Spiced Cider & Chocolate Pot De Creme (Inspired by Once Upon A Time!)

While I'm not exactly excited to see summer go, these next few months have some amazing things to look forward to. Autumn is here. The best time for baking is here. The holidays are coming up. But you know what other season has arrived? TV SEASON. The past couple of weeks have brought the return of some of my favorite shows. Hawaii 5-0, Sons of Anarchy, Grey's Anatomy...I was so happy to see these characters on my television again...back to snuggling on the couch at the end of the day, with some food and drink in hand...Aaaaand Once Upon A Time premieres tonight! "Magic is coming" to Storybrooke, and fairy tales are just what I need on this Sunday night.

Last season, my mom and I used this show as our weekly, mother-daughter bonding time. We'd get together every Sunday, cook something up, then watch Snow White and Prince Charming's love story unfold. So, for the season 2 premiere, I thought I'd whip up something extra magical and inspired by Once Upon A Time's characters... rich, chocolatey Pot de Creme made with Spiced Apple Cider!

When I was brainstorming what kind of treats have been on the show, hot chocolate was the first thing that I wrote down. Fans of the show know that Snow, Emma, and Henry have a thing for hot chocolate with cinnamon, so I decided to roll with those flavors.

First, the chocolate! I used Ghirardelli's bittersweet chocolate because I knew that it would pair well with the spices and other flavors that I'd be infusing the pots de creme with. I'm also just a huge fan of using dark, bittersweet chocolate in desserts.

After chopping up the chocolate, I put together my spiced apple cider. I know it seems like an odd addition, but hear me out. When you think of the story of Snow White, the image of a bright red apple is one of the first things to pop into your head. I wanted to incorporate apple flavor somehow, and remember the hot chocolate and cinnamon thing? Well, apple and cinnamon are also a classic match, so cider seemed like the perfect answer! I used cinnamon sticks and orange peel to "spice up" the cider, and let it simmer then steep for a few minutes.

Next, I added some sugar, ground cinnamon & cloves, and heavy cream. This mixture becomes the base for the pots de cremes, or "pots of custard"...or, as I like to call them, pots of super decadent pudding. If pudding and creme brulee had a love child, this is their superstar, overachieving child.

This very hot (VERY HOT is key here) cider-cream is then poured over the chopped bittersweet chocolate. I whisked this mixture until the chocolate was completely melted. Then, I tempered my yolks (to prevent scrambled bits of egg) and whisked those in, too. I divided the custard evenly between my ramekins.

The ramekins were then placed in a shallow pan, and I filled the pan with hot water until it reached halfway up the sides of the ramekins. This helps the custard cook gently and evenly in the oven.

After 30 minutes, my kitchen was warm with the smells of cinnamon and chocolate...mmmmm...oh, and I immediately removed the ramekins from the oven and their water bath to cool for a few minutes. The pots de creme then went into the refrigerator to cool completely and set up.

To finish off these delicious desserts, I spooned a dollop of vanilla whipped cream and sprinkled freshly grated cinnamon on top.

Chocolate, cinnamon, and apple...flavors inspired by the one and only Once Upon A Time! Once you indulge in a spoonful of this velvety smooth and rich custard, you'll feel like you're sitting in Granny's Diner on a cold, Autumn day in Storybrooke. It's like a mug of hot chocolate and hot apple cider blended into one decadent dessert. Although, you don't have to be an OUAT fan to enjoy these. Bake these pots de creme on any rainy day when you need a sweet, comforting treat. And, with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up on the calendar, they can even fit right into your holiday dish rotation. Enjoy, my fellow Oncers and bakers! ;)

Spiced Cider & Chocolate Pot De Creme (4 servings)

Print Recipe

4 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup Apple Cider
2 Cinnamon Sticks
Peel of 1 Orange
1/4 cup White Granulated Sugar
1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
Dash of Ground Cloves
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
2 Egg Yolks

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the chopped chocolate into a heat-proof mixing bowl. 
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the apple cider, cinnamon sticks, and orange peel. Bring the mixture to a simmer, lower the heat, and steep for 10 minutes.
  4. Next, pour in the sugar, spices, and heavy cream. Stir to blend well, then bring the mixture back up to a simmer.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, discard the orange peel & cinnamon sticks, then slowly pour the cider-cream over the chopped chocolate. Whisk continuously until the chocolate has completely dissolved. 
  6. Temper the egg yolks first by spooning a small amount of the chocolate mixture into the bowl of egg yolks and whisking quickly/thoroughly. Pour the tempered egg yolks into the chocolate mixture, again whisking thoroughly. 
  7. Ladle this custard base into 4, ungreased, 4-oz. ramekins. Place the ramekins into a shallow roasting pan, then pour hot water into the pan until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekin. Bake the pots de creme at 350 for 35 minutes. They should be set but still slightly jiggle in the very center.
  8. After baking, remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool for about 20 minutes at room temperature. Then, cool the pots de creme in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  9. To serve, garnish the pots de creme with whipped cream and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon!