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Recipe for espresso chocolate custard cups

Espresso chocolate cups

A recipe adapted from Nirmala's Edible Diary, a South American cookbook I received as a holiday gift from my friend Laura, this rich, yet not overly sweet, espresso chocolate custard sustained my husband Ted through a long New England blizzard. It's cooked over the gentle heat of a double boiler; if you don't have one, improvise as I do, by setting a stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering water. I used Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chocolate chips, which melted smoothly and saved a bit of chopping. The original recipe called for whole milk. I had skim milk and heavy cream on hand, and combined the two -- and it worked.

Espresso chocolate custard cups

From the pantry, you'll need: light brown sugar, cornstarch, ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper, bittersweet chocolate, pure vanilla extract, sea salt, and instant espresso powder.

Serves 6.


1/2 cup loosely packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cups skim milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or use chips)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Orange zest or mint leaves for garnish


In a large stainless steel bowl, or the top of a double boiler, whisk together the brown sugar and cornstarch with a pinch of sea salt. Slowly whisk in the cream and milk. Add the cinnamon and cayenne, scraping the sides of the pan with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients.

Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water; make sure the bowl is bigger than the pan, so the base of the bowl doesn't sit in the water. Cook, stirring frequently (but not constantly), for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture is the consistency of custard.

Remove the pan and bowl from the heat, and stir in the espresso and chocolate. Continue to stir for 2-3 minutes, until the chocolate is melted and fully incorporated. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Fill 6 small ramekins with the mixture, and place in the refrigerator to set for 3-4 hours. Serve cold, garnished with orange zest, mint leaves, or whipped cream.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Mexican chocolate pots de creme
Chocolate-mango-kiwi wontons
Espresso sorbet
Outrageous brownies

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Espresso chiffon cake with fudge frosting, from Smitten Kitchen
Chocolate espresso bars, from Sweet Mary
Banana espresso chocolate chip muffins, from Sweetnicks
Chocolate chip espresso cookies, from Gluten-Free Goddess
Mocha coffee coffee cake, from Joy the Baker

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I cannot begin to tell you how good this sounds. Two days back at school, and I so stressed!!! Chocolate. I need chocolate!

These look really rich! I was surprised you said they weren't they also look incredibly delicious. Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

It sounds rich and delicious. I love coffee and chocolate. Such a fabulous match.



and i will be making this, for our next blizzard

This recipe looks like magic. Magic for my tongue and stomach. I have been thinking about custard lately too. This will be perfect!

Pam, not good to be stressed so early in the year -- you definitely need chocolate! This custard is delicious, not super-sweet but hits all of the chocolate buttons. Enjoy!

GourmetGetaways, it's rich, but the coffee keeps it from being cloyingly sweet like so many custards are.

Nisrine, the coffee makes the chocolate taste more chocolatey.

Vanillasugar, not that we're hoping for another blizzard like last week, but *if* it should happen, my husband would be happy to get more of this custard... I'm just saying.

PunkRizz, magic and so easy to make, too.

The combination of flavors here is irresistible! I have always added a bit of instant coffee grains to my hot chocolate - adds a bit of zip or richness when I am calorie watching (which has been all of my adult life). This would surely satisfy those chocolate cravings I sometimes get.

Sometimes? Who am I kidding?

Oh, this custard looks divine. Blizzard worthy indeed, I'd say. ;-) Love the chocolate and coffee combo and the recipe does sound easy. :-)


I think my husband would like this tonight!!! no blizzard needed!!

Mimi, there's something so earthy about the combination of chocolate and coffee. This custard definitely has that quality, and a bit of the sweet, too.

Shirley, not that I'm hoping for another blizzard... but if we get one, I'm ready!

Oh my this sounds good!

i'm with the commenter that said this recipe looks like magic! so fantastic. i looove it. Happy New Year, Lydia!

mmmm, what a great idea! These look SO good!

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