Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pot of Gold

I fell in love with that classic French dessert, Pot de Creme, the first time I made it as a culinary student in Paris many years ago, and have been making it ever since. Pot de Creme is rich, really rich, and, when made properly, it is also silky smooth and ultra creamy. I’ve been known to use it as a filling for cakes, cookies and choux pastry (I use half-and-half instead of cream when I’m doing that) but it also stands on its own as an excellent dessert that can be flavored an infinite number of ways. Here I’ve made a Brown Sugar Bourbon version, which will benefit from nothing more than a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. This can be made up to a day ahead and stored, well covered, in the fridge. It's delish, I promise.

Brown Sugar Bourbon Pots de Creme
Makes 6 servings

2 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons bourbon (I use Maker’s Mark)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Arrange 6 ramekins in a baking or roasting pan and set aside.

2. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until just beginning to boil. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks and sugar. Gradually whisk in the hot cream. Whisk in the bourbon and vanilla. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a glass measure with a pouring spout. Divide among prepared ramekins. Cover each ramekin tightly with a piece of foil. Pour hot tap water into the pan (not boiling water) so that it reaches about an inch up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until just set (this will depend on the temperature of water in the bath). Cool completely, then chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with whipped cream, if you like.