Soft, sweet and creamy chocolate custard with a crunchy toffee top. With only 4 ingredients this perfect Chocolate Creme Brulee recipe is not only easy to make but it’s also the perfect make ahead dessert for entertaining.
I’ve made this Dark Chocolate Creme Brulee recipe many times now, at one point making it 3 times in one week. Oh, the rigours of recipe testing. Let me tell you a secret, Chocolate Crème Brulee is easy to make. Like, the same revelation I had when I discovered how-easy-panna-cotta-was-to-make kind of easy.
What is creme brulee?
Creme brulee is a rich baked custard dessert with a crisp layer of caramelised sugar on top. After baking the dessert is chilled and the sugar top is caramelised right before serving.
You may also have heard of chocolate pots de creme? Another lovely French term, pots de creme are basically a creme brulee without the caramelised sugar on top. Pots de creme also tend to be a little less ‘set’ than creme brulee as they’ll often use milk in place of some or all of the cream.
What ingredients are used in creme brulee?
This Chocolate Creme Brulee recipe is not only simple to make, but this version only uses 4 ingredients.
- Dark (70%) chocolate
- Egg yolks
That’s it and if you’re anything like me you have those ingredients on hand, ALWAYS.
You must use dark chocolate and try to use a very good quality one – and one you enjoy eating. You only need 100g / 3.5oz but, being that there are only 4 ingredients going into this, good flavour and texture is a must.
Dark chocolate in a creme brulee creates a gorgeous, strong chocolate flavour. I don’t know this next part from experience but I have heard that milk chocolate will split in a crème brulee due to it having a higher fat content. I haven’t tested this as I generally always reach for dark chocolate in cooking unless I’m coating something but just a word of warning.
How to make Chocolate Creme Brulee
When you realise how easy this is, you’re are going to run into your kitchen to make sure you have ingredients to make these glorious little pots of baked chocolate custard straight away.
- You start by heating the cream and some sugar, then pouring it over finely chopped dark chocolate (almost as if you were making ganache). Let that sit for about 5 minutes before giving it a stir until you have a smooth chocolate cream.
- Beat the egg yolks and the remaining sugar until light and creamy then very slowly, pour the chocolate cream into the egg yolks while beating on low. Don’t mix it all in at once, otherwise you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.
- Now pour the chocolate custard into ramekins and bake on very low heat for 1 ¼ hours. Side note, I’ve tested this recipe 20 degrees higher and bake for only 45 minutes but the texture does not turn out quite as smooth as baking on a lower temperature for an extra 25 minutes.
- Cool in the fridge overnight.
- Sprinkle sugar on top and use a kitchen torch to caramelise it right before serving
I nearly forgot to mention but point 4 above means, BONUS, this is a make ahead dessert, perfect for if you’re having friends round. You can make crème brulee a couple of days ahead and then brulee the tops right before serving. Brulee-ing the tops can take a minute each, so maybe just small dinner parties, not parties of 30 people 🙂
What to do with leftover egg whites
Ok, so I hear you. You’ve just made your Chocolate Creme Brulee and you have all these leftover egg whites now. What can you do with them? Check out these recipes for some ideas.
- Massive Chocolate Swirl Meringues
- Easy Peppermint Meringues
- Pavlova (using this Raspberry Pavlova Ice Cream Cake recipe)
Chocolate Creme Brulee Recipe
- 2 cups thickened heavy cream
- 100 g (3.5oz) dark (70%) chocolate, finely chopped
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar
- 3 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar, extra (notes)
- Preheat the oven to 120C / 250F / 100C fan forced.
- Place a dish towel folded flat in the base of a large baking dish, then sit 6 ramekins (3/4 cup capacity) on top. The dish towel will stop them from sliding around.
- Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof dish and set aside.
- Add the cream and ½ the sugar to a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the cream is steaming.
- Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a few minutes before stirring to a smooth chocolate cream.
- Beat together the egg yolks and remaining sugar until very light and creamy. Slowly pour the chocolate cream in while constantly beating on low.
- Strain custard into a pouring jug to remove any possible lumps. Now divide the custard equally between the 6 ramekins.
- Pour water into the baking dish to about half way up the side of the ramekins.
- Bake for around 1 ¼ hours (notes), until the custard looks set around the edges and the centre still has a wobble when you give it a gentle shake.
- Cool for 1 hour, then place in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours or overnight is better.
- Right before serving, divide extra sugar between the custards, sprinkling evenly over the top of each one. Use a kitchen blow torch to caramelise the sugar on top until golden and glass-like.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspooons worldwide)
- You can bake these at a higher temp (aka 140C / 285F / 120C fan) to cook them quicker (45 mins), however, I noticed a very slight graininess to the custard when I did this. The temperate in the recipe above will result in a softer, creamier crème brulee.
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