Butterscotch Pots de Creme with Salted Caramel

October 26, 2015
5 Ratings
Photo by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This is the single, most talked about item we sell at Gjelina. Since we work tremendously hard on our entire menu, we would love to see some of this attention go to our more recent creations. But our butterscotch pots de crème inspire childlike wonder, giving us reason enough to continue serving them after all these years. 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. —Travis Lett

What You'll Need
  • For the pots de crème:
  • 9 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Buttermilk Crème Fraîche
  • Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
  • For the Buttermilk Crème Fraîche:
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  1. For the pots de crème:
  2. Preheat the oven to 300°F [150°C]. Arrange eight ramekins or custard pots with a ¾-cup [180-ml] capacity in a large, shallow baking pan. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large liquid measuring cup or pitcher. Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, cook the brown sugar and butter, without stir¬ring, until the sugar turns a deep amber color and develops a nutty smell, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour the heavy cream into the mixture gradually (and carefully, to avoid hot spatters), whisking constantly. Remove from the heat. Add the kosher salt, and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture. Stir to combine.
  4. Slowly pour the hot butterscotch mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Strain the custard through the sieve into the measuring cup. Pour into the ramekins, dividing the custard evenly. Pour hot water into the baking pan until it reaches halfway up the outside of the ramekins, and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Rotate the pan and continue to bake for 15 minutes more, or just until the cus¬tard has set and doesn’t jiggle with you shake the pan. Remove the pan from the oven, uncover, and, using tongs, carefully lift the custards from the water bath and set on a cooling rack. (The custards can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
  5. To make the caramel sauce: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the granulated sugar, water, and kosher salt and cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns red-brown in color, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the heavy cream, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth. Set aside until ready to use.
  1. For the Buttermilk Crème Fraîche:
  2. In a 1-qt [1-L] jar, combine the cream and buttermilk. Partially cover and let stand in a warm spot (about 78°F [28°C]) until the cream tastes slightly sour and has thickened to a puddinglike consistency, 24 hours to 3 days.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

5 Reviews

[email protected] December 13, 2022
I’ve made this multiple times and it is wonderful. The recipe may not be separated to show that the last bit of heavy cream is for the caramel. But if you have any knowledge of baking you can see where everything goes. I have not had any issues.
Raas J. November 30, 2019
It is very notable that the only positive reviews for this recipe are from people who admit they have not even tried cooking it yet. The ingredients list is disordered and does not have clear separation for the caramel sauce. The use of volume-based measuring is problematic with these ingredients - It should at least have weight-based measurements in addition. Everybody knows that you should cook sugar to a specific temperature, not a specific color, especially one as vague as “amber”. So go ahead and use this recipe if you want a burnt sugar flavor in which you probably added too much salt because you were following the ingredients list. Luckily Pots de Creme are quick and easy so I only lost 10 minutes and nine eggs. I seriously hope you don’t actually follow this recipe at your fancy restaurant. Rant over.
karens December 6, 2020
Obviously you don't cook much or you'd understand this recipe perfectly.
Jenn December 7, 2017
I had your pot de deliciousness years ago while traveling and visiting family in the area. The entire meal was hands down one of the best that I still remember. I came across this recipe while searching for a special dessert to make for Christmas dinner. I cannot wait to make it!! Thanks for sharing.
beejay45 November 3, 2015
Both my parents cooked, but my dad stuck to certain specialties. I don't know when, where or from whom he learned to make his famous (among extended family and friends) Butterscotch Pudding, but he was the master. I've never made it and haven't eaten it since the last time I had his. Thanks for the upscale recipe. I'll give it try and see if it matches up to his. ;)