Peppery Chocolate Pot de Crème

 Peppery Chocolate Pot de Crème

In the living room a baby cries out; while slightly less angry, but surely just as passionate, pots of velvety chocolate smush demand to be noticed at the table.  A first lingering bite befuddle the barometers of taste; they are left to grasp mixed messages fluttering across their allegedly cultivated tongues.  

“Did I just…?”

Another question is asked.  

“Is that…?”  

It seems each pot has realized the best response to indulgent sin is not always confession, but more sin.  The sin of omission.   So I will say nothing as well and let them all wonder.  

“Isn’t that always the way?”, I think, but this time to myself. 

Light itself looks sarcastic when caught falling onto the frothy mix of milky sweet puffery and chocolate bits which obfuscate the copious chocolate cauldron below it.  A lip smacks provoking an awkward  moment where we are left to ponder just what, if anything, is animating us.  

Perhaps it is not a libidinous palate but simply a tumescent hunger over-thinking the situation?  Was that a wink?

Heat? Sweet? Or was it something else entirely? 

If only tongues, men in love, and food bloggers had better vocabularies we could have it all described for us in pulchritudinous prose.  Nouns and adjectives can fight amongst themselves to be the subjects.  They can explain for us what it all means when a secret is revealed and a mystery is replaced with fact.  

“Of course!” But will it change anything?  Yes and no, certainly. It always does, sometimes.       

Initial desire is sated and gentility can restored again.  Now even the baby giggles and spoons once again can sink gently into their rich creamy vessels; lifting payloads northward to signal the tongues that they are ready to play once again. Over and over.  

Coffee begs to be served. 

Peppery Chocolate Pot de Crème

Ahem.  I’d better stop there.


Peppery Chocolate Pot de CrèmeWhile the rest of you have been busy salting your food with varying grain coarseness and flakiness for some added  topical relevance,  I have been having a field day with the other shaker on the table, black pepper.  Last fall I unexpectedly tossed some crushed black pepper into a cherry crisp  and it rocked my culinary world.  I didn’t add a ton mind you, but just enough to create a mild and somewhat mysterious heat to kick in.  My goal was to create interest without being obnoxious.  A trait I would wish for both salt and potential suitors to strive for these days.

Nevertheless, this decadent and rich chocolate dessert has been begging for equal treatment ever since that fateful day. And as it turns out, what better time to add a little heat to chocolate than at Valentine’s Day?  Think about it: if chocolate is to equal love, then what is love without a little heat to keep you warm?


Peppery Chocolate Pot de Crème

And, as if these pots aren’t perfect enough for entertaining on love’s special day you should also know that you can make them the night before.  Or two.

Peppery Chocolate Pot de Crème

Peppery Chocolate Pot de Crème Peppery Chocolate Pot de Crème

Peppery Chocolate Pot de Crème Peppery Chocolate Pot de Crème


Peppery Chocolate Pot de Crème

Peppery Chocolate Pot de Crème

This is what you will need:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, 70%, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • one scant dash of cayenne pepper

This is how you make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300° F and line a large roasting pan with two layers of paper towels.
  2. Put pots de crème pots in the pan and remove lids.
  3. Bring a medium saucepan of water for a ban marie to a boil.
  4. Once the water comes to a boil, remove from the heat and cover.
  5. Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.
  6. Bring ½ cup of the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan.
  7. Once the cream reaches a boil, pour it over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute.
  8. Stir with a rubber spatula, starting in the center of the bowl and working outward in a circular motion, until the ganache is smooth; set aside.
  9. Combine the remaining heavy cream and the whole milk in the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  10. Add peppercorns, remove from heat, and let steep for 15 minutes.
  11. Strain through a fine sieve into another saucepan and bring back to a boil.
  12. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, sugar, and salt until slightly thickened and pale yellow in color.
  13. Drizzle in a small amount of the hot cream-milk mixture, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Pour in the remainder of the hot liquid, still whisking constantly, until completely incorporated. Finally, gently whisk the egg mixture back into the ganache until incorporated.
  14. Spoon any skin that has formed off the top of the custard and divide evenly between the prepared cups.
  15. Pour some of the previously set aside hot water into the baking dish around the custard cups so that it reaches about halfway up the sides of the cups.
  16. Put Pot de Creme lids on the little pots. If you are using ramekins or other pots you can cover the top of the pan tightly with foil or plastic wrap, poking two holes in opposite corners. Very carefully slide the pan into the oven.
  17. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until the custard jiggles only a bit in the center when tapped or lightly shaken.
  18. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and transfer it to a cooling rack.
  19. Allow the custards to rest in their warm water bath for 10 minutes, then remove the lids, foil, or wrap and very carefully transfer the cups from the water to the cooling rack.
  20. Once they come to room temperature, return the lids or cover individually with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  21. Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
Peppery Chocolate Pot de Crème

About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed reading this.

    Your initial prose had the desired effect– it nearly made me retch. The recipe, however makes my mouth water. And I’m not huge chocolate dessert fan.

    Well done,


  2. Itching fingers long to tip tap a comment but cannot – what divine utterance dare not be whispered by bee stung, pouting lips? They love what has been done with chocolate. Shimmering thoughts, opaque ideas – or are those opinions, so common that even the pigeons spout one? – whirl into focus, so briefly … tapered fingers grab and snatch at the cobwebs, but too late. A dream has passed. A mouth waters. A screen needs to be licked.

  3. I think you have a long, lucrative career ahead of you as a romance novelist. In better news, your pot de creme recipe sounds fantastic. I think pepper has been a little overlooked in favour of salt (and bacon).

  4. ahhhh….pot de creme! i have only had butterscotch and caramel versions.

  5. “Interest without being obnoxious” is my watchword for life, career and cruise-table conversation. If you can’t interest them, how will they get to know your heat on their tongue?

    This is one your memorable pieces, T. I think you have a candidate for this year’s entry into the various foodblogstarf&%$ery enticements that will sure come your way.


  6. Wow, these look fabulous, Trevor! A little heat is a welcome change…so much better than if you’d sprinkled these with bacon!

    PS…I don’t recall needing a dictionary when I read those Harlequin romances in jr. high 😉

  7. Lizzy told me to pop on by so I just had to listen. So glad I did. Love your writing style and this recipe is absolutely amazing.

  8. What a delicious peppery addition. I usually see cayenne pepper added to chocolate pots. Great idea!

  9. Lizzy suggested I check this post out, and glad I did. I am a first time visitor to your blog and looking forward to reading more. You’ve got an awesome way with words and food!

  10. Big fan of pepper here! Made pepper ice cream once! Beautiful although racy pots there. Dorie has a good recipe as well bet alas no pepper. Stunning photos Trevor! Submit, submit!

    And no, I was not sent but Lizzy….. I came of my own accord (Honda).

  11. I have always wondered how lucrative the field of romance novel writing is. I have know several women with closets full of those type of books!
    Pepper and chocolate is a worthy pair, especially in creme form-lovely clicks.

  12. Great post! These chocolate pots look delicious and the recipe is something that I can easily make for valentines day.

  13. What a great idea to add pepper…I would have never thought of it! Your post was terrific…and slightly naughty!

  14. This sounds absolute fascinating! i love pots de creme, but pepper I haven’t had in them. I do like spiced chocolate, so I’d love to try this!

  15. I have been known to sneak in the cayenne or the ancho, but black pepper – how unexpectedly delightful.
    Words rarely stump me, but I had to look up “pulchritudinous”. Bravo – today’s society could greatly benefit from higher ulitization of multi-syllabic words.

  16. Can words be pulchritudinous? Hmmm, I’d say “looks delish” but that is probably not pulchritudinous enough for you. GREG

  17. You lost me there for a minute but the chocolate pot de creme brought me back, kind of like in a dream;-)

  18. Your words is like a flamenco dance in my head, and I can just imagine how this peppery pot de creme would do the same on my tongue!

  19. I just made a chocolate mousse cake with cracked black pepper in it and the combination was explosive…so I can well imagine what your pots de creme must have tasted like!

  20. I just fell in love with you… ahem, I mean your blog… your blog!

  21. Wow, with an intro like that I am so disappointed that I can’t take that spoon and dig into one of those little pots. Great post, Trevor!