vanilla bean pots de crème

Portland is at the tail end of a snowstorm that’s left me homebound for five days.  I usually don’t mind extra (especially mandatory) time off work, but the snow and ice are plenty enough to intimidate my spaceship off the road, so even though I’m within walking distance to everything I could possibly need, I haven’t been able to go to the craft store!  Snowed in AND no crafting material?! Un.  Acceptable.  I can, however, make use of the kitchen.  The guarantee of an imminent face stuffing was ample recourse for cabin fever.  Problem solved.

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The first time I made pots de crème, I was in a Springy mood and made honey lavender.  So easy, and they turned out wonderful, but today I went with a classic, and my absolute favorite– vanilla bean!  I also didn’t have ingredients for any of the other flavors I imagined, and didn’t feel like putting my face on to walk to the market.

Pots de crème are basically crème brûlée without the burnt sugar top.  For that I need a torch, which I don’t have, but is amongst other things, on my birthday wish list.  I sure hope a certain someone is reading and taking notes because time’s a tickin’!

On to our mini baked custards…

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Materials (makes 6 4-ounce ramekins)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 egg yolks
1 Tbsp vanilla extract or paste
1 vanilla bean, scraped

 

Protocol
1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees, and set a pot of water to boil.
2. Beat the yolks and set aside.
3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the cream, milk, sugar, salt, vanilla bean and caviar scraped from the vanilla bean.  Bring to a gentle simmer, remove from heat and allow to steep for about 20 minutes.
4. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk, and discard or repurpose in a jar of sugar.
5. Whisk the warm milk into the egg yolks, add vanilla extract or paste, and dispense evenly between the ramekins.
6. Place the ramekins into a 9×13 baking pan, and add enough boiling water to come about halfway up the ramekins.
7. Tent the baking dish with a piece of foil, and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until set.  Custards should be solid at edges, and jiggly in the center (they’ll become more solid as they cool).  Cool at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until serving.
8. Garnish with fresh whipped cream, or not.  Yummy either way.

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