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Ingredients for 8 servings:


2 2/3 cups whipping cream

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons Nielson-Massey chocolate extract (optional)

4 large egg yolks at room temperature

Garnish: 8 teaspoons sugar




Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat 1 quart water to a simmer.  Select a baking dish that has deep sides and is large enough to accommodate 8 1/2 cup ramekins without their touching.  Heat the whipping cream to a simmer.  Stir together the cocoa powder and sugar. Whisk hot cream into the dry ingredients stirring until the mixture is smooth.  Add the chocolate extract, if desired.


Beat the egg yolks briefly and gradually add the hot chocolate cream.   Distribute the crème among eight 1/2 cup ramekins.  Pour on the recently boiled water to come halfway up the sides of these containers and bake until the tops of the custards are just set, 30 minutes or so.


Remove and cool the ramekins on a rack.  Thoroughly chill the custards.  At serving time, sprinkle a layer of  sugar over the tops and brown each of them with a torch until the sugar bubbles and caramelizes.  Serve immediately