Intense Chocolate Custards with Nibs



No matter the season or the setting, this thoroughly satisfying dessert hits the spot. The serving size is intentionally small – all the better to savor the intense hit of chocolate. I like to serve this with chocolate sorbet alongside, also embellished with a touch of crunchy chocolate nibs.

8 servings



A double boiler; a baster; eight 1/4-cup (65 ml) vodka or shot glasses.


5 ounces (150 g) bittersweet chocolate, such as Valrhona Guanaja 70%
3/4 cup (185 ml) light cream or half-and-half
2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter
Fleur de sel  
About 1 tablespoon chocolate nibs (see Note)


What are nibs? Cacao nibs are pieces of cacao beans that have been roasted and hulled. Nibs taste faintly similar to roasted coffee beans. They have a great crunch, a slightly nutty flavor, and a pleasant touch of bitterness.


1.     Break the chocolate into small pieces.

2.     In the top of the double boiler set over, but not touching, boiling water, heat the cream and 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water just until warm. Add the chocolate pieces, stirring until the chocolate is melted. Add the butter and stir to melt and combine. Spoon the mixture into the glasses. (I have found that if you use a baster to “pipe” the chocolate into the glasses, it is less messy.) Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.  

3.     At serving time sprinkle, with fleur de sel and chocolate nibs.


Make ahead note

The custards can be prepared up to 3 days in advance, covered and refrigerated.

Wine Suggestion

I love to serve this treat with the chocolate-friendly, sweet Banyuls reserve wine from Domaine La Tour Vieille in the Languedoc. With its touch of spice, hint of chocolate and overtones of raspberry, what could be a finer partner for a chocolate dessert?

This recipe was first published in The French Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Lessons from Paris and Provence.

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