“From the French have come many excellent things… Take the pots de creme, for instance: a truly decadent preparation that is quite possibly the king of desserts.” — Anonymous
Pots de crème (or pots-au-crème) translates to “pots of cream” or “pots of custard,” owing to the cute little pots or cups in which this traditional French custard is served. Dating from the 17th century, it’s a lighter, looser version of modern-day custard — creamier and richer than pudding and mousse, and not as firm as a baked custard or flan. Made by baking real cream, milk and eggs together in little cups in a low-temperature water bath, these are truly divine experiences of texture and taste.
A creamy combination of chocolate and peppermint
Making a fancy French dessert is much easier than you probably think! The traditional flavors are vanilla and chocolate, but you can choose to suit your palate. This recipe uses the festive combination of holiday mint and chocolate, but once you have the hang of it, you can make them in caramel, pumpkin, almond, coffee or fresh fruit flavors.
This recipe was created by Jessica Cuff, who works at the quaintest little coffee shop you have ever seen: The Coffee Shop at Agritopia, in Gilbert, Arizona. The atmosphere is cozy, and the food and drinks are made-from-scratch delicious.
In this recipe, Jessica gives the traditional French dessert some festive holiday flair. The cream and milk are infused with the flavor of fresh peppermint leaves to create a refreshing mint cream. White chocolate ganache and dark chocolate meet to satisfy the sweet tooth of any chocolate lover. A sprinkling of peppermint and a sprig of mint add a seasonal touch.
Chocolate-peppermint pots de crème
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 cups fresh mint leaves
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 8 ounces, or 1 cup, high-quality dark chocolate, chopped
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Mini candy canes for garnish (optional)
For the white chocolate ganache
- 4 ounces, or 1/2 cup, high-quality white chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup chilled heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Bring cream and milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add mint and steep for 1 hour. Strain and return to pan.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk yolks and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Bring mint cream to a boil; add dark chocolate. Remove from heat and whisk until melted. Return to a boil. Gradually whisk into yolk mixture. Strain into medium pitcher. Add salt.
- Place 6 ramekins in a large baking dish or roasting pan. Divide mint custard among ramekins.
- Pour hot water into dish halfway up sides of ramekins. Cover baking dish with a sheet of parchment paper. Bake custards until just set in center, about 40 minutes. Let cool in water bath. Cover; chill at least 2 hours or overnight.
- For white chocolate ganache, stir white chocolate in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Whisk in cream, vanilla and salt. Cover; chill until cold, about 2 hours.
- When ready to serve, pour ganache over chilling pots. Garnish with a mini candy cane. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information: Approximate values per serving: 826 calories, 70 g fat, 378 mg cholesterol, 11 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 440 mg sodium, 76 percent calories from fat
Recipe provided courtesy of the Arizona Republic/USA TODAY NETWORK
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More about these delicious desserts
Originally, the custards were served in a crust, but they evolved to be served in little decorative pots with lids, which were highly decorated and highly prized for their beauty. There is even a virtual museum featuring hundreds of elaborate and beautiful Petit Pots on the Gourmet Sleuth website.
The simple ingredients blend to create a silky and dense dessert that packs a lot of flavor into an adorable container. You don’t have to have a collection of antique heirloom petit pots to create a pretty presentation for your dessert. Just get creative! You can use ramekins, mason jars, clear juice glasses, shot glasses, small dessert bowls, punch cups, tea cups or even coffee mugs. Here we have used a clear glass so that the eyes can also feast on the beautiful layers of this creamy dessert, but you can use any containers that can withstand a little heat.
This dessert is as pretty to look at as it is fun to eat, and makes the perfect conclusion to any holiday meal!