Friday, March 24, 2006

Pots de crème

After receiving ramekins this past Xmas, along with a blowtorch (yesssss!), my intention was to go to town making crème brulée. However, I came across several recipes for pots de crème, which I'm pretty sure was one of the desserts served at Bouchon. How could I resist such a non-apologetic dessert that translates, literally, to pots of cream?
The first couple of times I made these, I would pour the custard into the ramekins. However, at 8 ounces, this is really heavy. In fact, the milliner would normally take a few spoonfuls and then put it back in the fridge. We tried using those rice-ceramic tea cups that you get in the dollar stores in Chinatown, but they were cracking from the heat of the oven. So, one day, the milliner and I were at Ikea, where we found these tiny cups in the kitchen impulse-buy section. Initially, I really didn't want to get them; our cupboards are over-flowing as it is. However, I'm glad I relented.
  • 2 1/2 cups cream
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 6 egg yolks (I save the whites for omelettes, and for sealing bread dough)
  • 9 cinnamon sticks
Bring the cream, milk and 5 tbsp of sugar to a simmer. Split the vanilla pod, scoop out the seeds, and add to the cream mixture. (I swear, fresh vanilla smells amazing. They should bottle that stuff.) Add the cinnamon sticks and 1 tsp of ground to the cream as well. Of course, you can use mint leaves instead of cinnamon. In fact, I'm thinking that next time I'll try with cardamon seeds. Cover and lest seep for an hour.
In another bowl, add the remaining sugar to the 6 egg yolks, and whisk together. I love this part, seeing the yolks blanch with the whisking. I never knew it could happen until I tried. Pour the cream mixture, slowly!, onto the yolks using a strainer, and blend together. Pour into the ramekins, and cook at 400 for 40 minutes. I normally place a baking pan on top of a baking sheet, put the ramekins into the pan, and fill the pan with warm water about two-thirds.
Refridgerate, if you can wait that long, overnight. Afterward, you have this custardy, creamy goodness that melts lovingly on your tongue. As you work your way through the pot, you find a layer of vanilla seeds on the bottom, like an extra gift.
Initially, I substituted bittersweet chocolate for the vanilla. Well, okay, it's not really bittersweet chocolate; instead, I grate half semi-sweet and half unsweetened Baker's chocolate, melt that in a double broiler, and add it to the eggs.
Next time, I think I'll break down the cream mixture into three different pots and make three different types, i.e. vanilla, cinnamon, and chocolate.


At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Ivonne said...


And I know exactly how you feel about getting a blowtorch as a gift!

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Michel said...

And it works surprisingly well.
Crusty, sugary goodness.

At 9:42 PM, Blogger blk said...

i love my ramekins - bought them at costplus world market...

wow, i'm on a roll w/ my comments tonight!



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