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Pots de Crème with Chocolate, Chile and Espresso

Some chefs will do anything to get customers to try something they believe in. Alison Barshak, from Alison at Blue Bell, in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, will send out her chocolate pot de creme to any diner who doubts that the combination of spicy dried chiles and chocolate is incredibly delicious. When the customers come back, invariably they need no encouragement to order the dish.


slideshow  More Chocolate Desserts


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6

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  • 2 1/4 cups light cream or half-and-half
  • 2 dried ancho chiles—stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • Boiling water
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream and dulce de leche, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Add the chiles, cover and set aside to steep for 45 minutes. Strain the cream into a bowl and discard the chiles.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate and 1/2 cup of the strained cream and cook over low heat, stirring, until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the sugar and salt. Stir the remaining strained cream into the saucepan. Gently warm the chocolate cream over low heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks until slightly thickened. At low speed, beat in one-fourth of the warm chocolate cream along with the vanilla and espresso powder. Return the mixture to the chocolate cream in the saucepan and cook over low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Set six 4-ounce ramekins in a baking pan and divide the custard among them. Fill the pan with enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil and poke several holes in the top. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the custards are just set and a dark rim has formed around the edge. Remove the foil and let the custards cool in the water, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream and warmed dulce de leche.

Make Ahead

The pots de crème can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Contributed By Photo © Frances Janisch Published May 2006

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