Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sugar High Weekend Part I: Chocolate-Caramel Pot de Creme

A recipe for pot de creme caught my eye a while back and it's been rattling around in the back of my mind ever since. So I decided to have a go at it this weekend. The recipe comes from Bay Area pastry chef and blogger Shuna Lydon over at Eggbeater, and while she treats this as just one component of a more complicated dessert creation, I'm letting it stand on its own. In lieu of posting the recipe, I'll let you check it out for yourself. The cream caramel can be found here, the pot de creme here.

Making the caramel is the first step, as it's an ingredient of the custard. I used agave syrup in place of light corn syrup, partly because I don't like using corn syrup but also out of curiosity, agave syrup being something I have no experience with. It worked just fine, but agave is a lot sweeter than corn syrup, so I reduced the sugar by 1/4 C. I also upped the water to 1/3 C and the cream to 1 1/2 C to achieve a little more fluid end result. While the recipe calls for consistent high heat, stoves vary by BTU output, and caramel is easy to burn, so be conservative. Here's what burned caramel looks like next to unburned caramel:

The pot de creme itself is a little tricky, but not difficult. Again, you'll want to keep an eye on the heat, especially when cooking the creme anglaise. Even though the egg yolks will have been tempered when they're added to the dairy, they can still curdle if you throw too much heat at them (found this one out the hard way).

So there you have it. Check out the recipes, and give it a try. I warmed up some of the caramel and used it as a sauce, and topped it off with a sprinkling of fleur de sel, which worked out nicely. You can halve the recipes and still wind up with a lot of this in your fridge (btw, if you don't have ramekins, go get some; about six should do), but I don't think you'll have much trouble finding someone to help you out with the leftovers.


Anonymous said...

While yours looks yummy, it doesn't look at all like the one I had at Le Pigeon. LGS

tommy said...

I don't remember all that clearly what Le Pigeon's pdc looked like, but I'm sure it was basically the same thing, which is to say a big ol' blob o' puddin', albeit with more stuff piled on it. If I remember correctly, theirs had malt in it. Gotta play around with malt one of these days...