This French chocolate dessert is a family favorite and a perfect Valentine’s Day treat. Whether it’s dinner for two or a family affair, these chocolate pots de crème with a light orange flavor are guaranteed to steal the show!
We’re less than two weeks away from Valentine’s Day, friends. One Valentine’s Day tradition that we have held for a number of years is to opt out of restaurant dining and to have a home-cooked meal together, followed by a homemade dessert. If you’ve been following our blog for a while you probably already know that I’m a big fan of chocolate. I’ve never been one for sweet things. My favorite kind of dessert is usually a tart recipe or custard base dessert that’s not overly sweet but still flavorful and these pots de crème are both of those things in one!
Pots de crème are a custard base, French dessert. There’s different flavors that can be used. In this particular recipe I’ve chosen chocolate combined with orange. Orange and chocolate has always been a favorite pairing of mine. This dessert is light and fluffy, yet decadent with rich chocolate followed by light citrus flavor. It’s the perfect combination for a special night in!
This recipe can be baked in whatever custard cups or ramekins you prefer. Because there is only three of us in our household, I use 3 – 6oz. ramekins. However, you can use 6 – 3oz. ramekins or any small decorative cups that are oven proof. Once baked and chilled, you’ll have a satin like consistency. We love to top ours with a spoonful of homemade whipped cream and a touch of chocolate shavings. To make the chocolate shavings I simply use a small handheld grater.
Chocolate-Orange Pots de Crème
- 1 1/3 cups half n half
- 1 pinch salt
- zest of 1 orange
- 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate (coarsely chopped) plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. orange extract (or 1 Tbsp. orange liqueur)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In a small saucepan, combine the half n half, orange zest and salt. Cook on low heat until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat, cover and let it steep for 15 minutes.
Strain the orange zest and return the half n half mixture to the pan. Add the 1/4 cup of sugar and stir. Cook on low heat until it starts to simmer. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes or until the chocolate has completely melted. Be sure to stir well.
In a large mixing bowl or cup (One with a pour spout work great for this.) stir the egg yolks, cocoa powder, orange extract, vanilla extract until combined. Slowly stir in the chocolate mixture, being careful not to mix too vigorously. You want to avoid creating too many bubbles.
Pour into 3 - 6oz. custard cups or 6 - 3oz. custard cups. Place each one in a glass baking dish, spaced evenly. Gently pour water into the baking dish until the water is half way up the sides of the custard cups. Loosely cover the top of the dish with foil. Carefully place the baking dish with custard cups into the oven.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the custards are just set but slightly wobbly in the center. Carefully remove the cups and place on a cooling rack. Bring down to room temperature and chill in the fridge for four hours or over-night.
Before serving, top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
Just a couple of things to note, make sure your chocolate melts thoroughly. You want a very creamy mixture. Stir the chocolate mixture until all of the chocolate was completely melted. If you need to let is sit covered longer for that to happen, do it. In the past I have rushed that process and I had not let it rest long enough to only find it slightly gritty with small pieces of unmelted chocolate once combined. You want your pots de crème to be very smooth. Using a tight knit strainer may also help with that step.
Lastly, give them plenty of time to chill in the fridge. Don’t rush it. This dessert is best once it’s completely set and chilled. No one wants a custard with a loose center. Chill, chill and chill! I prefer to make my pots de crème one evening and serve them the following evening, so they have all night and day to set up properly in the fridge.
If you’re like me and love panna cotta and crème brûlée, you’ll love these pots de crème. We typically indulge in a heavy pasta dinner for Valentine’s Day, so this light dessert is the perfect choice. Let’s face it, they’re yummy no matter what day or time of the year you choose to make them. Happy baking and Bon appétit, friends!