Pot de crème

Sitting to cook has always been considered a cardinal sin in our family household. I will never forget the disgraced look on my grandmother’s face when she beheld her young daughter-in-law sitting to peel and chop vegetables, and how, many times this same daughter-in-law would laughingly recount the way she was scalded by a finicky old matron.


Intuitively, I think I’ve always understood my grandmother. Inventive, loving cooking does rely on a great deal of eager promptness that can only be achieved while on one’s feet.
And I think any good cook would agree that the fabulous moment of eureka!DSC_0092 almost always comes from scurried foraging in the kitchen. I have always held to the rule. That was until I decided to make Pot de crème. There’s the melting of the chocolate, the rasping of vanilla pods, imbuing of silken cream… It’s really quite a sexy business. I simply had to sit. And were it not for social convention, I think I might be tempted to make these fine chocolate custards in bed.

The recipe is quite simple and it is the perfect dessert for when you are entertaining. It takes about 25 minutes to make, 1 hour to chill  and is made with 3 simple ingredients. These were prepared just before the guests arrive and chilled during the feast. I served mine with fresh raspberries as they are in season, but you can top with coconut cream, cold cream or fine orange zest.


  • 250ml Fresh cream
  • 200ml Dark chocolate (preferably one made with cocoa mass instead of vegetable oil)
  • 1 Vanilla pod or 1/2t Vanilla Extract


Whip the fresh cream to a soft, almost runny state. If the cream is too firm you’ll end up with a kind of chocolate crumble. Refrigerate.

Chop chocolate roughly, and place in a stainless steel bowl above a simmering pot of water. Try not to stir too much.

Once chocolate has melted add about 3 teaspoons of water. Stir quickly. The water you have just boiled should do.

Add whipped cream to melted chocolate in 2 stages and whisk briskly. Remember the cream is cool and you do not want the chocolate to set, so you must act quickly. Add vanilla extract.

Pour mixture into little teacups or a small ramekin. Refrigerate for 40minutes- hour.






Myles Heneke

Editor and Food Stylist

Food has always been my weakness, and by food I mean desserts and the feast of a special occasion. Of course this is no way to live (God only blessed Nigella with the wherewithal), but I do believe that there is a way to enjoy all kinds of food and still be healthy without being the least puritanical. For me it's simple. Use only the best quality ingredients (local, natural and sustainable) and decide what constitutes 'everyday eating' and what constitutes 'eating for an occasion'.

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