Creamy chocolate cremeux that is silky smooth, rich, delicious, and super easy to make? I got you covered!
How to make a creamy and luscious chocolate cremeux that you can use as a base for many other desserts!
Here I’m continuing my series on all the different types of dessert that you can make with creme anglaise. In this post, I’m sharing how to make the most amazing chocolate cremeux! It is SO easy, and tastes absolutely divine!
Why I love this recipe
- You’ll get a very good understanding of what cremeux is, and because of that, you’ll be able to adapt the recipe to your taste too.
- It’s such an easy recipe to follow, despite sounding like it could be something intimidating. It isn’t. At all.
- You can substitute the chocolate for other variations of this recipe.
- It’s such a wonderful, luscious filling and can be the base for SO MANY other desserts!
- The texture of this chocolate cremeux is rich, silky, and creamy. It melts in your mouth along with a big chocolate flavor explosion!
Back to basics
I talked about cremeux in my post about types of custard. But here’s a quick recap.
Cremeux, or more specifically chocolate cremeux, is a dessert that is made with creme anglaise. While creme anglaise is the base, chocolate and/or butter is added for flavor, thickening, and stability. Gelatin can also be added for extra stability. Creme anglaise is a custard that has a thick but pourable consistency.
The word “cremux” literally means “creamy” in French. This term is used to describe cheeses as well as desserts that are rich, smooth, and creamy. So, when it comes to chocolate cremeux, it’s a rich, silky smooth, and creamy chocolate dessert.
Another fun fact about chocolate cremeux is that it is a type of chocolate ganache as well. You may know that chocolate ganache is made by melting chocolate in hot heavy cream. It can also be made with white chocolate, milk chocolate, AND dark chocolate.
Instead of heavy cream, chocolate is melted in hot pouring custard (creme anglaise) here. And similar to ganache, you can make milk chocolate cremeux and white chocolate cremeux. But here I’m making dark chocolate creameux, since that’s my favorite! The balance between the sweetness of the custard and the deep richness of the chocolate is pure *chef’s kiss*.
Ingredients needed for this chocolate cremeux recipe
- Heavy cream
- Egg yolks
- Chocolate – I use a mix of 54% and 70% dark chocolate. But you can use any semisweet or bittersweet chocolate you like.
How to make homemade chocolate creameux
For this recipe, you will need to make the creme anglaise first.
This part is not difficult, but does require patience because you have to cook the custard on low heat for a longer time to ensure it does not curdle.
I have a detailed post on how to make creme anglaise here. You can check out this section to find out how you can prevent the curdling of your pouring custard.
Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan until it starts to steam. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, vanilla, sugar, and salt in a bowl until it forms a thick, smooth paste that is pale in color.
Once the milk is heated, pour the milk in a thin, slow stream into the egg mixture while constantly whisking. This is to temper the egg yolks.
When the egg mixture has warmed up, add this back into the saucepan with the remaining milk, and whisk well to mix all the ingredients well.
Heat this custard base over low heat while frequently stirring with a spatula. Keep the custard moving, while scraping the bottom and sides of the pot to prevent the milk from “setting”. The custard will start to thicken as it heats up, and when the mixture reaches 185 F / 85C, the custard is done! Do not let it come to a boil.
The custard should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon as shown below.
Making chocolate cremeux
The next step of the recipe is to finally make the chocolate cremeux.
You can use your favorite type of chocolate for this recipe. I used Cacao Barry chocolate – a combination of 54% and 70% chocolate, because I absolutely LOVE the flavor of both of these chocolates.
Place the chocolate in a large bowl, along with the butter (if using). Pour the hot creme anglaise over the chocolate and cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap for about 1 minute.
Stir the chocolate until it’s completely melted and smooth. For the very best results and the smoothest and silkiest texture, use an immersion blender (stick blender) to properly emulsify the mixture.
You can either pour the chocolate cremeux into a different container, or keep it in the same bowl. Cover the surface of the creameux with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on top.
Let the dark chocolate cremeux cool down to room temperature, OR you can transfer it to the fridge as well.
You have now succesfully made chocolate cremeux! Easy right?
If you chilled your chocolate cremeux, it’s important to let it soften at room temperature before using and serving it. It also tastes better when at room temperature because you can better appreciate how silky it is as it melts in your mouth.
Chocolate cremeux can be served on its own. Like pots de creme, it can be served as a dessert with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Since it’s quite rich, you only need to serve it in small portions.
You can also create quenelles (or just scoops of the cremeux), and serve this on top of other desserts as well. It’s delicious with waffles (and yes, I’ve most definitely tried that!), with custard brioche tarts, and croissants!
Or how about a chocolate tart made with chocolate pate sucree and filled with chocolate creameux?
It also makes a luscious topping for tarts, eclairs and other pastries too.
This also makes for an amazing filling or frosting for cakes and cookies! Think chocolate ganache, but better!
If you want to pipe this, it’s important that it softens at room temperature so that it’ll be softer and easier to pipe out smoothly.
Recipe variations for chocolate cremeux
Dessert cremeux can be made with chocolate or fruits. A fruit puree however will not thicken and stabilize the cremeux like chocolate does. So, you will need to add butter and gelatin to the mixture to achieve the same rich, silky smooth texture. These variations will differ for different types of fruit puree (thickness and flavor concentration), so I’ll share a recipe with you once I’ve figured out a good balance for flavor and texture!
Milk chocolate cremeux – When it comes to chocolate cremeux, you can easily substitute the dark chocolate with milk to make a milk chocolate cremeux. My favorite milk chocolate brands to make chocolate cremeux are Valrhona caramelia or Callebaut or Cacao barry. From supermarket brands, I love Whittakers milk chocolate, Lindt, or Ghiradelli. As long as you love to eat the chocolate that you’re using, the result will be absolutely delicious too.
White chocolate cremeux – If you’re using white chocolate, make sure it has a nice flavor! Since creme anglaise is also dairy and sugar forward, you don’t want the final product to be overly sweet. I recommend reducing the sugar in the custard by at most half (Do NOT completely cut out the sugar). The white chocolate version will also be softer than the milk or dark chocolate versions.
Mocha cremeux – Chocolate + coffee! Of course that combo is going to be amazing. Dissolve instant coffee in the creme anglaise base before pouring it into the chocolate. Alternatively, you can add coffee extract instead.
Chocolate cremeux can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze this for up to 2 months.
Make sure that you store the creameux in an air-tight container. Especially when storing in the freezer, because the chocolate cremeux will absorb other food smells. The chocolate should be thawed in the fridge or at room temperature before using.
However, as with other desserts, the cremeux may have a change in texture as it thaws.
Can I make this chocolate cremeux dairy free or vegan?
You can easily make dairy free chocolate cremeux.
Instead of milk and cream for the creme anglaise, you can use plant-based milk and coconut cream (unsweetened).
For the dark chocolate, make sure you’re using a dark chocolate that is vegan. There are so many great dairy free or vegan dark chocolates available at the store now.
You can substitute the milk and cream with the plant-based options mentioned above.
Make sure to use a vegan certified chocolate for the chocolate in the recipe. You can find many vegan chocolates in the market now. My favorite is the valhrona vegan chocolate, but I know that it isn’t widely available though.
Unfortunately, cocoa powder isn’t a good alternative.
The butter can be skipped, or you can use vegan butter.
As for the eggs, there is no proper substitute. However, you can still make a custard with cornstarch (without egg yolks). Instead of the egg yolks, you can thicken the milk base with 2 tbsp of cornstarch instead.
When I first learned about cremeux several years ago, I thought it was super complicated. But as it turns out, it’s almost too simple to make, and it’s absolutely delicious! If you can make ganache, you can absolutely make this divine chocolate cremeux.
It’s such a versatile dessert that you can adapt to make different variations too. Plus, it can be used to make so many types of dessert. But it tastes SO good on its own, and you’ll have a hard time stopping yourself from eating this with a spoon, straight from the bowl!
What do you think you will make with this chocolate cremeux recipe? 🙂
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Chocolate Cremeux Recipe
- 240 mL full-fat milk or 2% milk, 1 cup
- 240 mL heavy cream 35% fat, 1 cup
- 4 egg yolks from large eggs. You can also use 5 egg yolks, but 4 egg yolks should be more than enough
- 100 g sugar ½ cup. Use only 50g / ¼ cup if using milk chocolate
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 340 g dark chocolate chopped, at least 55% cocoa content
- 50 g unsalted butter optional
Making the pouring custard base (creme anglaise)
- Here we'll be following my creme anglaise recipe instructions. Please check that post for more tips on how to make perfect creme anglaise.
- In a saucepan, combine the milk and heavy cream. Heat over medium / medium-high heat until the milk starts to steam. Make sure to regularly stir to prevent the milk from burning.240 mL full-fat milk, 240 mL heavy cream
- In a medium bowl, place the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Whisk very well until the egg yolks become very smooth and start to turn pale in color.4 egg yolks, 100 g sugar, ¼ tsp sea salt, 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Once heated, remove the milk from the stove and it’s ready to be added to the egg mixture.
- To add the milk to the egg mixture, the eggs must be tempered. Place the bowl with the egg mixture on a non-slip surface (i.e. on a rubber pad or wet cloth napkin placed on the kitchen counter).
- Carefully pour the hot milk mixture in a thin stream into the egg mixture, making sure to constantly whisk the egg mix as the milk is poured in.
- When about half of the milk is added to the egg mix, the egg mixture should be warm enough and be tempered. Whisk it once more to make sure all the egg yolks are mixed in well (while scraping down the sides of the bowl).
- Pour this egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk. Whisk well to combine.
- Now it’s time to cook the custard. Lower the heat on the stove to a medium low or low heat, and return the saucepan to the stove. When you cook the custard, you may have to alternate cooking it on the stove and then remove it from the stove to stir and disperse the heat if the custard is overheating too quickly (and then return it to the stove once again). You may have to do this, a few times depending on the heat from your stove. You can also lower the heat of your stove as well.
- Cook the custard while constantly stirring with a rubber spatula until the custard has thickened to the right consistency. This can take anywhere from 4 – 10 minutes depending on the stove, size of the saucepan, and saucepan material. Make sure to scrape the edges, sides, and bottom of the pan with the spatula to evenly heat the custard.
- The custard will start to thicken as it reaches the correct temperature. The custard is done when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon with a film of custard (see pictures in the post for reference). The temperature of the custard should reach 180 – 185°F (82 – 85°C).
- Once the custard is cooked, remove it from the heat. It's now ready to be added to the chocolate.
Making the cremeux
- Before making the custard, place the chocolate in a large bowl. Remember you'll be adding the custard and will need room to blend the chocolate mix with a stick blender.340 g dark chocolate
- Once the custard is cooked, pour the custard through a sieve into the bowl with the chocolate.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid for about 1 minute.
- Uncover and stir the mixture with a spatula or whisk and mix the melted chocolate with the pastry cream. Stir until the chocolate has completely melted.
- If you’re adding butter, add the butter at this stage while the chocolate is still warm. Stir to melt and mix in the butter.50 g unsalted butter
- Next, use a stick blender to blend the chocolate cremeux. This will help emulsify the mixture. The cremeux will start to look smooth and shiny.
- Cover the cremeux with plastic wrap, making sure that the plastic wrap is in contact with the entire surface so as to prevent a skin from forming on top.
- Transfer the chocolate cremeux to the fridge to completely chill, or until it reaches room temperature.
- If you're serving the chocolate cremeux in a tart OR individual dishes, pour the cremeux into the dishes and let it chill in the fridge until it sets.
- To use the cremeux as a topping or for piping, keep the chilled chocolate cremeux at room temperature for a while until it’s softened to room temperature.
Tips & Tricks
Note about substituting the chocolateYou can substitute the dark chocolate with milk chocolate or white chocolate. If you’re using milk chocolate, lower the sugar by half (50 g instead of 100 g in this recipe). If you use white chocolate, you will need to use 50 g of sugar as well, and the result will be sweeter (because white chocolate is sweeter). White chocolate cremeux will be softer than the dark chocolate cremeux.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”
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