This decadently rich chocolate custard is so easy to make and contains only five ingredients. With a little stirring, you'll have a custard with an utterly silky texture and rich, deep chocolate flavor.
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What is it?
Chocolate custard is a simple dessert made by combining cream, sugar, egg yolks, and dark chocolate together until thickened. It's a simple dessert that's easy to make at home using only a handful of ingredients.
Why this recipe works
- It comes together in 10 minutes on the stove. You'll mix and stir, but that's about it. There's no baking, so it's super-easy to make.
- The ingredients are simple and straightforward. You should be able to find everything you need at your local grocery store.
- The custard tastes delicious with a resonant, deep chocolate flavor touched with vanilla.
- It's sophisticated enough for a dinner party for adults while also being approachable for children. It's a like a grown-up chocolate pudding.
The ingredients are fairly simple. They include chocolate, cream, a sweetener, egg yolks, and vanilla. Many of the ingredients are easy to adjust, depending on your preferences.
- Dark chocolate is the foundation of this custard recipe. You can also swap in milk chocolate for a sweeter version. Baking chocolate works well for an even richer, slightly bitter custard.
- Heavy cream (or whipping cream) gives the custard its body and creaminess. For this recipe, we've used fresh, grass-fed cream. It lends richness and body to the custard. Store-bought or homemade coconut milk can stand in for the cream.
- Unrefined cane sugar, such as Sucanat or Rapadura, gives the custard its sweetness. Minimally processed, unrefined sugars have a more complex flavor than white sugar and contain more minerals.
- Egg yolks lend a silkiness to the custard and also help the custard to set properly.
- Flavorings include vanilla extract. However, you can use other extracts or liqueurs instead of vanilla. Chocolate extract works well, as do almond and orange extracts. Bourbon, rum, kirsch, framboise, and crème de cacao also have a beautiful flavor that partners well with dark chocolate.
How to Make Chocolate Custard
Unlike other custards, this recipe requires no baking. Instead, you stir all the ingredients in a double boiler until uniformly combined and thickened. Here are the key steps you'll need to follow.
- Warm the cream, sugar, and vanilla (or other flavorings) in a double boiler or a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
- Temper the egg yolks Stir a spoonful of hot cream into the egg yolks, and then slowly pour the egg mixture into the milk. This step prevents the eggs from curdling.
- Add the chocolate, stirring constantly, until it melts completely.
- Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any lumps or curdled bits of egg.
- Refrigerate the custard until perfectly set. It takes about an hour.
- Use a double boiler. A double boiler is a saucepan fitted with a bowl or special pot. It allows you to heat foods gently. It's great when you want to heat recipes that are likely to curdle or seize, such as chocolate, cream, and eggs.
- If you don't have a double boiler, set a saucepan on the stove and fill it with an inch or two of water. Then, top it with a heat-safe bowl that fits securely over the saucepan. Bring the water to a boil, and add your ingredients.
- Temper the eggs. Add a spoonful of cream to the egg yolks, stir, and then return the cream and egg yolk mixture back to the saucepan. This step prevents the eggs from curdling.
- Strain the custard to prevent any lumps or curdled bits from spoiling what should be a smooth, silky texture.
- Refrigerate the custard for an hour or two before serving (or even overnight). Chilling can improve the texture and help it to set properly.
Chocolate custard tastes delicious with fresh whipped cream and toasted nuts. You can flavor the cream with various extracts, but I recommend avoiding additional sweeteners as the custard is sweet enough.
It's delicious when you serve it cold straight from the fridge. But, consider letting it warm to room temperature before serving. The slight warmth allows the flavors of the chocolate to bloom.
Make it dairy-free by substituting full-fat coconut milk for heavy cream.
For a lighter version swap whole milk for all or part of the heavy cream. The custard will have a thinner texture and taste less rich but still be delicious.
For a richer chocolate flavor, substitute unsweetened baking chocolate for dark chocolate. And swap in chocolate extract or crème de cacao for the vanilla extract.
Orange pairs well with chocolate. You can omit the vanilla extract and use an orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Grand Mariner instead of the vanilla. Consider adding a tablespoon of finely grated orange zest to the custard.
For a romantic twist, add a spoonful of store-bought or homemade rose water. Rose has a floral, slightly bitter flavor that works well with chocolate.
The same spices that make this Chai Custard so delicious also partner well with chocolate. Cardamom and cinnamon are delicious additions to this recipe.
Cover the custards in plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, and store them in tightly sealed containers in the fridge for up to 5 days.
No. While ice cream is essentially frozen custard, it's churned. Freezing a stirred custard, like this recipe, may result in separation and an unpleasant texture.
No. Egg yolks are essential in creating a smooth, silky texture. There is no reasonable substitute for them in this recipe.
No. The saturated fats in the chocolate and the egg yolks help it to set properly without baking.
This recipe depends on a dry sweetener, such as minimally processed cane sugar. You can also use maple sugar and coconut sugar.
No. The cocoa butter naturally found in dark chocolate helps the custard to set properly.