For Your Valentine: Simple Chocolate Custard

Chocolate Custard

Valentine’s Day approaches, and I’m always reminded of the time, 8 years ago, when my husband and I hopped on a plane, and eloped.  And how, every day since that day, I’ve fallen more and more in love with him.  I can’t help it.

I try to make the day special – as I’ve a soft spot for all holidays.  Now that our little boy is older, we make it inclusive – a celebration of love and kindness, with special things to eat.  I plan to order oysters from our favorite supplier, which is always a favorite around here, and I plan to make this Simple Chocolate Custard.

Despite all the sweet things and treats I post to Nourished Kitchen, we rarely indulge in sweets except for special occasions.  Instead, we rely on the bounty of sweets nature provides: strawberries in spring, plums in summer, pears in autumn, and oranges in winter.  Nevertheless, occasionally, we want for something richer – something decadent.

Making Chocolate Custards

My little boy wanted chocolate pudding, and I spent a fair amount of time scouring the web for a chocolate pudding made without cornstarch, as I’m not much of a fan of that chalky powder.  Sure, arrowroot might work and usually does make a fine substitute for cornstarch, but when put into pudding – at least my puddings – it ends up thick, viscous and slimy.

Instead, I settled on custard.  Following my model for Honey Custard, I settled on this version for a Simple Chocolate Custard that relies on only a handful of ingredients: cream and eggs, unrefined cane sugar, dark chocolate and vanilla bean powder.  You throw it together in a double boiler over simmering water, stir it well, and then you have a deliciously rich chocolate custard.

Simple Chocolate Custard

Simple Chocolate Custard


  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (find it here)
  • 1/4 cup whole, unrefined cane sugar (find it here)
  • 1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 ounces 85% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (find it here)
  • whipped cream, to serve


  1. Set your double boiler (find one here) atop a saucepan half-ful of simmering water. Pour in the cream and warm it for 3 or 4 minutes, then whisk in the vanilla bean powder, sugar and salt. Continue whisking until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Spoon a bit of hot cream into the egg yolks to temper them, then pour the eggs into the double boiler, stirring continuously for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped chocolate and continue stirring until it melts, combining with the cream and eggs and thickening enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  3. Spoon the custard into individual ramekins, cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from forming a skin, and refrigerate it or serve it right away with whipped cream.

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What people are saying

    • Edie says

      If anyone reading this now wonders, yes, honey worked. I only used two TBS, since there’s some sugar/sweeteness in the chocolate already, and to keep moisture down. I also made mine with an extra egg yolk.

    • says

      I used vanilla bean (scraped seeds out and used those) and it came out great. Only caution with vanilla extract, IMO, is the extra liquid. This was on the verge of too soft as it was for us.

      • rr says

        This won’t work with coconut or non-dairy milks. Real dairy milk works differently in recipes. You’d have to add a starch – corn, potato, tapioca,etc. – to make it thicken. I’ve been dairy free for years. I’ve tried subbing other milks in recipes like this and it won’t work.

  1. Avneet says

    Thank you! I’m vegetarian and intolerant to corn products, and haven’t been able to find a pudding recipe without either. Must try immediately!

  2. Carl Mills says

    If I use Xylotol, instead of the “unrefined cane sugar”, does anyone know:
    (1) Will it ‘work’?;
    (2) How much xylotol should I substitute?

    Thank You,
    C. Mills

  3. says

    Ummm, have I told you how much I love you lately? As much as I love the idea of hand crafting chocolates or something special this week, the reality is that our schedule is a bit crazy and it’s just not gonna happen. I’m thinking I’ll make this for the hubs and the caffeine-free honey custard for my littles. Thank you, Jenny!

  4. Spry guys says

    A friend of mine gave me a delicious recipe for chocolate mousse using… Avocados!
    4 Avocados
    1 cup maple syrup
    1/2 cup cocoa powder
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 cup water
    Blend in a food processor! That’s it! Yummy delicious!
    We use all organic ingredients.

  5. Elaine says

    Happy Anniversary!! Your precious comment about falling more and more in love with your husband made my eyes well up with tears it was so sweet. I feel the same way about my hubby and we’ve been married 28 years! Enjoy your delicious custard and here’s wishing you many, many more years of health and happiness!

  6. says

    Yum-o! I would love to make this, but cannot find a good source for raw cream in my area. Jenny, do you have any suggestions for substitute ingredients for unpasteurized cream? Coconut cream perhaps?

      • Meredith says

        OK, so, if you think it’s done and it’s still soupy, it’s not done. It’s supposed to be custard, I think, when it’s done. Super, yummy though – after chilling, we just ate it, soupy and all :)

  7. Amy says

    Made this tonight for Valentine’s Day and it was divine! I used a splash of vanilla extract instead of powder, palm sugar and used heavy whipping cream. Layered it with whipped cream and strawberries in champagne flutes. It was a little liquidy at first but set really well in the fridge. YUM!

  8. Candace says

    Wow!! This was amazing!! I used 55% dark organic cacao instead as I’m still aquiring a taste for the darker :). New to your site and absolutely loving it!!

  9. Diane says

    I’m making this with mint extract instead of vanilla…..smells divine so far!!! Special dessert for the residents’ graduation luncheon, complete with fresh berries and freshly whipped cream!

  10. ElleJ says

    I made this several months ago and didn’t temper the eggs properly and it turned out a little crystallized, I guess is how I would describe it. I was wondering if using vanilla extract versus powder caused it to ‘seize’??
    However, it was delicious! I am going to try my hand at it again and am wondering if I can use coconut palm sugar instead?

  11. Hannah says

    Delicious! I made this for a chocolate pie filling. I used vanilla extract because I did not have the vanilla bean powder and so used about 1tbsp less cream (I was afraid the extra liquid would prevent it setting properly, not sure if that was a legitimate concern or not). I also used extra large egg yolks. NO trouble with it setting up nicely to a beautiful velvety consistency. I made two batches to fill a 9″ pie shell – absolute heaven! This is incredible on its own as a simple custard, but also wonderful as a pie filling!

  12. Sarah says

    I have a very similar recipe for chocolate mousse that is to die for. So Good! I will have to try this custard too

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