Recipe and Photo By Lisa Riznikove

Adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz

It's elegant, it's sophisticated and a little exotic with dark chocolate, chili and sea salt, but it's also incredibly easy to make! One of my favorite deserts has always been Pot du Creme but until I discovered this genius recipe from David Lebovitz I never made it. Custards can be so finicky, and most of the recipes are needlessly complicated. This recipe is so easy I could make them every night...which just might be my downfall. This twist on his original recipe adds the subtle kick of Piment d'Espelette and sea salt which pair amazingly with dark chocolate. 

David's recipe calls for bitter sweet chocolate and after much experimentation I can tell you that the type of chocolate is very important. I've tried this with the more readily available semi-sweet and also dark chocolates with various degrees of cocoa from 60-85%. The problem with all of them is that although they taste incredible, the texture ends up more dense. When I first had this in a lovely French restaurant it was the texture of a thick pudding. Creamy and silky with just the right amount of sweetness. To get that texture the ratio of chocolate, fat and milk needs to be just right. Normally we try and stick small batch but in this case the Giardelli 60% bitter sweet chocolate you'll find in the grocery store is the perfect choice. Save the good stuff like Dick Taylor's small batch single origin to make into curls to place on top.


8 ounces (225g) 60% bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

1 3/4 cups (430ml) heavy cream

1/2 cup (125ml) whole milk

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

6 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon Piment d’Ville Original + extra to sprinkle on whipped cream

Flake Sea Salt

Whipped Cream

Makes 6


1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC).

2. Heat the cream, milk, and salt in a small saucepan. When it begins to simmer, remove it from the heat and pour it into a large measuring cup, bowl or pitcher. Whisk in the chocolate and stir till smooth.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then whisk in the sugar, cinnamon and Piment d’Ville. Gradually add the eggs to the melted chocolate mixture while whisking until well-blended.

4. Place 6 4 oz. ramekins or custard cups in a roasting pan or baking dish. Divide the custards amongst the ramekins. Add hot water to the baking dish until it reaches halfway up the outside of the ramekins. Cover with foil. 

5. Bake until the custards are set around the edges but still slightly soft and jiggly when you nudge them, about 30 to 35 minutes, but check them before as ovens can vary. 

6. As soon as the custards are cool enough to handle, remove them from the hot water bath and place them on a cooling rack.

7. Top with freshly made whipped cream and sprinkle with Piment d’Ville and Pacific Flake Sea Salt. 

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