Chocolate Custard Creams



2 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

Scrapings of 1/2 vanilla bean

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 64 percent cacao), coarsely chopped

3 large eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks

1 cup mild-flavored honey, such as clover or honey blossom

Fresh raspberries, for garnish (optional)

1 cup lightly sweetened whipped cream, for garnish

Chocolate curls or shavings, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine 2 1/2 cups whole milk, 1/2 cup sugar and the scrapings of 1/2 vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just below a boil (scald) and turn off the heat. Stir in 3 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate (at least 64 percent cacao) until melted.

Whisk together 3 large, fresh eggs and 3 large, fresh egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Gradually add the milk-chocolate mixture, whisking constantly.

Cook 1 cup mildly flavored honey in a saucepan over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until it bubbles, darkens and becomes slightly thicker. Turn off the heat.

Grease eight 6-ounce ramekins with cooking oil spray. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the cooked honey into each one; swirl to coat the bottoms. Invert the ramekins over a bowl or sink to let any excess honey drip out, then arrange them in a 4-inch-deep baking pan. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the chocolate custard mixture into each ramekin. Fill the pan with enough boiling water to come one-quarter of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with foil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the custards are barely set.

Carefully transfer the ramekins to a platter; cool, then refrigerate until well chilled.

To serve, dip the bottom of each ramekin into hot water, then run a hot knife around the inside edge. Invert the custards onto individual plates. Top with fresh raspberries, a dollop or piped rosette of lightly sweetened whipped cream and a chocolate curl. Serve at a cool room temperature.


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