This make-ahead dessert is perfect for the holidays: impressive enough to end a celebratory feast, and easy enough that you can keep your cool while hosting (or steal the show if you're tasked with bringing dessert). If you're really in a rush, top these beauties with an abundance of fresh raspberries—though the raspberry pink peppercorn sauce adds a depth of flavor that's worth the tiny extra effort. —Sarah Owens
Preheat your oven to 325° F. Place 6 small ramekins (or heat-proof juice glasses) in a baking dish at least 3 inches deep. Set a kettle of water to boil.
Break the white chocolate into small even pieces in a medium bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until thoroughly combined. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon extract, and salt and set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream and milk over medium heat until you notice bubbles breaking the sides of the pan—about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour over the white chocolate pieces, stirring until the chocolate has melted. Then slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking vigorously while doing so.
Once combined, pour the custard into the ramekins (or glasses) leaving at least a ½-inch of space from the top. Place in the oven and carefully pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins (or glasses). Carefully cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the mixture has set around the edges but is still slightly soft in the middle—the custard will continue to set as they cool.
Remove from the water bath and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes before covering and placing in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
For the Raspberry Sauce
Place the berries, apple juice, pink peppercorn, cardamom, and salt into a blender. Blend on high to create a thick sauce. Transfer to a lidded container and store in the refrigerator until use, up to two days in advance.
To serve the pots de crème, pour a generous layer of the raspberry sauce on the chilled ramekins and top with whipped cream, fresh berries, a sprig of mint, and a sprinkling of pink peppercorn.
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.