Time for something decadent: extreme dark chocolate pots de crème with marshmallow crème. A silky, extra-rich chocolate custard topped with a dollop of sweet and airy marshmallow. This makes an amazing Valentine’s Day dessert… and guess what? It’s gluten free, paleo, sugar free, dairy free, and nut free!
I love having a food blog because it pushes me to learn new things. Prior to starting up this blog (and frankly, even the first year of hosting it), I was hesitant to try any recipe that sounded this complicated. Now, I’m eager to attempt new-to-me dishes and techniques. And I wholeheartedly encourage you to give it a try, too!
Recently, I fell head-over-heels for custards. Pots de crème, panna cotta, pudding, kuchen filling, mousse…they’re all types of custard. Typically, pots de crème (pronounced “Poe de krem”) is dense, rich, and silky-smooth. Pots de crème can be made in many flavors, but when you search for recipes it’s all about the chocolate. And with Valentine’s Day coming up, of course my mind went directly to chocolate!
Now, this pots de crème is not exactly a “true” pots de crème. Traditionally, pots de crème is baked at a low temperature in a water bath. I used Nom Nom Paleo’s method for this recipe, which skips that step, opting instead to cook it entirely on the stovetop. Maybe I’ll try the water bath method someday. In the meantime, this technique is faster and it’s still rich and light.
Fair warning: I like my chocolate dark. I use 100% unsweetened cocoa for many of my recipes because I prefer to sweeten it myself. I’ve been calling this “extreme dark chocolate pots de crème” for a reason! The light, sweet marshmallow crème balances the richness of the custard in this recipe. So don’t skip the marshmallow crème!
But, if you’re a bit scared that it’s going to be too dark for you, you can always sub in lightly sweetened chocolate (I’d still go with 70-80% dark chocolate) or increase the honey in the pots de crème by a couple tablespoons. These subs will also make the pots de crème a bit lighter and looser.
Dark Chocolate Pots de Crème with Marshmallow Crème
Dark Chocolate Pots de Crème with Marshmallow Crème
For the Pots de Crème:
- Chop the chocolate and place in a large heat-safe bowl. Set aside.
- Separate the eggs and add the whites to the bowl of a stand mixer. You’ll need these for the marshmallow crème!
- Add the egg yolks, coconut milk, honey and salt to a pot. Whisk until smooth. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, for 15-20 minutes until the mixture has thickened. To test when it’s ready, dip the back of a spoon into the custard mixture. If the mixture sticks to the back of the spoon and you can make a clear line through it with your finger, it’s done! If it’s nowhere close and doesn’t stick to the back of the spoon at all, increase the heat slightly and continue stirring. It will get there!
- Pour the custard over the chopped chocolate. You can pour through a fine mesh sieve if you’re afraid of clumps in the custard, but as long as the custard didn’t heat too quickly it should be smooth.
- Let the custard and chocolate stand for at least 5 minutes. Seriously, don’t touch it!
- After 5 minutes, use a spatula to slowly and steadily stir the chocolate into the custard. Don’t stir too quickly or the emulsion will be grainy. Patience is the winner in this situation! See Notes for tips if it's not coming together.
- Once the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, spoon into small ramekins or cups. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. The pots de crème will keep for about a week in the fridge, so you can make it a day or two ahead of serving, if you'd like. In the meantime, make the marshmallow crème.
For the Marshmallow Crème:
- Add water, maple syrup, honey and salt to a pot and whisk until combined. Bring to a boil at medium-high heat, then continue to boil until it reaches 240 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer (about 15 minutes after first boil).
- Add egg whites and lemon juice to the bowl of a large stand mixer. Beat at medium-high speed until stiff peaks begin to form (4-5 minutes for me, but it varies based on speed and the mixer you’re using). Turn the mixer off and wait for the syrup to reach 240 degrees F.
- Once the syrup is done, remove from heat. Turn the mixer on low and slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the syrup. You don’t want to add the hot syrup too quickly or the eggs will scramble.
- Increase the speed to medium and slowly pour in the remainder of the syrup. Increase to medium-high and beat for about 7 minutes until the mixture is thick, white, and glossy. Add vanilla extract and beat for another minute or so.
- Remove the pots de crème from the fridge for at least 10 minutes before serving. Spoon marshmallow crème on top of each. You’ll have extra marshmallow crème—it's best if used within a day, but you can store it in an airtight container for up to a week (if after a few days the syrup starts to separate to the bottom of the container, just give it a vigorous whip with a whisk or fork before using). Sprinkle with additional chocolate shavings if desired.
If you're stirring the custard with the chocolate and you can see flecks of unmelted chocolate even though you let it set for at least 5 minutes and even though you're stirring slowly and patiently (like, at least 5 minutes of slow, steady stirring), you can help the process along: Bring about an inch of water to boil in a deep pot. Set the heat-safe bowl you're stirring the custard in over the pot (don't let it touch the water). If your pot is small enough and your mixing bowl big enough, you should be able to just set the bowl on top of the pot. If not, you my have to hold the bowl (it sucks, but you're saving your custard)! Let it heat like this for a few minutes, then continue steadily stirring. The steam from the boiling water will gently heat the bowl, encouraging the chocolate to melt.