I got this really sweet cook book from Boyfriend's mom for Christmas. It's a book of recipe from a San Francisco bakery called Miette. It's full of recipes for pastries, cookies, candies, and other sweet treats, which have so far really been a test of my skill. I've really been in need of a challenge in the kitchen.
This is not to say that I am particularly skilled. In fact, my skill level is intermediate at best. I'm still a rather new home cook so I've spent a lot of time with trial and error so far!
This recipe was no different. I've made it five times total, and I have burned and seized countless batches of caramel (In fact, the pictures from this batch are the result of NINE failed attempts at melting sugar before I found the secret!)
Hopefully I have encountered and mitigated all potential roadblocks for this recipe. I also tweaked it a bit and I believe I made it better =]
The final result was positively magical. I could eat custard every day.
Toasted Caramel Pot de Creme
(Adapted from Miette: Recipes from San Franciscos Most Charming Pastry Shop and Michael Recchiuti)
- 3 ounces milk chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Swiss Milk Chocolate from IKEA!)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 6 large egg yolks
- Whipped Cream for garnish
- Grated Chocolate for garnish
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Bring a large saucepan or kettle full of water to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat; keep the water at a simmer.
- Lay a kitchen towel (Or doubled-up paper towels) in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Arrange 6 (6-ounce) ramekins 1/2 inch apart on the towel. Set aside.
- Fill a small bowl with water and have a pastry brush ready.
- Combine the cream and milk in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; remove from the heat, set aside, and cover to keep it warm
- Combine the sugar, 2 tablespoons of water, and lemon juice in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan (make sure to use a saucepan between 2 1/2 and 3 quarts in size) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir until it is combined well and the sugar begins to dissolve. DO NOT CONTINUE TO STIR IT. This will agitate your sugar and cause it to seize.
- Continue to cook the sugar, without stirring. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush away any sugar crystals clinging to the sides of the pan. Cook until the mixture turns a dark amber color, about 4 to 6 minutes. Keep a close eye on it, as it may brown very rapidly. Immediately remove it from heat.
- While whisking gently, very carefully add about 1/2 cup of the warm cream mixture to the caramel (it will bubble up and sputter so be sure to only add a small amount at a time), making sure to whisk the bottom of the pan, until the bubbles subside. Continue to slowly add the cream mixture 1/2 cup at a time while slowly whisking to incorporate it, until all of the mixture has been added; set aside.
- Whisk the yolks in a small heatproof bowl until blended. While whisking constantly but not too vigorously, slowly pour about 1 cup of the cream mixture into the yolks until combined. Pour the cream-egg mixture back into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Add the chocolate and gently whisk until it’s melted and evenly combined.
- Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large measuring cup or a bowl with a spout and pour in the custard. Remove the strainer and evenly divide the strained custard among the ramekins filling them three-quarters full.
- Being careful not to get any water inside the ramekins, add enough of the simmering water to the roasting pan so that it reaches 1 inch up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Carefully transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the tops of the custards are darkened in color and almost set, about 1 hour. (The entire custard will still jiggle, but it will set as it cools. If it is overcooked, the custard will cool to a rubbery consistency)
- Using tongs and being careful not to get any water inside the ramekins, carefully transfer each custard to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.
- Serve or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, let the custards sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
- Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and grated chocolate.