French crème brûlée is adored around the world. Who doesn't love tapping the glass-like sugar topping and smashing through to the silky, creamy custard underneath? This chocolate variation is a lovely twist on the classic dish. Kids and adults alike will love it just the same and you can switch out the milk chocolate for dark or white as you please.
Make the brûlée in advance to allow plenty of time for it to cool down and set before finishing with the sugar topping. You can even make it a day in advance for a quick dessert.
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 300 F.
Add the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar to a large mixing bowl. Whisk together. Add the chocolate and stir again. Set aside.
Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan. Add the split vanilla pod and bring to a very gentle simmer. Do not boil as you risk curdling the cream. Once steaming hot, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 5 minutes.
Remove the vanilla pod from the cream. Very slowly pour the warm cream mixture over the egg mixture, gently whisking the whole time. Mix constantly, but avoid beating the mixture as this will create too many bubbles. Keep stirring until the chocolate has melted and the sugar dissolves. Strain through a fine sieve into a large jug.
Place 8 individual 3 x 2-inch ramekins in a roasting pan. Put the pan on the extended oven rack. Pour equal amounts of the chocolate cream mixture into each ramekin. Add hot water to the roasting pan, filling until halfway up the ramekins to create a water bath (bain-marie).
Bake for 50 minutes until the custards set, but are still slightly wobbly.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully remove the ramekins from the water. Leave them to cool until room temperature, then pop into the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours to cool completely.
When ready to serve, use the remaining sugar to sprinkle a thin layer of sugar evenly over the surface of a custard. Using a culinary torch on medium flame, melt the sugar while continually moving and not holding the flame in one place for too long; the sugar should darken and bubble but not burn. Repeat with all the ramekins. Stick them into the refrigerator to harden for a few minutes—this will happen quickly.
Serve immediately with your favorite garnish.
Glass Bakeware Warning
Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.
- If you do not have a blow torch, place the sugared ramekins on a baking sheet and toast under a hot broiler.
One of the exciting aspects of this classic dish is that it partners so well with additional flavors and textures.
- Add a little orange extract and/or serve with orange segments for a chocolate-orange dessert.
- Try a little peppermint extract and a mint sprig for a minty treat.
- Heat things up with a sprinkling of chile flakes.
- Top with a sprinkle of Kosher or sea salt flakes for balanced flavor.