Chocolate custard is a delicious creamy pudding that can be chilling in your fridge in 30 min tops! In every spoonful, you get silky smooth dark chocolate custard and a light and airy vanilla-flavored whipped cream. What a match made in heaven!
Making a custard can seem intimidating but no worries, if you stay close to your stove nothing can go wrong. Chocolate custard is basically a flavored pastry cream that has been thickened with fewer egg yolks and less cornflour. Custards are my favorite things to bake by far! I love seeing how they magically transform in the pan from a milky mixture to a shiny and thick pudding. It’s such a great unforgettable moment when you get it just right for the first time.
GREAT MAKE-AHEAD DESSERT
Making chocolate custard is relatively quick but definitely easy! As long as you keep an eye on the chocolate melting and the milk heating at the beginning of the recipe you’ll be off to a great start. Mixing the ingredients together afterward might be what takes the longest time, but we’re talking about 7 min tops. Then you need to keep stirring the chocolate custard to make sure that it cooks slowly (you don’t want the eggs to scramble) and evenly (you don’t want lumps right?).
Once the custard has thickened nicely and can coat the back of a spoon, the only thing left to do is to pour it into small pots/ramekins and let it set in the fridge. A piece of cake! If I have to be honest, my only ‘problem’ with this recipe is the number of dishes left to do but it’s obviously more than manageable as we’re not making a 3-course meal here.
SWEETEN TO TASTE
I don’t put sugar in my custard because I like my chocolate-based desserts to be real chocolatey. Not bitter, but definitely more chocolatey than sweet. I usually find that sugar neutralizes the flavor of chocolate instead of enhancing it. I used chocolate with a 65% cacao content that does contain sugar. If you’re worried it won’t be sweet enough for you, you should add ¼ cup of caster sugar into the saucepan when you heat the milk and cream. If you’re making chocolate custard for children then maybe you should swap the bittersweet/semisweet chocolate for milk chocolate.
For the chocolate custard to be creamier then use ¾ cup + 1 tbsp milk and the same amount of cream. And if you really want it to be indulgent then forget about the milk and make your custard with cream only (1⅔ cup). Know that with a higher cream ratio, the custard will become more akin to a mousse than a pudding though.
STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM FTW
You can top your pots of chocolate custard with store-bought whipped cream of course to save time and hassle. Using a whipped cream stabilizer powder isn’t mandatory as you can totally make a good batch of whipped cream without it. Especially if your cream, mixing bowl and whisk are cold. However, I wouldn’t advise making and piping the whipped cream in advance if it’s not stabilized as it will deflate and lose its light consistency.
Stabilized whipped cream will keep its shape for 24h in the fridge. It’s perfect if you’re planning to serve your chocolate custard to guests and don’t want to keep them waiting while you make the whipped cream. Making whipped cream in France is even harder because it’s impossible to find a whipping cream that contains more than 30% milkfat. So now that I’ve tried whipped cream stabilizer powder, there’s no going back for me! I feel so much more confident now when I make whipped cream (or crème chantilly) because I know that it will turn out perfect e-ve-ry time and I can make it in advance.
➝ Where can I buy whipped cream stabilizer powder? In France it’s sold in the baking aisle near the aromas and nuts. The powder is also available online through stores specialized in baking or on amazon.
A CHILDHOOD FAVORITE
Nothing takes me back to my childhood like chocolate custard! In France we are big on ‘creamy desserts’. In the refrigerated dairy section of any supermarket you’ll find dozens and dozens of puddings (crème dessert), flavored yogurts and classic desserts (rice pudding, chocolate mousse, floating island, crème brûlée, clafoutis…). My favorite has always been the chocolat liégeois, a chocolate custard topped with airy whipped cream and I really wanted to recreate it! Christmassy mood makes me revisit happy childhood memories so chocolate custard has been on my mind a lot lately.
Ah, the ritual of tearing off the gold-colored paper cap in anticipation of savoring your pudding! I kept getting paper cuts from rushing this critical step. My parents weren’t big on baking so shop-bought puddings were the only desserts my sister and I would have on a weekly basis or if someone was staying over. And what a treat it was! Chocolate custard is still so comforting to me but I’m certainly glad to have learned how to make it myself. And honestly homemade chocolat liégeois is far superior to anything you could pick up in a shop.
Are you looking for other homey French desserts? Here are some of my favorites:Print
Nothing can replace good old-fashioned chocolate custard when it comes to nostalgic desserts! Savor silky smooth chocolate custard and airy vanilla-flavored whipped cream with every spoonful.
For the chocolate custard:
- 150g semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped (5 oz)
- 300ml whole milk (1 ¼ cup)
- 100ml heavy cream (⅓ cup + 1 tbsp)
- 3 egg yolks
- 15g cornflour (2 tbsp)
For the whipped cream (crème chantilly):
- 160ml cold cream, fridge-cold (⅔ cup)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- optional: 5g whipped cream stabilizer powder (dr. oetkler,…) (1 tsp, heaped)
For the chocolate custard:
- First, melt the chocolate over a bain-marie (water bath). To do this fill a saucepan with 5cm (2 in) of water and place over low-medium heat. Place the chopped chocolate into a smaller saucepan. Place this pan on top of the first pan.
- Melt the chocolate, stirring with a spatula from time to time. Take the pan off the heat as soon as the chocolate is smooth and has completely melted. Set the pan aside and let the chocolate cool down to room temperature.
- Pour the milk and cream into a heavy-based saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to just below a boil, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, then take off the heat.
- In a mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks and cornflour together for 1min30. Check the temperature of the chocolate and milk with a thermometer (or dip a finger) to make sure they have cooled down to around 43°C (110°F). If they are too warm, the egg yolks will cook and scramble.
- Incorporate half of the melted chocolate, followed by half of the milk mixture. Mix until fully incorporated then repeat with the other half of the chocolate and then the remaining milk. I find it easier to use a spatula and an up and down motion.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir constantly with the whisk, scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir. If it gets too hot, the custard will curdle.
- Cook and stir until the chocolate custard has thickened nicely, about 6 min. The custard should be glossy, coat the back of a spoon and be almost as thick as pastry cream.
- Tip the chocolate custard into 3 ramekins or small serving bowls with a 200ml capacity. If you want to prevent a skin from forming on top of the custards, cover them with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the custards.
- Let the chocolate custards stand until they reach room temperature then place them in the refrigerator for at least 4h.
For the whipped cream (crème chantilly):
- Place the whisk and the mixing bowl in which you will whip the cream for 15 min in the freezer.
- Take out the whisk and bowl from the freezer and the cream from the fridge. Whip the cream with a hand mixer on medium speed until you reach the soft peaks stage.
- Add the extract, sugar and stabilizer (if using). Increase the speed and mix until everything is incorporated and the cream thickens. Lift up the beaters of your hand mixer, the peaks should be stiff and stand straight up.
- Taste and adjust the sweetness according to your preferences.
- Spoon the cream on top of custards. For a neater result; put the whipped cream into a piping bag with your preferred star-shaped nozzle and twist the bag. Pipe away and serve immediately.
The chocolate custard will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you used stabilizer powder then the whipped cream will hold its shape for hours in the fridge and you can finish making the whole dessert in advance. Otherwise, I would advise you to make the whipped cream just before serving for the best results.
- Serving Size: 1 pot
- Calories: 708
- Fat: 54.9g
Keywords: chocolate pudding, liegeois chocolate, make-ahead dessert