Sweet & Spicy: Chocolate Chile Pots De Crème

Choc Chile Pots Creme (01) by MeetaK

I remember the first time I tasted the chocolate-chili combination. It was an explosive blend of flavors to say the least. My favorite chocolate manufacturer's were presenting their new chocolate line and I was lucky enough to get tickets to the show. This was a few years back. I instantly fell in love with their chocolate-chile-almond chocolate bar. Rich 70% bittersweet chocolate with spicy cayenne pepper all wrapped around whole almonds. I had no trouble eating the whole 200g bar by myself.

I am sure you know how that works. You open a new bar, slowly. First ripping the chic outer wrapper, revealing the elegant golden foil. Then you break off just a small corner - crack! You go to the sofa and savor the flavor melting in your mouth. A few minutes later you are back in the chocolate cabinet nibbling on another piece of that heavenly chocolate. And before you know it you've literally pigged out on the whole bar in one evening!

Guilty? Not me. You?

Surprisingly, it never actually occurred to me to experiment with the explosive combination in my own kitchen! DUH! However, I am the type of person who makes up for missed time by spending hours pondering and researching. I get so obsessed that I even start dreaming about it.

For those of you who have not tried the chocolate and chili blend, let me tell you it is not a new trend. Think of the Mexican Mole Poblano, created by nuns in the 17th century. The smooth, dark, richness of the chocolate, spiced with a hint of fiery chili is something so wonderfully satisfying.

So, when I was left with several egg yolks from the last Daring Bakers challenge, I knew instantly what I was going to be doing with them. I did not have to look far. I found the perfect recipe for creamy, chocolaty desserts in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. Dorie can do no wrong and so my decision fell on her exquisite Chocolate Pots de Crème.

Pots de crème are not to be compared to chocolate pudding. Because while the pudding is stirred on the stovetop to thicken the cornstarch, pots de crème are cooked in a water bath in the oven and get their creamy texture from the eggs and slow baking. Pots de crème are richer and, in my opinion, more comforting.

I used Dorie's recipe as a basis and adapted it to incorporate the chili flavors of the New Mexico chiles and Kashmiri chili powder. The result is a smooth, chocolaty cream with some real fire. Adding tart and fruity raspberries as a side completes the dessert by taking it to a whole new level.

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Printable version of recipe here.

Choc Chile Pots Creme (05) by MeetaK

4 ounces good bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed, cut lengthwise into 4 strips, rinsed
1 large egg
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
Pinch of salt

Handful of fresh raspberries
Handful of grated coconut


Choc Chile Pots Creme (02) by MeetaK

Preparation: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Line a roasting pan large enough to fit all the forms in, with a double thickness of paper towels. Put eight custard or ramekin forms into the pan. Fill the teakettle with water and bring to boil then turn off the heat.

Put the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Bring 1/2 cup of cream to a boil, then add the New Mexico chiles. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to steep for about 30 minutes. Strain the mixture, then return to the saucepan and gently bring to a boil. When the cream is just at a boil pour over the chocolate and wait for 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, very gently stir the cream and chocolate. Start stirring at the center, widening the concentric circles until the ganache is smooth. Set aside.

Mix the remaining cream and milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg, egg yolks, Kashmiri chili powder, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Keep whisking until the mixture turns pale and thickens. Still whisking drizzle in spoonfuls of the hot liquid to temper the eggs. This will warm the eggs gently so that they do not curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remaining liquid.

Finally, slowly whisk the egg mixture into the ganache, stirring gently to incorporate.

Skim the foam off the top of the custard with a spoon, then pour the custard into the prepared cups or forms.

Pour enough hot water from the teakettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Cover the top of the pan snugly with aluminum foil, poke two holes in opposite corners and carefully slide the pan into the pan.

Bake the custards for 30-40 minutes, or until the tops darken and the custards jiggle a little in the center. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and place on the cooling rack. Allow the custards to rest in their warm bath for 10 minutes, then peel off the foil. Transfer the individual forms from the water to the cooling rack. Once they reach room temperature, refrigerate until cooled through, preferably overnight.

Sprinkle the tops of the custards with some grated coconut and decorate with fresh raspberries.


Choc Chile Pots Creme (06) by MeetaK

While the New Mexico chiles add an earthy fiery flavoring, the Kashmiri chili powder lends it mild and fruity aromas to the dessert. It's just a hint one tastes of the chili. First the smooth, rich chocolate creaminess blew us away, then we tasted the slight pungency of the chili. What an incredible experience! The raspberries complemented the flavors perfectly, rounding the dessert with their tart and fruity goodness.

Sugar High Friday is being hosted over at La Petit Boulangette with the theme Asian Sweet Invasion. I'd like to heat up the sweet event with this invasion.

You might enjoy these chocolate desserts to:

Chocolate and Caramel Tart
Chocolate Chip Crumble
Chocolate Mountains
Mousse au Chocolat

My latest article on FoodieView focuses on Springtime Fruit Ideas. Check it out for a few great fruity creations!

All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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  1. I find the chilli really enhances the flacour of the chocolate!!! Like black pepper and strawberries, these look fantastic and I'm beginning to think I need to invest in a Dorie book!!!!

  2. Gorgeous pots de creme, Meeta! Will definitely have to try this combo out. :)

  3. After reading and then seeing Chocolat, I knew I had to try the chili-chocolate combination and have tried it every time I stumble across it but...I haven't tried to make something myself yet! This is moving to the top of my list...looks so delicious!

  4. gorgeous photos as always. Being a chocolate lover, I am ashamed that I haven't tried the chocolate + chilli yet. This recipe is going on the top of my "to-make-list"!

  5. Oh you have me on this one..One of my favorite combos!

  6. Those look so good! Great photos! I too like the chocolate and chili combination.

  7. I've been meaning to try this from Dorie's book, gosh you've pushed me further...looks fabulous!

  8. I made chocolate pots this weekend, in hind site I should have made a few with chili for the adults....thanks for the idea, I will remember next time..

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I've tried and blogged about chocolate chili muffins, but chocolate chile pots de creme sounds even more adventurous :)

  11. I'm on my third Dorie Perfect Party Cake! (Many birthday parties this month)This sounds like a fantastic way to use up the egg yolks!

    P.S. stunning photos!

  12. Score to you Meeta. I'm guilty with the chocolate bar and I would be with these Chocolate Chile Pots De Crème".
    Gorgeous photos with those raspberries: great match visually and on the taste buds!

  13. Delicious pots de cream.
    Pictures are beautiful, as usual :-)

  14. Meeta, These look so rich and creamy!

  15. Meeta, these are mouthwatering!
    I had never tried chili and chocolate together either, but then I tried a Dagoba bar and fell in love with it. :)

  16. an "explosive blend of flavors," you say?? sounds like a winner to me!!

  17. how naughty is that? love this recipe.

  18. I love chocolate and chilis. I made some killer truffles at chistmas with this combo. Add a little cinnamon and I'm in.

  19. Yum-yum! I just got a bar dark chocolate with chili...you're inspiring me!

  20. Oooh, lovely! I adore chocolate chilli recipes, but my other half, who loves both chocolate and chilli really hates it when I give him something that mixes the two up.

    My all time favourite in this area is hot chocolate infused with spices and fresh chilli

  21. I have wanted to try this flavor combo for too long now, so I was very excited as soon as I saw the title. This looks amazing and pots de creme seems like a fantastic way to try it! Why must you live so far away? :-P

  22. Can you believe that I grew up in New Mexico, yet I've never tried the chocolate/chili combination? I really need to, as this sounds amazing!

  23. I love the chocolate chile combination. I learned to make mole in Mexico, and since then have made cookies and brownies with chile in them, too. Your little pots de creme look lovely!

  24. I've never tried the choc/chili combo, though I'm sure I'd love (or at least be interested in) it! I'm sure this recipe would be a good intro!

  25. I love this combo Meeta! I make a spicy chocolate cookie but unfortunately not everyone is as adventurous and willing to try chili with chocolate.

  26. This looks amazing! I love that combination of flavors, and unfortunately I have yet to make anything from that book. Sad, isn't it? These look like an awesome place to start!

  27. I love the combo. I've never had pots de creme, and you make me want to start to.

  28. Such a great combination and lovely recipe! Thanks for posting.


  29. I would dig right in as long as I didn't know it had chilli!!:) but now I'm even more intrigued to try it...I have read about this before but boy, you are courageous to try it out girl!:)

  30. My first chocolate-chile combo was a chile infused chocolate cake. It was so amazing, Jeff and I split a second piece, and we never get seconds on desserts. So I'll have to try these pots de creme, won't I? They are oh-so-lovely.

  31. I love chocolate and chilis. My favourite local chocolatrie does a red pepper jelly bonbon I simply adore.


  32. Chilli... good.
    Chocolate... good.
    Chilli chocolate... Great.
    Chilli chocolate pots? Excellent!

  33. I have been meaning to make these for such a long time...and I really like the idea of chillies in there! Yes, Excellent!

  34. this is a great way to use choco and chile! lovely! lovely! lovely! great pics too!


  35. You know what I am going to say: "yum!" and "where is mine?"
    Lovely concoctions of flavors!

  36. I'm a huge chili fan and I plan on making this! I can't believe I have never tried chocolate and chili together. Just printed off the recipe.

  37. Hi,

    Just a short note that you have been awarded with "E for Excellent" Award :)


    Ciao, Margot

  38. Oh there are so many of us who have not tried this combo yet. This is a great place to start. It's amazing in it's flavors and perfect to experiment with. Let me know how you liked it!

    margot!! thanks for that!

  39. these look and sound amazing... i love chilli in all shapes and formats and am a big mole fan, too. but same as you, i've not combined these flavours at home until just now. mmmh!

  40. Meeta, This looks absolutely amazing! Eager to taste the combination of sweet and savory!

  41. Tonight i made this recipe... I thought it was quite rich and a little bit too heavy on the egg yolk. If I do this again, I'm thinking of reducing to 4 yolks instead of 5....but then again, maybe that is how pot de creme is supposed to be....

  42. ANON - it is supposed to be fairly rich, but the great thing about cooking is you can experiment according to your likings. So yes- by all means do try using one less yolk. Thanks for trying this out!


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