chocolate custard + Grand Marnier + sea salt + homemade whipped cream — does dessert get any better?
If you’ve ever made pot de crème, you’re likely comfortable baking with a water bath: setting vessels filled with custard (egg + milk) in a larger pan, filling the pan with hot water, then setting the pan in an oven to bake slowly.
There’s nothing hard about it, but it does require planning: custards typically bake for 45 minutes to an hour, then often chill for about 8 hours before serving.
Last fall, I had hoped to make chocolate pot de crème for a French bistro cooking class I was teaching at the Hillsdale General Store. If I made them the traditional way, it would have been a logistical challenge: making one batch ahead of time, shlepping it to Hillsdale, making a fresh batch, shlepping that one home.
A Faster Way to Pot de Crème
My dilemma made me wonder: is there a faster way to pot de crème? It turns out yes. After a bit of Googling, I found two recipes, one from Fine Cooking, the other from Cook’s Illustrated, each calling for making the custards stovetop.
What I loved about the Fine Cooking recipe was that it was written to serve 2 people, so if it didn’t turn out well, it wouldn’t have been a huge investment in ingredients. I made it immediately, and it worked beautifully — easy to throw together, and after an hour of chilling, it was ready.
For the class at Hillsdale, we made the pot de crème first, and by the end of class, they were ready. Everyone raved, and I’ve since made the recipe for many occasions.
Stovetop Chocolate Pot de Crème
The beauty of making pot de crème on the stovetop is:
- No need to plan ahead: You can make whisk this together just before dinner, and it will be ready to be served by the end — an hour in the fridge is all it needs.
- Scalability: you can make it for 2 or for 20.
- Keeping power: If you have the time to plan ahead, these can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge until needed.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Lovebirds!
PS: More Desserts here | More Valentine’s Day ideas here
Here’s the play-by-play: Gather your ingredients:
Separate the yolks from the whites; you need 8 yolks. (Save the whites for angel food cake.):
Temper the yolks: slowly whisk the hot cream and milk mixture into the yolks:
Return the custard to the stovetop and cook until it coats the back of a spoon:
Add the chocolate, sugar, and vanilla:
Whisk to combine:
Strain to remove any curdled egg:
Pour into glasses and chill until ready to serve:
Meanwhile, make the whipped cream:
Whip until thick…
then spoon it into the glasses:
Shave chocolate over top if you wish:
If you’ve made the pot de crème ahead of time, bring them to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.Print
60-Min Stovetop Chocolate Pot de Crème
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 10
Adapted from this Fine Cooking recipe. Pot de crème, which translates to “pot of cream,” is pronounced: POH-də-KREM
See notes below if you’d like to make this for only 2 people.
I recently made a double batch of this for a Valentine’s Day dinner at the Vischer Ferry General Store. For a double batch, I added 1/2 cup Grand Marnier, and I thought it turned out especially well. I also use Guittard 72% chocolate wafers, which also attributed to its especially nice flavor.
These are the glasses I used to serve the pot de crème in: 5 oz. Libbey Lexington Juice Glass. You have to buy a case, which has 36 glasses, which is a lot, but they are so handy for water, wine, all sorts of desserts. I’ve split a case with a friend in the past only to buy another full case to have on hand. If you want to buy fewer glasses, these are similar and you can buy fewer (12).
for the pot de crème (see notes below for small-batch version):
- 2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup 2% or whole milk
- 8 large egg yolks
- 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips or chocolate bars broken into small pieces (Guittard 66-72% cacao chocolate wafers makes for an especially delicious flavor)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 to 4 tablespoons Grand Marnier, optional
for the whipped cream:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar + more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon plus more to taste flaky sea salt such as Maldon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Heat the cream and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until scalding hot. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl. Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the eggs.
- Return the milk mixture to the pan, reduce the heat to low, and whisk until it thickens, about 1 minute, or until it coats the back of a spoon. Note: rely less on time here and more on visual cues: you want the custard to coat the back of a spoon; if you dip a spoon or spatula into the custard and then run your finger through the custard coating the spoon, a clear line should remain. This is the critical step. It’s important that the milk mixture thickens otherwise the final mixture will never set.
- Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and sugar; whisk until melted. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Add the salt and stir to combine. Taste. Season with more sea salt to taste — I always a few more pinches to taste. Add the vanilla and booze, if using. Start with 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, then add more to taste, stirring after each addition—the mixture might look thin, especially if you add 4 tablespoons of booze, but it will thicken in the fridge. Divide the mixture between eight to ten 6-oz. ramekins or serving glasses. Refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour.
- Meanwhile: make the whipped cream: Beat the cream with a whisk or with the whip of a stand mixer. When it begins to form soft peaks, add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, and vanilla. Continue to beat until the peaks get firmer, but are still soft and pillowy. Taste. Add more sugar if it’s not sweet enough; add more salt to taste. I like the whipped cream to not be too sweet because the pot de crème is sweet and rich on its own. I typically add a pinch more salt and a pinch more sugar.
- To serve, bring the pot de creme to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving. Spoon whipped cream over chocolate. Shave chocolate over top.
If you want to just make this for 2 people, use these proportions:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 to 3 teaspoons Grand Marnier, optional
For the whipped cream, use these proportions:
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
- pinch sea salt
- splash vanilla
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American, French
Keywords: stovetop, pot de creme, whipped, cream, dark, chocolate, grand, marnier
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
75 Comments on “60-Min Stovetop Chocolate Pot de Crème”
Wow! This looks deliciously decadent! It’s very similar to budino that my Italian dad used to make. I can’t wait to try it!
I LOVE budino. Thanks for reminding me. I made it once, and then I turned it into ice cream 🙂
Would you not add a bit of vanilla to the two portion size? Just thinking — not like I’m gonna make that little. I’ll make it for Valentine’s and then, do you think it’ll last until our 41st anniversary on the 24th? (ha! thanks for including the smaller version.)
I love it 🙂 🙂 🙂 Yes, I would definitely add a splash of vanilla to the smaller ones. Making the small batch is so nice — it comes together so quickly, and it’s such a treat. I always make the larger batch … not sure why bc I’m the one here at home eating it with my coffee by 10 am.
Looks great!!!…can’t wait!!!
Can you triple the recipe for two and get 6? 2 is not enough and 20 is too many…thanks
Definitely! This recipe scales very well.
So happy to find this recipe again. I had made this last year but couldn’t find the recipe. As I have made the water bath type several times, this is as good and much easier. Thanks for this.
So happy to hear this, Beverly.
Looking for a dessert to go with my Beef Bourguignon for Valentine’s Day!! This will be perfect!! Thanks!!
Yay! Happy Valentine’s Day!
I just made this for my cards friends. They loved them and so did I. I specially loved that you can make them early and have them ready in the fridge. Just add the whipped cream and shaved chocolate before serving. This is going to be a favorite for my cards afternoos!
So happy to hear this, Ana! I love that it can be made ahead of time, too 🙂
I made the 2 serving portion yesterday (Valentine’s Day) for just me and my husband. Wow! Super easy, no fretting that they will set, and amazingly good. I did a little Kahlua which gave it a nice flavor. The texture is divine. I’ve always been a big chocolate mousse fan, but this beats that for sure! Thanks, Alexandra!
So happy to hear this, Sunie! I made these last night for an event and added Grand Marnier — so nice! I think the alcohol improves the texture.
Any way subbing skim milk would be ok? I feel idiotic for asking, but I only drink skim, so I never have whole in the house. And I don’t do enough baking, fast enough, for the milk not to spoil. I have heavy cream right now though!
I think skim will be fine because there is enough heavy cream to allow it to thicken. I say go for it!
Sweet Heavens! Keeper it is ! Thank you !
Do you think this would work with white chocolate? Planning a menu with a layered dessert, and if I could do this with both flavors, it would fit the bill PERFECTLY!
Hi Anne! I don’t see why white chocolate wouldn’t work … my only hesitation is that 1. I haven’t tried so can’t say for sure and 2. I know white chocolate isn’t really chocolate, so I don’t know how it you have to make adjustments to the recipe to ensure the white chocolate behaves? My sense is that it will be fine. Go for it!
Couple of thoughts…you show Vanilla in the pics but don’t add it to the recipe…I did and it’s great! Everything is better with Vanilla…and garlic…lol. forgot the Grand Marnier at the store…oh well, next time. I highly recommend buying/using the whisk you show rather than a conventional whisk…works wonderfully. Lastly, if you use terms like ‘scalding’ you may want to define them as some entry level cooks may not know what that is…WONDEERFUL recipe and so easy…thanks again!
So happy to hear you liked this one, Gary!! I added the link to both sets of glasses and added vanilla to the recipe … thanks for catching that. Hope all is well!
Also you may want to add the link for the small glasses so your readers can buy only 12 and not 36.
Can you use just heavy cream? Would it make it richer? Thx.
I’m sure you could! But yes, probably richer … not the worst problem 🙂
All cream worked just fine. Added Kahlua rather than Gran Marnier and it worked well…also recommend, as you did, the Maldon salt. Merry Christmas!!
Great to hear this Gary! Happy Happy Holidays to you as well!
This recipe has awed EVERYONE who has tasted it…comments were ‘restaurant quality’…just made a second batch with Grand Marnier and Vanilla. A suggestion when reheating the egg mixture to thicken…watch the mixture and not your watch…it can take from one to four minutes depending on the level of the heat…you’ll see it when it finally thickens…wish I could give it 6 stars…noooooo…a James Beard award!
So happy to hear all of this, Gary!! And yes, great tip re watching the texture as opposed to the clock. Thanks!
I don’t see the link for the glasses. Can you provide that again? I’ve been looking all over for something like these.
Hi Lisa! Here you go: https://www.webstaurantstore.com/libbey-2349-lexington-5-oz-juice-glass-case/5512349.html
And for future reference, it’s in the recipe box in the notes preceding the recipe.
These were seriously fabulous!!
Thanks for the great recipe… made it as written.. took longer than 1 minute to thicken.. (3-5 for me) and didn’t add the Grand Mariner…
believe me it was soo good!!
Wonderful to hear this, Sandy!!
What a lovely, decadent-yet-simple recipe! I doubled the party of 2 recipe for 4 people, and served in 4.9 oz La Fermiere’s terra-cotta yogurt cups (they have a seasonal version of the cup that has a cute heart on them— so sweet). I used nearly a full package of Guittard 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate baking bars, using the remaining squares for shaving decoration. I found that using room temperature yolks helped a great deal with the tempering— didn’t need to strain. I added in 4 tbsp of Grand Marnier and did find it to finish on the boozey-tangy side (my palate is a little more sensitive to this— my husband didn’t even notice it). As recommended, I added a tad more flaky salt to the whipped cream- wooooowie. Overall: if I could give it 10 stars I would, will be making it exactly the same way again! Thank you, Thank you!!!
So happy to hear this, Amy!! Thanks so much for reporting back and sharing your experience — it’s so helpful for others to read. It all sounds so lovely 🙂
This is a fantastically chocolatey recipe! I made three servings for my three-person family and there’s way too much (not like that will really be a problem…). I did all cream, 90% dark chocolate, and only 1 tb sugar per serving and I think it was plenty. I also did a little experiment – I chilled off about half of the chocolate custard direct, and then I whipped up the egg whites and folded them into the remaining custard. That brought me closer to true Parisian-style chocolate mousse than I have yet come! My toddler and my husband declared both varieties to be “yummy” so it’s a keeper! Over all I think this is an excellent recipe and I have bookmarked it. Thank you!
So happy to hear this, Laura!
Just made my first batch for Fall…and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…WOOOOOOOWSER. Added a pinch of Maldon salt to the top (prior to whipped cream) for a kick that everyone loves…have a good Halloween!
Woohoo!! Yes to the pinch of Maldon on top. Love it. Hope you are well, Gary!
This weekend I’m making this, filling up half of a shallow cup (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch deep) first with the custard and the other half with Cannoli cream and garnishing with a Cannoli shell for dipping. Let me know what you think.
That sounds AMAZING. Please report back.
Thank you for reducing the recipe to account for 2 people. It’s just the 2 of us, and sometimes something deeply chocolate is absolutely necessary!
Right?! I love a 2-serving dessert recipe.
If you use Maldon try layering it…what a flavor burst!
Love this recipe it’s so yummy, was wondering would the vanilla pots work as a stove top method too?
Hi Jennie, This is a great question, and one I unfortunately do not know the answer to. I think it’s worth a shot. I’m thinking the texture might be like unbruléed creme brulee … or vanilla pudding … neither would be bad 🙂
I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Lemon Pot de Creme. I’m going to try a recipe I found online BUT use your stove-top method. I hope it works. I don’t like using Bain Marie
Any ideas on how to do the Lemon? Any different than you would do with the Chocolate?
Hi Theresa! Wonderful! Let me know how the stovetop method works out for you. Without seeing the recipe, I can’t advise on the method, but I think if you follow the method outlined in this recipe, you should be fine.
Chocolate pots de cream one of my favorite. thanks for sharing this recipe with us.
I wonder if a stove top method would also work for a butterscotch version. I make butterscotch pots de creme for a restaurant and they take FOREVER. Time is money, right? Anyway, I wonder if the chocolate firming up the custard is the key to a stovetop method. I guess I’ll have to try the butterscotch and see what happens. I think I’ll have to cook it to a certain temperature, maybe 170-180°.
Hi Ginny! I think you might be right about the chocolate playing a role in the firming up of the custard. I tried to take this shortcut with this vanilla bean pots de creme, and while it was delicious, it tasted more like a creme anglaise — it was thin (my kids loved it). But I’d love to know what your experience is with the butterscotch version! Please share if you give it a try 🙂
Very easy to do and taste so delicious.
I halved the recipe and put it into 6 teacups, 1/2 cup measured into each cup.
The salt in the recipe makes the dessert not so cloying sweet for me, which was lovely.
I find the salt to be key, too, Margaret! Thanks for writing 🙂
what a fun dessert, haven’t ever made anything like this before, and also thank you for the smaller serving size version!
Great to hear, Sabrina!
I think I was expecting a more pudding like texture and am wondering if I did something wrong. The dessert was really thick, almost solid. It tasted delish but the texture felt off or maybe it is because I have never had pots de creme before and didn’t know what to expect.
Hi Hanna! So sorry for the delay here. Question: did you let it come to room temperature before serving? I find at least 20 minutes at room temperature really makes a difference in lightening the texture.
This was delicious and SUPER easy to make! It’s one of those things I call a “big payoff” for the little work involved. Thank you for always having such great stuff!
Wonderful to hear this, Kim! And thank you 🙂