Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Butterscotch Pots de Creme

Butterscotch Pots de Creme

The first time I had these pots de creme was at my brother and sister-in-law's house. It was a few days after Christmas, and I was only there because our father had fallen ill, and I had to make an emergency trip. Heidi had made the pots de creme for dessert for their Christmas dinner, but they hadn't turned out. Being the culinary perfectionist she is, Heidi needed a do-over, and I'm so glad she did. This dessert can only be described as sweet, creamy, salty heaven on a spoon. It's smooth and intensely flavorful. Just amazing. 

It's not something one would make regularly because it's so very rich. But today, I'm making it because I'm on summer break, and it's been a ridiculously hard year (that I won't go into). Suffice it to say, my soul needs to make these, so that's what I'm doing. 

The original recipe calls for a scant tablespoon of fine sea salt, but that's just a little too much salt for my taste. If you like more salt, go for the whole scant tablespoon. 

Butterscotch Pots de Crème with Salted Caramel Sauce
    --Adapted from who got it from Food and Wine Magazine

Pots de Crème 
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 5 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • Boiling water
  • Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe below)
  • Whipped cream for serving
  • finishing salt, if desired (I used Balinese Pyramid Sea Salt from All Spice in Des Moines)
For the Pots de Crème:
  • Preheat the oven to 325° Fahrenheit. 
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and cook over medium high heat, whisking constantly, until smooth and bubbling, about 5 minutes. 
  • Gradually whisk in the cream. Return the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. 
  • Add the salt and vanilla seeds.
  • In a large heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Whisk in a few tablespoons of the hot cream mixture, and then gradually pour and whisk in the remaining hot cream. 
  • Strain the custard into a measuring cup with a spout, and then pour into eight 6-ounce ramekins. 
  • Set the ramekins in a small roasting pan and place it in the middle of the oven. Fill the roasting pan with enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour, until the custards are set but still slightly wobbly in the center. Transfer the ramekins to a baking sheet and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours.
  • Once cold, top each custard cup of creme with 2-3 teaspoons of the cooled caramel sauce (or more, if you'd like). Sprinkle with some finishing salt, if desired. 
  • When ready to serve, top with a dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream.

Salted Caramel Sauce 
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp heavy cream
Instructions for Caramel Sauce:
  • In a large size sauce pan over medium heat, mix the sugar, water, and salt. Stir the mixture until nearly all of the sugar has dissolved into the water. 
  • Turn the heat up to medium high. Cover the pan until you hear it start to bubble and boil, and then uncover it so you can watch the color. Do not stir.
  • Boil the sugar and water mixture over medium high heat until it reaches a clear amber brown color. Do not stir the mixture while it’s boiling. Wash down the sides with pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming.  This will take about 10-15 minutes, but be sure to watch the pan closely so it does not burn.
  • Once the deep amber color has been achieved remove the pan immediately from the heat and turn off the burner. Carefully add the heavy cream to the pan. Cream will bubble up immediately and then settle down. Stir continuously with either a whisk or silicone spatula until all of the caramel has dissolved into the cream.
  • Allow the caramel to cool for at least 30 minutes before eating/using on the pots de creme.

Today I used 4 oz canning jars, not ramekins.
I made 2/3 recipe today, so there are fewer jars here than normal.

I had to taste the pan leavings. Just as tasty warm and liquidy.

I almost forgot to take a pic before they baked.

Beautiful. I think these were in the full hour and they are perfect.

I had more custard than I'd planned for, so I threw in a Pampered Chef glass bowl.

Refrigerated and ready for the caramel sauce.

This is the color you want before you add the cream for the cream sauce.
Notice how it's more golden and the pic below is brown.

This sugar has gone too far and tastes burned in the resulting sauce. :(

You can see the difference in color between
the perfect sauce on the left and the burned sauce on the right.

Just about 2-3 teaspoons of caramel sauce on top.

Jars can be lidded and refrigerated until ready to serve or share.

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