From America's Test Kitchen Season 8: French Classics
Classic pots de crème can be finicky and laborious, requiring a hot water bath that threatens to splash the custards every time the pan is moved. In addition, the individual custards don’t always cook at the same rate. We wanted a user-friendly recipe that delivered a decadent dessert with a satiny texture and intense chocolate flavor.
First we moved the dish out of the oven, concentrating on an unconventional approach in which the custard is cooked on the stovetop in a saucepan, then poured into ramekins. Our next challenge was developing the right amount of richness and body, which we did by choosing a combination of heavy cream and half-and-half, along with egg yolks only, for maximum richness. For intense chocolate flavor, we focused on bittersweet chocolate—and a lot of it. Our chocolate content was at least 50 percent more than in any other recipe we had encountered.
We prefer pots de creme made with 60 percent cocoa bittersweet chocolate (our favorite brands are Ghirardelli, Callebaut, Valrhona, and El Rey), but 70 percent bittersweet chocolate can also be used. If using a 70 percent bittersweet chocolate (we like Lindt, El Rey, and Valrhona), reduce the amount of chocolate to 8 ounces. A tablespoon of strong brewed coffee may be substituted for the instant espresso and water. Covered tightly with plastic wrap, the pots de creme will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, but the whipped cream must be made just before serving.