Also known as Crémeux au Chocolat in French, Chocolate Crémeux is a classic French dessert made with five simple ingredients: milk, sugar, egg, heavy cream, and dark chocolate. With a silky texture that isn't too firm and isn't too soft, a dark Chocolate Crémeux is the perfect creamy topping or filling for your favorite cakes, pastries, and tarts.
In fact, it is so creamy and delectable that you can enjoy it on its own! With this step-by-step chocolate crémeux recipe, you'll be on your way to making a crave-worthy chocolate cream in just 15 minutes.
- 📖 What is Chocolate Cremeux
- 📚 What is Chocolate Cremeux used for
- 💡 What is the difference between Chocolate Cremeux and Ganache
- 💡 What is the difference between Chocolate Cremeux and Chocolate Mousse
- 🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- 📝 Ingredient notes
- 👩🍳 How to make this recipe
- 📚 Flavor variations
- 🥣 Equipment Notes
- 🎓 Expert tips
- 🎯 Troubleshooting tips
- ❓Recipe FAQs
- 🍰 Recipes to use the Chocolate Cremeux
- 🧁 More frosting and filling recipes
- Chocolate Cremeux (VIDEO)
📖 What is Chocolate Cremeux
Chocolate cremeux is a gluten-free French dessert that combines a traditional crème anglaise custard with dark chocolate, a luxurious chocolate cream that you will be making again and again. It is versatile with a creamy texture that is soft and silky enough to use as a filling but also thick and stable enough to use for piping. With just five ingredients, it is a straightforward chocolate dessert that doesn't take much time or fancy equipment to make.
I love using chocolate cremeux for 2 reasons; it is super quick to make and there is no need to add an extensive amount of sugar to it as most of the sweetness will come from the chocolate itself.
📚 What is Chocolate Cremeux used for
One of the best features of cremeux (other than its taste) is the ability to use it in several ways. Because of its soft yet stable consistency, it is often used as a topping, piping, or filling for cakes, tarts, cookies, and other pastries. However, it can also be fruit dip, a base for ice cream, or served alone with a whipped cream topping. Additionally, you can mix chocolate cremeux with other fun toppings such as nuts, fruits, or candies.
💡 What is the difference between Chocolate Cremeux and Ganache
While a chocolate cremeux combines chocolate and creme anglaise (containing egg yolk, milk, sugar, and heavy cream), a chocolate ganache is a simple, even mix of chocolate and heavy cream. Because a cremeux contains egg yolk that is first cooked with heavy cream to form a custard, its texture is much smoother, and its taste is much richer than a chocolate ganache.
💡 What is the difference between Chocolate Cremeux and Chocolate Mousse
Chocolate cremeux is a creamy, dense, and stable cream that combines chocolate with a pouring custard (cooked egg yolk and heavy cream). On the other hand, chocolate mousse combines a chocolate ganache with whipped cream and/or whipped egg whites. Because of the whipped ingredients and the air bubbles that form during the process of making it, chocolate mousse is much softer and airier than chocolate cremeux.
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- It is easy to make - With just five simple ingredients (most likely already in your kitchen), you'll be able to whip up this recipe with ease, even if you're new to baking!
- It is the most delicious - The ingredients I use are rich in flavor and have just the right amount of fat and sweetness to give the most delicious and creamy results.
- It is high-quality - I use nothing but the best, high-quality ingredients in my recipes to ensure you get the best, most well-put-together result.
- It is thorough - This is much more than just a simple recipe for making a chocolate crémeux dessert. Here I go into detail about the ingredients, equipment, expert tips, and troubleshooting tips so you can maximize your success and make a delicious cremeux the first time!
- It is versatile - The consistency of chocolate cremeux makes it perfect to use for a variety of different purposes. At the end of this guide, I've included instructions for a milk chocolate crémeux recipe and white chocolate cremeux recipe, as well as instructions for adding other flavors. Just follow the simple steps I provide!
📝 Ingredient notes
- Milk - In all of my recipes, I use a high-fat content milk, as it gives the best taste and overall product. For this recipe, I use milk with a 3% fat content.
- Heavy Cream - In addition to high-fat content milk, a high-fat content heavy cream is key to making a rich and tasty chocolate cremeux. The heavy cream will also aid in thickening your cream and giving it a stable consistency. You will want to use a heavy cream with 36% fat for this recipe.
- Granulated Sugar - Regular white sugar is all you need for this recipe. Check out my sugar guide for the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking.
- Egg yolk - You will need only the yolk of approximately three eggs. It is essential to start with room-temperature eggs to mix with the other ingredients easily. Wondering what to do with leftover egg white? Why not try macaron recipe or pavlova recipe
- Dark Chocolate - For the best taste and consistency of your dark chocolate cremeux, you need to use high-quality chocolate callets. My favorite chocolate to use is Callebaut 811, made with 54.5% cocoa. When selecting your chocolate, use couverture chocolate made for cooking. Regular candy bar chocolate or chocolate chips will not melt properly or give the right consistency.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. Step-by-step process
- First, semi-melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler in a plastic bowl. Make sure the bowl is microwave-safe before heating it!
- Next, whisk the sugar and room-temperature egg yolk together in a large bowl. You'll only need to whisk it for a couple of minutes until it becomes slightly fluffy.
- Bring the milk and cream to a simmer over medium heat in a saucepan. As soon as it starts to simmer, remove it from the heat. It's imperative that it only reaches a simmer and NOT a boil!
- Once removed from the heat, slowly pour the milk-cream mixture over the egg yolk mixture while vigorously whisking with a hand whisk. Doing so will effectively temper the egg yolks.
- Pour the cream mixture into a saucepan and cook it over medium heat. Remove the mixture from the heat as soon as it reaches the desired temperature of 82C / 180F. Your digital thermometer will play a big part in ensuring you don't overcook the mixture and cause it to curdle.
- Once you remove it from the heat, immediately pour the cream mixture over your semi-melted chocolate. Then, use your rubber spatula to stir it together. You can also hand blend the two, stirring together until fully incorporated.
- Once thoroughly mixed, place the cream in a shallow bowl or container and cover it with plastic wrap. Next, place the bowl in the refrigerator for at least six hours.
- Once the six hours have passed, you can enjoy your chocolate cremeux as you wish!
💡 Top Tip: Until you have enough practice simultaneously pouring and whisking the mixture, place the bowl on a kitchen towel. This will prevent it from slipping and making an unwanted mess!
📚 Flavor variations
You don't only have to make chocolate cremeux with dark chocolate. You can also make it with different chocolate variations, such as a milk chocolate crémeux or white chocolate crémeux. All it takes is a couple of minor adjustments to the original recipe.
First and foremost, always use couverture chocolate since it contains a higher percentage of cocoa than regular chocolate. Since milk and white chocolate naturally do not have the same percentage of cocoa (and hence less stability) as dark chocolate, you would need to increase the amount used to 200g versus 125g.
Alternatively, you can add gelatin to help thicken the cream (recommended if using white chocolate). Because milk and white chocolate contain more sugar than dark chocolate, you will also need to reduce or omit the amount of sugar used in the recipe.
You can also make your chocolate cremeux with different flavors and spices (such as cinnamon or coffee, to name a few). If you choose to add flavor, you will want to add in when simmering the heavy cream and milk mixture together.
I recommend using powdered flavoring agents when flavoring creams. Powdered flavoring agents do not change the consistency as a liquid flavoring agent would. If you must use a liquid flavoring agent, you will want to add it in small amounts. You also need to make adjustments elsewhere in the recipe so eg. if you decide to add coffee to the mixture, reduce the milk by the same amount.
🥣 Equipment Notes
Use a digital scale to get the most accurate measurements for each recipe's ingredients. Baking is just as much of a science as it is an art. Having the exact measurements is key to getting the best results.
Your rubber spatula will come in handy when it comes time to mix the custard mixture with the semi-melted chocolate. It also helps to gently stir the mixture without creating air bubbles.
You'll need a hand whisk to help whisk together the sugar and egg yolk mixture. It will also be necessary to temper the eggs once you pour in the warm milk.
A digital thermometer can mean the difference between a perfect cream and an overcooked, curdled cream! Use a thermometer to ensure that you are not exceeding the amount of heat necessary for cooking the mixture.
🎓 Expert tips
- For a lighter cream, reduce the amount of heavy cream and replace it with an equal amount of milk.
- For a richer chocolate taste, use dark chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa. However, since the chocolate acts as a thickener, you will want to increase the liquid in the recipe (add more cream and milk)
- To prevent the chocolate from burning when melting it in the microwave, use a plastic bowl and not a glass bowl. The chocolate will burn very quickly in a glass bowl.
- When melting the chocolate in the microwave, periodically stop to stir the mixture. Mixing it in increments will better distribute the heat and make sure the chocolate gets completely melted.
- To ensure that you've fully blended the chocolate and warm custard, you can also use a hand blender.
- Make sure the plastic wrap is gently pressed over the surface to prevent a film from forming when placed in the refrigerator.
- Whether you are making dark chocolate cremeux, milk chocolate cremeux or white chocolate cremeux, you will need to use couverture chocolate. Couverture has a higher percentage of cocoa butter.
🎯 Troubleshooting tips
As I always say, baking is a science. And just like any science project, things can go wrong! Below are some of the common mishaps that can occur when making chocolate cremeux and how you can fix them:
1. The cremeux is too lumpy
Some lumps are expected during the process of making the cream before mixing the creme anglaise with the chocolate properly. However, there are a few reasons that could cause the cream to end up lumpy after the instructions are followed:
One reason could be that you did not whisk or stir it well enough in the process. It is crucial that you are stirring constantly with a rubber spatula to ensure that all of the parts are being thoroughly mixed together. To fix it, pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to strain out the lumpy pieces.
Another reason is that you overcooked the creme anglaise beyond the recommended temperature, causing it to curdle. Use an immersion blender to smooth out the lumps, then strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to fix the problem.
2. The cremeux is too runny
It is normal for the cream for it to be very loose before placing it in the refrigerator. However, there are a few reasons that your cream may not be as thick as you expected once it has been removed from the fridge.
One reason could be that you didn't let the cream cool long enough. You want to make sure that it sits undisturbed in the fridge for at least six hours. Then, simply place it back in the fridge to give it more time to thicken on its own.
Another reason could be that you did not use chocolate with a high enough percentage of cocoa. Sweeter chocolates and those with a lower portion of cocoa result in a softer cream, requiring you to adjust the amount of thickener used. Using a low-fat milk or cream can also result in a runny result and is not recommended.
3. The cremeux is too thick
Your cream will be very thick after you remove it from the refrigerator, as it should be. However, if you find it is too thick, it may still be too cold to use as you wish. Let it sit a bit longer at room temperature or give it a few whisks to soften up to a desirable consistency.
4. The chocolate isn't fully melted
Lumpy or grainy chocolate can occur when you don't mix the chocolate well enough during the melting process. It can also happen if you use the wrong kind of chocolate, such as regular chocolate bars or chocolate chips.
If you find that your chocolate still appears in chunks, use a double boiler to heat it just enough to melt the rest of the chocolate. To avoid overcooking the custard, use very low heat and remove it from the heat as soon as the chocolate is fully melted.
A "crémeux" translates from French to mean "creamy," and it is just that: a silky chocolate cream. Chocolate mixed with creme anglaise is the most luxurious chocolate filling or frosting. In chocolate cremeux, the chocolate itself acts as a thickening agent and gives it its sweet, decadent flavor.
To properly store chocolate cremeux, put it in an airtight container or bowl, then cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Ensure the plastic wrap gently touches its surface to keep a film from forming on top of the cream.
If properly stored and sealed in an airtight container, your chocolate cremeux will last in the refrigerator for up to three days.
While freezing chocolate cremeux is possible, I don't recommend it unless it is absolutely necessary.
When made with pure chocolate, chocolate cremeux is a gluten-free dessert! That being said, you'll want to check that the chocolate you use does not have any added ingredients that may unknowingly incorporate gluten into the recipe.
You can substitute the milk or heavy cream for a dairy-free option as long as it has a high enough fat content. I recommend keeping the same fat content used in this recipe for the best results.
Since chocolate cremeux requires both high-fat content milk and cream, making a "light" version would not be possible. Substituting the high-fat content milk and cream for a lighter version would notably change the consistency and taste of the cream.
🍰 Recipes to use the Chocolate Cremeux
🧁 More frosting and filling recipes
Chocolate Cremeux (VIDEO)
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Semi-melt the chocolate in the microwave or over double boiler in a plastic, microwave safe bowl.
- In a large enough bowl, with the help of a Hand whisk, whisk together sugar and egg yolk until slightly fluffy for about 1-2 minutes.
- Bring milk and cream to a simmer in a saucepan on medium heat then remove it as soon as it starts simmering. Make sure it is simmering but not boiling.
- Pour the warm milk-cream mixture over the egg yolk mixture slowly while whisking vigorously with a Hand whisk. This stage is effectively tempering the egg yolks.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook on medium heat until the temperature reached 82C / 180F.
- Remove the cream from the stove as soon as the cream reaches the desired temperature. Do not cook it further as the mixture will curdle.
- Pour custard over semi-melted chocolate and stir throughout with a rubber spatula or hand blend it until fully incorporated.
- Place the cream into a shallow bowl or container, cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate to set for a minimum of 6 hours.
- After 6 hours, use the cremeux according to the recipe. Any leftover can be refrigerated for 2-3 days.
- Measure your ingredients with a Digital scale for accuracy
- Use High fat content milk and cream and high quality couverture chocolate for the best result
- Make sure you read my Expert tips section above to maximize your success. A short recipe alone is not able to cover all the necessary details, and science behind baking.
- While melting the chocolate in the microwave, use a plastic bowl as in glass bowl it can easily burn
- Do not heat the mixture further than 82C / 180F as the egg will curdle
- Make sure that the chocolate and warm custard are fully incorporated, use a hand blender if in doubt
- Respect the chilling time. The cream is rather runny straight after making it and will set in the fridge
- For a milk or white chocolate cremeux, you would want to use either more chocolate eg. 200g instead of 125g (and reduce the sugar) or add gelatin into the initial creme anglaise recipe