Weekly Swoon: Butterscotch Pots de Crème
A butterscotch rē•spin of a classic indulgence.
This time of year, it’s difficult not to have dessert on the mind. ‘Tis the season of cookie exchanges, gingerbread houses, endless fruit and nut pies, and even a cake or two. But have you ever experienced the burning desire to try something new, to test out your culinary prowess on the holiday menu? A new dessert — specifically, Butterscotch Pots de Crème — is a great way to spice up your celebration without bidding tradition adieu.
The old-school chef turns to vanilla or chocolate when making this dessert, but we encourage you to experiment with different flavors. Perfect for a holiday party or to serve as a finale at your holiday dinner, this recipe brings together the rich sweetness of butterscotch with toasted kasha and salted caramel, finding the tastiest middle ground between sweet and savory. These little custards will be a hit — everything about them screams celebration!
Makes 6 Servings
For the Pots De Crème
- 2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream
- 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and scraped
- ½ stick (2 ounces/55 g) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup (165 g) packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- Flaky sea salt, for serving
- Unsweetened fresh whipped cream, for serving
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, toasted, for serving
- 1 recipe Toasted Kasha for serving
For the Caramel Sauce
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Make the Pots De Crème:
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 300ºF (150˚C).
- Put six (6-ounce/180-ml) ramekins into a baking pan.
- Bring the cream and milk to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan and then remove from heat.
- Add the vanilla bean seeds and pod, cover, and infuse while you prepare the custard.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar.
- Cook, without stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is amber-hued, the consistency of sand, and smells mildly nutty.
- Discard the vanilla pod and slowly whisk in the cream and milk over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the salt.
- Bring a kettle of water to a boil and then set it aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they are pale and thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Add the cream mixture in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly, until it’s fully combined with the yolks.
- Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then divide it evenly among the ramekins; each one should be about three-quarters full.
- Skim away any foam from the surface.
- Fill the baking pan with the hot water until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Cover the pan with foil and prick the foil with a fork.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the custards are set on the sides but still jiggle in the center.
- Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
- Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Make the caramel sauce:
- In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water over medium heat.
- Cook, swirling occasionally until the sugar has dissolved.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid to a boil, gently swirling but never stirring it.
- If the sugar starts to crystallize, use a pastry brush dipped in water to wipe down the sides of the pan.
- After about five minutes, when the sugar is deep amber, remove it from the heat and whisk in the cream, butter, salt, tahini, and lemon juice.
- Set aside and let it cool to room temperature.
- Before serving, bring the custards to room temperature.
- Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve topped with a dollop of whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, a sprinkle of toasted kasha, and sesame seeds.