French for “pot of cream,” this dessert is a luxuriously creamy custard. Some people describe it as the “ultimate pudding,” but somehow “pudding” seems too rustic a word to describe something so small and genteel. Indeed, practically any dessert baked in a ramekin somehow ups the fancy factor a notch — and there are some people who are suckers for individually-sized desserts.
Going through this month’s entry for Sugar High Friday, which is all about custard, I got a hankering for … you guessed it, custard. I decided to ignore it, but you know how cravings are sometimes; as Morrissey sang in his 1994 song, “The more you ignore me, the closer I get.” You get the picture.
Oh, to be a slave to one’s cravings! I wanted something quick and not too involved, but I also didn’t want to settle for a pudding. My tongue yearned to be caressed by a texture so smooth.
Pot de crÃ¨me is a simple matter of measuring and mixing. If you can stir, you can make this dessert. Texture is everything with custards, and you can only get that through a delicate and even balance among the ingredients. The recipe I used calls for two eggs and two yolks. I’ve seen other recipes that call for all egg yolks. All the fat in an egg is in the yolk, so more yolks will mean a richer custard, but some people detest the somewhat “eggy” taste. (I for one, have no problem with it). Custards using all yolks will also take longer to bake since yolks cook more slowly than whole eggs.
There are special pot de crÃ¨me cups, which are tiny cups with a lid. They’re cute little things but highly unnecessary if you’ve got ramekins or even tea cups. I used my 4-ounce ramekins and baked these in a water bath for 30 minutes.
Since there is only 1/3 cup of sugar in this recipe, these pot de crÃ¨mes were not too sweet at all. They’re usually served chilled, but I prefer my custards hot or warm. These satiated my craving, but next time I will use yolks only. These pot de crÃ¨mes’ texture was similar to taho (soft soy bean curd), but satisfying nevertheless.