Everyone needs a signature sweet dish around the holidays. I’m talking about the addicting treat that family and friends beg for year after year. Thanks to their creamy texture and butterscotch flavor, these salted caramel pots de creme 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 back then it was a brand-new Italian hot spot. 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. Well, after that first bite, I immediately understood why.
Something Sweet Awaits
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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 we 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. Even when we took a break from hosting due to COVID, there was no way I’d let the holiday season pass us by without making my favorite dessert. Thankfully, the parties are back on, and when I whipped up a test run batch the other night, it instantly felt more like Christmas.
What is a salted caramel pots de creme?
As the name implies, it’s a french custard—literally, a “pot of cream” (YUM). It’s sometimes chocolatey, 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 all work great. But to make things all the more festive, I love serving mine in cute Spanish-style stemless wine glasses. They’re casual and elegant and show off the custard’s beautiful texture.
Scroll on for the recipe, and be sure to tag @camillestyles on Instagram to show off your sweet masterpiece! I’m pretty sure you’ll love them as much as we do. And don’t forget 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
This post was originally published on December 20, 2020, and has since been updated.
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons 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 F. 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 six 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 creme with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkle of chopped pecans, and a pinch of flaky sea salt. Eat!
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