White Chocolate

Pots de Crème are the Easiest Make-Ahead Holiday Dessert

November 14, 2017

Did you know that October through November is peak raspberry season? That makes sweet-tart raspberries perfect for adding color and punch to fall dishes. This Thanksgiving, we've partnered with Driscoll's to brighten up the traditional holiday table.

Entertaining during the holiday season starts with the best of intentions, but can easily spiral into an overly ambitious affair, especially once dessert enters the equation. And so the perennial question arises: "What can I make for dessert that will be elegant and impressive at the dinner table—and will keep me elegant and impressive (rather than completely frazzled)?"

Enter pots de crème, the velvety smooth, individually sized, make-ahead custard that will provide a seamless ending to a convivial and lingering meal. This recipe for White Chocolate Pots de Crème with Raspberry Pink Peppercorn Sauce is enhanced with a hint of lemon and is a perfect pairing with bright fruits such as raspberries, adding a welcome edge of freshness to the end of a multi-course menu. Once baked, they can chill and hold in the refrigerator for up to two days before their unveiling—one less thing you have to think about.

What's hiding under all those raspberries and cream? White chocolate custard, baby. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Pots de crème are a great dessert to have in your back pocket in general, but especially at the holidays. Because you make these custards ahead of time, you can prep them days in advance of serving for stress-free dessert. If you're bringing dessert to someone else's dinner party or a potluck, simply grab them from the fridge, pop the ramekins in a hotel pan or to-go casserole carrier and hit the road. And if you've got the whole family over, pots de crème are easy enough to prepare that you can get all the kids involved—a family dessert affair.

You can garnish these beauties with a wisp of cream and a few fresh berries, but this dessert is much more memorable topped with a bright sauce laced with pink peppercorns: their light peppery flavor lends a hint of citrus to the sauce and can be used as a decorative garnish before piling on fresh berries. Make sure you source quality ingredients, in particular the white chocolate and juicy raspberries, to ensure this dessert will be talked about until the next holiday gathering!

These pots de crème are visually stunning served in ceramic ramekins, but are even more beautiful if you have a set of transparent juice glasses to show off the layers. The bright raspberry sauce sets off the creamy richness of the white chocolate with a pop of spice from cardamom and pink peppercorns—it's a parade of pink. Your guests will be impressed and you’ll be so pleased with yourself for thinking ahead—chances are, this will become a staple holiday dessert!

Raspberries are at peak freshness from October through November, so we've partnered with Driscoll's to bring you creative ways to brighten up the holiday table with sweet-tart raspberries this Thanksgiving.

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Sarah Owens

Written by: Sarah Owens

Sarah Owens is a New York City based cookbook author, baker, horticulturist, and instructor. She was awarded a James Beard for her first book Sourdough and released her second in August 2017 titled Toast & Jam with Roost Books. Sarah curates private dining events, cooks for public pop-up dinners, and teaches baking and preservation gobally. Her subscription and wholesale bakery BK17bakery.com is located seaside in Rockaway Beach where she also teaches the alchemy and digestive benefits of natural leavening.