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Today: Traditional French Pots de Crème sound, look, and taste fancy -- but they're quite simple, infinitely adaptable, and easily made ahead. Get started with Yossy's wintry juniper-and-honey variation.
Pot de crème is a classic baked french custard that is a lot like crème brûlée, minus the crackly top. While the name of the dessert is impressive, the ingredient list is short and it is actually quite simple to prepare. These can even be made up to a day in advance, making them the perfect party dessert.
More: If you're jonesing for a crackly top, here are some tips for making classic crème brûlée.
Chocolate pots de crème are quite common and quite delicious, but this time of year, I think the combination of juniper berries' woodsy, citrusy flavor and the sweetness of honey is particularly nice. If you’d prefer to skip the juniper, you can infuse the cream mixture with another spice, or skip it altogether.
This recipe will make 4 to 6 pots de crème, depending on the size of your ramekins, and you can easily double it to serve a crowd.
Serves 4 to 6
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup mild-flavored honey
2 tablespoons dried juniper berries, lightly crushed
6 large egg yolks
Whipped cream, sea salt, and toasted pine nuts, to serve
In a medium saucepan combine the heavy cream, milk, honey, juniper berries, and salt. Bring to a low simmer and turn off the heat. Let steep for 30 minutes then strain out the berries.
While the cream steeps, preheat oven to 300° F, put a kettle of water on to boil, and arrange ramekins in a baking dish.
Whisk the egg yolks until well combined, then whisk the warm cream mixture into the egg yolks. Divide the mixture into ramekins.
Put the baking dish onto the oven rack and fill the dish with about 1 inch of boiling water; the water should reach about halfway up the ramekins. Tent the dish with foil and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the custards are set, but still jiggle slightly in the center. Cool the custards for at least 2 hours and up to overnight before serving.
Garnish with a light sprinkle of sea salt, a dollop of whipped cream, and a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts.
Photos by Yossy Arefi