Everyone needs a signature dish around the holidays – one that their family and friends beg for year after year. Thanks to their creamy texture and butterscotch flavor, these salted caramel pots de créme are the perfect candidate.
But first, I’ve got to give credit where it’s due. Several years back, I went to my (now favorite) restaurant, Gjelina, for the first time. It’s now become a Venice Beach legend, but at the time it was a brand new Italian hot spot, and I, like everyone else, was blown away by the charred pizzas and flavor-bomb veggies that came out of the wood burning stove at the center of the restaurant. As Adam and I wrapped up our meal, the waiter mentioned that we couldn’t miss the pastry chef’s famous Butterscotch Pots de Crème, and after the first bite, I understood why.
As quoted in Gjelina’s cookbook, “The dramatic contrasts in flavor and texture are deeply satisfying — smoky caramel-flavored custard, combined with whipped crème fraîche, thick caramel sauce, and flaky sea salt.”
I’ve been making my own version for the holiday dinner party that my husband and I host for a few close friends every year, and though I’ve evolved the recipe a bit from Gjelina’s, it still maintains that same sweet-salty-smoky combination that everyone goes crazy for. Our party sadly isn’t happening this year thanks to covid, but there’s no way I’d let the holiday season pass us by without making my favorite dessert. I whipped up a batch the other night, and it instantly felt more like Christmas.
So what exactly is a pot de crème? Well, as the name implies, it’s a french custard – literally, a “pot of cream” (YUM) that is sometimes chocolate-y, often topped with whipped cream, and always intensely satisfying. For sounding so fancy, the ingredients are quite simple: eggs, sugar, butter, cream, salt, and vanilla. That’s it! You can make them in any small oven proof containers – bowls, ramekins, small mugs, or in my case, these cute spanish-style stemless wine glasses that show off the custard’s beautiful texture.
Scroll on for the recipe, and make sure you’re following me on Instagram where I’ll be making these salted caramel pots de crème later this week. I’m pretty sure you’ll love them as much as we do, and be sure to leave a comment and rating if you give these a try!
Hope y’all have a very merry holiday – let’s savor every bite. xo
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp salted butter
- 6 egg yolks
- 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- for garnish: freshly whipped cream, chopped toasted pecans, and flaky sea salt
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium saucepan, cook the butter and brown sugar over medium heat, without stirring, for about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a large bowl.
- When the sugar and butter mixture has turned a dark caramel and starts to smell nutty, gradually pour in the cream, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add salt and vanilla bean paste, whisking well.
- Very slowly, pour the sugar mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly (so you don't scramble the eggs!)
- Divide the custard mixture evenly between 6 oven-safe ramekins. Place them in a shallow baking pan, then pour hot water into the baking pan until it reaches halfway up the outside of the ramekins. Cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour, rotating pan halfway through cooking.
- When the custard is set (you want it to lose the jiggle when you shake the pan), remove the pan from the oven and carefully remove each ramekin from the pan. Let cool.
- When ready to serve, top each pots de crème with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkle of chopped pecans, and a pinch of flaky sea salt. Eat!
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