Classic pots de creme can be finicky and laborious, requiring a hot water bath that threatens to splash the custards every time the pan is moved. In addition, the individual custards don't always cook at the same rate.
We wanted a user-friendly recipe that delivered a decadent dessert with a satiny texture and intense chocolate flavor.
First we moved the dish out of the oven, concentrating on an unconventional approach in which the custard is cooked on the stovetop in a saucepan, then poured into ramekins. Our next challenge was developing the right amount of richness and body-we needed to create a proper balance of cream and half-and-half (we settled on a ratio of 1 1/2 cups to 3/4 cup) as well as calculate the right number of egg yolks (5). For intense chocolate flavor, we passed over milk and semisweet chocolate, which we judged to be too mild, and focused on bittersweet chocolate. At 10 ounces, our chocolate content was at least 50 percent more than in any other recipe we had encountered.