Fine Desserts

Heavenly Chocolate Crème Caramel

4.75 from 4 votes
Indulge in this Heavenly Chocolate Crème Caramel with decadent, silky custard and rich, toasty caramel in every bite.
Two servings of chocolate Crème Caramel are served on glass dessert plates, with silky and tender custard topped with decadent sweet caramel.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: Outrageously silky and rich Heavenly Chocolate Crème Caramel is the perfect recipe to have in your back pocket for Valentine’s Day, a dinner with friends, or anytime you want an elevated chocolate treat. Toasty-sweet caramel layered with velvety bittersweet chocolate custard makes this dessert unforgettably special and flavorful.

  • The chilled, satiny custard dessert is both elegant and homey. One spoonful is all it will take to make you a crème caramel superfan.
  • Thick and glossy homemade caramel is the ideal texture complement to the creamy custard, and it adds addictively complex buttery, burnt-sugar notes. I’ll guide you through the caramel-making process to give you the confidence to ditch the store-bought stuff for good!

Even if you’re a new baker, it’s easy to make fine desserts like Heavenly Chocolate Crème Caramel with Bigger Bolder Baking’s straightforward instructions and streamlined techniques. With our step-by-step instructions, you’ll be wowing yourself by whipping up treats like The BEST Tiramisu Recipe, Salted Butterscotch Pots de CrèmeO’Driscolls Irish Whiskey Chocolate Mousse, and The Perfect Pavlova in 5 Simple Steps.

Table of Contents

What is Heavenly Chocolate Crème Caramel?

  • Heavenly Chocolate Crème Caramel is a baked chocolate custard topped with caramel. The caramel and custard are layered in individual ramekins and baked in a water bath.
  • Crème Caramel is closely related to other creamy baked desserts like flan, a caramel custard popular in Spain and Latin America, and Italian budino.
  • Ancient Romans combined eggs with milk and honey to create a custard-like dish. During the Middle Ages, cane sugar became available in Europe, and various versions of baked custard were developed.

Chocolate Crème Caramel is served on a glass dessert plate, with silky and tender custard topped with decadent sweet caramel.

Tools You Need

Key Ingredients and Why

  • Granulated sugar

    • Cooked sugar is the base of caramel, and sugar sweetens the chocolate custard.
    • In a custard mixture, sugar draws moisture from other ingredients, such as eggs and milk. This helps to give the custard its unique sumptuous texture, and it also prevents weeping.
  • Whole milk

    • Milk gives the custard its smooth creaminess and velvety mouthfeel.
    • The proteins in milk are also essential in creating the custard’s structure.
    • For all recipes, I always use full-fat milk for the best flavor and texture.
  • Eggs

    • Eggs provide tenderness, aeration, emulsification, and structure.
    • Eggs come in different sizes, from medium to jumbo. We use large eggs for all our recipes, which weigh approximately 1¾oz (50g) without the shell. That is 30g for the white and 20g for the yolk.
    • Unless specified, eggs should always be at room temperature. Here are quick tips to warm up eggs that are straight from the fridge.
    • Additional egg yolks add stability and make the custard’s mouthfeel even more luscious.
  • Bittersweet chocolate

    • Bittersweet chocolate contributes to a rich and slightly bitter flavor, and it’s great for melting because it doesn’t burn easily.
  • Spiced rum (optional)

    • When used in small amounts in baking, rum functions more as a flavoring rather than making a dessert taste like alcohol.
    • If desired, you can replace the rum in this recipe with two teaspoons of vanilla extract.
  • Salt

    • You only need a touch, but salt is essential to bring out flavors. Without salt, desserts can taste flat.

How to Make Heavenly Chocolate Crème Caramel

  • Make the caramel:
    • Place ramekins in the baking dish and set aside.
    • Put the sugar and water in the saucepan on low heat. Let the sugar dissolve.
    • Let the mixture simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until it turns amber.
    • Remove from heat, divide between ramekins, and set aside.
  • Make the custard:
    • In a separate saucepan, bring milk to a simmer over low heat.
    • Turn off the heat, add chocolate, and let sit until the chocolate melts. Whisk until smooth.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks, and sugar. Add in rum (if using) and salt.
    • Keep whisking while slowly pouring the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Continue to whisk until fully blended.
    • Strain custard through a sieve into a glass measuring jug with a spout. Let cool completely.
  • Bake the custard:
    • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
    • Pour the custard into the prepared ramekins.
    • Place them in the baking dish and pour the boiling water into the pan so that it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
    • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the edges are set, but the middle is still slightly jiggly.
  • Cool and serve:
    • Remove the ramekins from the pan and cool in the fridge for at least four hours.
    • To serve, run a knife around the edge of the custards to loosen them and turn them onto plates. You can also simply serve them as-is in the ramekins.

Step-by-step instructions on how to make Chocolate Crème Caramel: divide cooked caramel in ramekins. Pour custard into ramekins and add boiling water in the baking tray. Bake in a water bath until the custard sets but the middle is slightly jiggly.

Can I Make Heavenly Chocolate Crème Caramel in Advance?

  • The chocolate custard base can be made the day before you want to bake off your desserts. I always do this because the flavor develops and gets even better overnight in the fridge.
  • You can also bake Heavenly Chocolate Crème Caramel up to two days in advance. Keep the ramekins well covered and in the refrigerator. Invert the custards just before serving, or serve as-is in the ramekins.

How to Store Chocolate Crème Caramel

  • Store any leftover Chocolate Crème Caramel in the fridge for up to two days.
  • Be sure to cover it well with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container.

FAQs

  • How can I tell when the custard is done baking?

    • When done, the custard will be set around the edges but jiggle slightly in the center.
    • You want a jiggle in the middle because eggs continue to cook once the crème caramels are removed from the oven.
  • I have never made caramel before. Help!

    • Caramel making is not as complicated as you might think. It does take practice, and you do need to follow a few simple rules:
      • Use a heavy-bottomed saucepan
      • Unless specified in the recipe, DO NOT stir your caramel once it has started to simmer
      • Cook until you get a rich brown color, but don’t allow the caramel to smoke.
      • For a deeper dive into caramel making, check out my guide, How to Make Caramel.
  • How do I keep eggs from curdling when making crème caramel?

    • Use room-temperature eggs.
    • Be sure to temper. Tempering is a method of slowly introducing hot liquid to eggs in order to prevent curdling. If you pour hot liquid all at once into eggs, they will likely curdle. Here’s how to temper:
      • Begin by whisking the egg mixture with one hand.
      • Then, with the other hand, slowly ladle or drizzle the hot liquid into the eggs. By doing this, there are no hot spots, and the eggs will warm up gently and evenly.
  • How do I make sure my Heavenly Chocolate Crème Caramel is perfectly smooth and lump-free?

    • When combining egg yolks and sugar, make sure that you mix them together immediately. Otherwise, the yolks will quickly dry out from the undissolved sugar, which is called “burning.” This will leave you with hard bits in the finished recipe.
    • The best custards are silky smooth without anything getting in the way. Even if you are very careful about tempering your eggs, there is always a risk of a curd or two forming. Sieving the custard will ensure the perfect texture.

A close-up shot at the chocolate Crème Caramel served on a glass dessert plate, with silky and tender custard topped with decadent sweet caramel.

 

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips

  • Before baking, strain your custard to remove any lumps of egg or sugar so it comes out silky smooth.
  • Whisking the custard mixture is essential to blend and emulsify the ingredients, but it may leave your custard with air bubbles. If you have a kitchen torch on hand, give those bubbles a quick blast before baking, and they’ll disappear, giving you a smoother crème caramel.
  • You can replace the bittersweet chocolate with dark, milk, or white chocolate. Learn more about differences in flavor in our Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Chocolate.
  • Infuse the milk with spices to add different flavors. For example, make a Mexican Chocolate Crème Caramel by adding some orange zest, cinnamon, and a pinch of cayenne to the milk while cooking the custard. If you are using whole spices instead of ground spices, add them to the milk first and heat until simmering. Let the spices infuse in the milk for an hour before proceeding with the recipe, and discard when you strain the custard.
  • If you are genuinely stressed about turning out your crème caramel, rest assured that many cafes in Paris serve them in their ramekins, and there is nothing wrong with following suit!
  • If you own ramekins of a different size, you can use them with this recipe. You can also use oven-safe tea cups or other little dishes. All you have to do is factor in that your bake time will be different depending on the size of your dishes. Bake the Chocolate Crème Caramel just until you get that jiggle in the middle, and they are set around the edges.

More Flan and Custard Recipes

Heavenly Chocolate Crème Caramel

4.75 from 4 votes
Indulge in this Heavenly Chocolate Crème Caramel with decadent, silky custard and rich, toasty caramel in every bite.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 5 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 55 minutes
Indulge in this Heavenly Chocolate Crème Caramel with decadent, silky custard and rich, toasty caramel in every bite.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 5 servings

Ingredients

For the Caramel

  • cup (5 oz/142 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

For the Custard

  • 1 ⅔ cups (13 fl oz/390 ml) whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • cup (2½ oz/71 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (1 ½ oz/43 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon spiced rum, optional
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

Make the Caramel

  • Place 5 (6 oz) ramekins in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  • Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and allow the sugar to dissolve over low heat.
  • Bring to a simmer and let it gently bubble away until it reaches a rich amber color, roughly 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Immediately remove from the heat and divide evenly among the prepared ramekins. Set aside to set.

Make the Custard

  • Add the milk into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, about 3 minutes.
  • Once the milk comes to a simmer, turn off the heat and add in the chocolate. Let the mix stand for 5 minutes for the milk to melt the chocolate, then whisk until smooth.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the whole eggs, yolks and sugar together until smooth.
  • Stir in the rum (if using) and the salt.
  • While whisking constantly, gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the eggs. Keep whisking until fully blended.
  • Pour the custard through a sieve and into a glass measuring jug with a pour spout. Set aside to cool down completely or cover and place in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Bake the Custard

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C) and fill a kettle with water and bring to a boil.
  • Divide the custard evenly among the prepared ramekins.
  • Place the baking dish on a middle rack in the oven and pour enough boiling water from the kettle to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the edges of the custards are set but still a bit jiggly in the center.
  • Remove from the water bath and let cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator to cool completely, at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
  • When ready to serve, carefully run a thin-edged knife around the edge of the custards and invert them onto individual serving plates. Serve as is with the lovely caramel sauce on top. Enjoy!

 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

7 Comments
most useful
newest oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mohhika
Mohhika
4 months ago

Hi Gemma,
My ramekins are a bit smaller than yours, about 3-4 cm in diameter. Do I need to change the baking time or temperature accordingly?

Samantha
Samantha
4 months ago

Hi Gemma,

Can I bake the custard on the same day?

What size baking tray or pan can I use instead of Ramkins?

Kindly confirm.

Thanks

Raymond Gonzales
Raymond Gonzales
4 months ago

Can the egg be substituted?

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

Weeknight Family Favorites Chapter from the Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook