Rich, creamy, and decadent, these luscious French pots de crème (literally, “pots of cream”) are the perfect make-ahead ending to an indulgent meal. This recipe calls for 6-ounce ramekins. You can use any size ovenproof dish or dishes you prefer, just keep in mind that the cooking time—and final yield, of course—will vary. You can make these little custards up to 4 days ahead of time.
- Yield: 12 (1/2-cup) servings
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: 1 hr 30 mins, plus chilling time
- Active: 30 mins
- 1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 12 large egg yolks
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Fleur de sel or other coarse gray salt, for garnishing
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Combine 1 1/2 cups of the brown sugar, the measured salt, corn syrup, and about 1/4 cup water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring with a whisk, until the mixture boils. Continue to cook until the bubbles become larger and start to pop more slowly, taking care that the sugar doesn’t burn, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the cream and milk, whisking until the sugar is completely mixed with the liquids. Set aside.
- Whisk together the egg yolks, the remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and the vanilla in a large bowl. Slowly ladle the cream mixture into the egg mixture while continuing to blend with a whisk. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve to remove any bits of undissolved sugar. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the custard so it’s directly touching the surface, then carefully remove the plastic wrap. This will remove the foam that you created while whisking. Use a large spoon to lift out any remaining bubbles.
- Arrange the ramekins in a deep baking dish or roasting pan. Use a ladle to pour the custard into the little pots or ramekins. Fill the pan halfway up the sides with hot water. Cover the pan with foil and bake until the custards barely jiggle in the middle, about 40 minutes for 6-ounce ramekins.
- Cool in the water bath to help the custards finish setting. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and chill until cold, at least 3 hours. Lightly sprinkle each ramekin with coarse gray salt just before serving.