Bay-Infused Chocolate Pot de Crème / A basic-but-delicious chocolate pot de crème (aka chocolate pudding) made even more special by infusing it with fresh bay leaves.

Bay-Infused Chocolate Pot de Crème

Print Recipe

Adapted from a recipe by Nicole Plue, a brilliant, James Beard Award-winning pastry chef I had the good fortune to work with for a bit

This is a basic-but-delicious chocolate pot de crème (aka chocolate pudding) made even more special by infusing it with fresh bay leaves. The bay adds slightly lemony, slightly eucalyptus-y notes, along with deepening the overall chocolate experience. You can find fresh bay—like most herbs, the fresh version is way more flavorful than the dried—at many supermarkets and natural foods stores where you find other fresh herbs. Or get them super-fresh by picking them from a bay laurel tree (but be sure it’s a European type of bay because California bay laurel leaves can have a harsh, turpentine-y taste).

But don’t stop there. You can infuse your pot de crème with other flavors, too—try chopped fresh rosemary or lemon verbena leaves, a few thick shaves of orange or lemon zest, or a few bags of your favorite tea. See this post for more about easily enhancing your cooking with infusions.

And all that said, you can totally omit the bay or other flavorings—you’ll still have an amazingly lush and indulgent chocolate pudding. Enjoy it “plain” or with a drizzle of good olive oil.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 fresh bay leaves (see headnote)
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (optional) (see note)
  • 6 ounces good quality 60 to 65% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • About 1/2 cup lightly sweetened whipped cream (made from 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream)

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cream, milk, and bay leaves. Heat until the mixture just begins to bubble at the edges. Remove from the heat and set aside to steep for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar; set aside. If using the gelatin, put 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top; set aside. Put the chocolate in a large bowl and arrange a fine-mesh strainer on top; set aside.

About 1/3 at a time, add the cream mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking after each addition. When the two are fully combined, return the entire mixture to the saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan almost constantly, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the gelatin mixture, if using.

Pour about half of the custard through the strainer into the bowl with the chocolate. Let it sit 1 to 2 minutes, then stir to combine. Slowly add the remaining custard, pouring it through the strainer, then gently stirring until smooth.

Pour the custard into 4-ounce ramekins or other serving dishes or glasses and refrigerate until set, at least two hours. Serve garnished with the whipped cream.

NOTE Unflavored gelatin gives the pot de cremes a little better pudding-y texture. But it’s not a big difference, so if you don’t have it or would rather not use it, just omit it.

Looking for something special?