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Help with Chocolate Pots de Creme - Any Pastry Chefs Here?

celestica's picture

Help with Chocolate Pots de Creme - Any Pastry Chefs Here?

I made the chocolate pots de creme from Joy of Cooking and they turned out granular even though I kept the temperature below 165 F.  I used Camino's fair trade cocoa and subbed a square of unsweetened chocolate for the 2 semisweet ones the recipe called for.  Any ideas?

6 yolks

2 c milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

pinch salt

1/2 c sugar

2 oz. (squares) semisweet chocolate

1/4 c. cocoa. 

Here's what I did.  Heated milk in double boiler. Grated fine the chocolate and added when milk hot.  In order: Mixed together yokes, salt, sugar, vanilla, cocoa.  Then added this mix to the hot milk/chocolate mix.  I used a hand held mixer for the mixing.

The final product, while delicious tasting, had tiny brown flecks and a slightly granular texture.  I was hoping for more silky smooth.

Any ideas on what went wrong?




lisaevp's picture

The only thing I think is the cocoa.

Pots de Creme should not be made with Cocoa. This is where the graininess is coming from.

Try this recipe.

6oz Chocolate 70% only (Lindt or Callebaut)

11/3 cup 35% cream

2/3 cup milk

6 yolks

1 tsp vanilla

3 Tbsp sugar

Pinch of salt

Heat cream and milk (no need to heat over double boiler)

In separate bowl mix yolks with sugar, salt, vanilla till pale yellow in colour. (With a hand mixer or in a kitchen aid)

Just before the cream/milk comes to a boil, pour hot liquid over chocolate, and then mix until smooth.

Temper your egg mix with this.

The bake as normal in bain marie.


I hope this recipe works better for you.



LeeYong's picture

Check out America test kitchen... they have a fabulous recioe on their site...

Happy baking!

celestica's picture

Thank-you for the suggestions.  I will try the recipe you sent and have a look at the test kitchen one too!


clevermum's picture

Could have been too hot and eggs scrambled slightly which might have given it the slightly granular texture.  Any dish with egg yolks I always sieve to remove the chalazae (and any egg yolk membrane) - that's the protein strands that anchors the yolks in the centre of the egg shell.  As to flecks - that could have been chocolate too hot as well - chocolate will melt happily 40o C if you give it some time.

salerina's picture

I make 30 - 40 at a time for my lunch buffet and they are really good...go online and see if you can get the recipe from Tartine.

doublelift08's picture

As a pastry chef I've used this recipe or variation thereof for a bout a million things... and as a bonus its idiot simple (as long as you have a scale)

maybe its not technically a pot de creme since its unbaked , but I defy anyone to tell the difference.

Makes about 1.5 quarts (i think... again i usually use solely weight for yeilds)


2g Salt

40g Sugar

300g Milk

300g Cream


Temper in:

120g Egg Yolks

Put back over a BARE flame and stir constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom until it just "coats the spoon" .

Immediately pour thru a fine sieve over:

360g Semisweet chocolate (i use 58% Cocoa Barry cuz thats what my vendor carries but I encourage you to play around with different chocolates/combinations here... I personally like 70% in this recipe... but its really dark when you use it alone)

Stir to combine and place in cups/dishes/flexipans.

Chill thoroughly.

Eat smile repeat.

celestica's picture


What does "temper in" mean? 

It looks like the technique is to make a custard then pour it over chocolate when it's done, yes?



mrfrost's picture

Tempering is a technique of blending a hot liquid together with a cooler liquid so as not to curdle or cook the cooler liquid(with the hot liquid).

If one were to pour the egg mixture directly into the hot milk mixture, the eggs would cook. Instead, while stirring the eggs, the hot milk mixture will be slowly added to the eggs, until the egg mixture is about the same temperature(or close) as the hot milk. This is called tempering the eggs in the above formula. When the eggs are tempered, then it is safe to mix the totality of both the liquids together, usually to continue in heating the mixture to thicken it.

Even after performing the above process, it is possible that small particles of egg became cooked. This is why the mixture is then poured through a sieve, to strain out any little cooked bits.

invisiblechef's picture

I have to agree that making a custard sauce and thickening it with chocolate is the most convenient and foolproof way to make pot de creme. 

However, if you prefer the more traditional baked variety, there are a nunber of precautions required. There are two usual causes for unpleasant mouthfeel in a chocolate custard.  One is overtightening of the egg proteins which results in curdling.  The other is actual graininess from the chocolate itself. As with all baked custards, gentle baking is essential.  I like a 325F oven and always use a water bath. If you are still having curdling problems turn the down to 300F. As long as your bake time is appropiate, there should be no issues. Even though many pot de creme recipes call for it, the use of unsweetened chocolate may cause graininess.  Chocolate liquor as it is known, does not have the same smooth melting properties as semi-sweet chocolates do.