Aired January 17, 2014
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Heat the milk, cream, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until it comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Whisk the yolks in a medium bowl. Add small amounts of the hot cream, whisking, until all the cream is incorporated.
Pour the custard into 6 pots de crème and set in a roasting pan lined with a dishtowel.
Add enough hot water to reach halfway up the cups and cover the pan with foil. Bake until the custards are set, about 30 minutes. Let cool then refrigerate overnight before serving.
Meyer Lemon Pots de Crème: Add 2 tablespoons grated Meyer lemon zest to the milk and cream as it heats.
Dark Chocolate Pots de Crème: Add 4 ounces chopped dark chocolate to the milk and cream as it heats. Be careful not to let the mixture boil, you just want to melt the chocolate.
Strawberry-Mint Pots de Crème: Add 1 cup roughly chopped strawberries, 10 sprigs mint and 2 additional tablespoons of sugar to the milk and cream as it heats. Strain the custard before filling the cups.
Pistachio Pots de Crème: Purée 1 cup shelled pistachios in a food processor then add them to the milk and cream as it heats. Strain the custard before filling the cups.
Espresso Pots De Crème: Add 1/4 cup ground espresso coffee beans to the milk and cream as it heats. Strain the custard before filling the cups.
This dessert is a lovely French custard, much lighter and more delicate than crème brûlée or a flan, which is why it’s served in the container it’s baked in. I find the pots charming, and flavor the basic custard with a variety of fruits and toppings of strawberries, chocolate, mint, walnuts, lemon zest and pistachios.