Jan 22, 2017

Salted Butterscotch Pots de Crème

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
The custard has a rich velvety texture similar to crème brûlée and the flavor is a light butterscotch that borders on caramel.

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This butterscotch pot de creme recipe may just be my favorite dessert ever. The name “pot de crème” translates to “pot of cream.” The custard has a rich velvety texture similar to crème brûlée and the flavor is a light butterscotch that borders on caramel. It’s thicker than pudding and I don’t have any other way to describe it other than luxurious.

I particularly love the balance of the homemade whipped cream on top with flake sea salt, which offsets the sweetness of the custard. I originally had a similar dessert at the hotspot Gjelina in Venice. Since it is difficult to get reservations at the restaurant, I knew I had to find a way to recreate it at home. Plus I knew that I would be so sad if they took it off the menu and it was taken away from me before I got to recreate it.

Salted Butterscotch Pots de Crème

salted butterscotch pots de creme with sea salt and whipped cream

Why Cook Custard in a Water Bath?

Cooking the individual ramekins of custard in a water bath, also called a bain marie, helps the custard to cook evenly. This method is ideal for delicate mixtures like custard or cheesecake. The even cooking at a more constant temperature keeps cracks from forming in the surface caused by rapid expansion of the mixture.

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Egg yolks – The egg yolks are what give the custard its rich flavor and creamy texture.
  • Turbinado sugar – Also known as sugar in the raw, it’s minimally processed, evident in the larger granules. It comes from the first pressing of sugar cane and thus retains that natural, richer flavor.
  • Muscovado sugar – Muscovado sugar is an unrefined cane sugar made with molasses. It has a higher molasses content than dark brown sugar and is made with larger granules. If needed, dark brown sugar can be used as a subtitute though it will have a slightly milder flavor. Muscovado sugar and turbinado sugar can be found in the baking section of Whole Foods stores and online here and here.
  • Whipped cream – While store bought whipped cream can be substituted for homemade whipped cream, the less sugary and richer homemade version better compliments the dessert.
  • Sea salt – Coarse sea salt has a crunchy pyramid shape making it a wonderful finishing salt. I particularly like Maldon or Jacobson brand salts. In this dessert it contrasts the sweet custard well.
pots de creme with whipped cream and maldon sea salt

How to Make Butterscotch Pots de Creme

  1. Heat oven. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150ºC).
  2. Dissolve the dark sugar in the cream. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring 1½ cups of heavy cream, muscovado sugar, and salt to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from heat.
  3. Dissolve the light sugar in water and add cream. In another medium saucepan over medium heat, bring 6 tablespoons water and Turbinado sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Continue to simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it is bubbly and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat then slowly add the cream mixture, whisking until combined.
  4. Make the custard. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolks and vanilla. Slowly add the cream mixture in a steady stream, whisking until thoroughly combined. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium mixing bowl. Skim off any foam with a spoon and discard.
  5. Divide custard in ramekins. Evenly divide the custard among the ramekins. Arrange the ramekins in a roasting pan and add boiling water until the ramekins are covered about half way up.
  6. Bake the custard. Bake in the hot water bath until the custards are set around the edges but not fully cooked through, about 40 minutes.
  7. Cool. Transfer the ramekins to a rack and let cool. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. The custard will continue to set as it cools.
  8. Make the whipped cream. While the pots de crème cool, add the remaining cup of cream to a medium mixing bowl and whisk until the cream forms stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  9. Assemble and serve. Serve the pot de crème chilled. Top each with whipped cream and sprinkle sea salt over top.
closeup pots de creme

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • The dessert is perfect for small dinner parties – pots de crème are always a hit. Because they take a little while to cool I will often make them the day before so that dessert is one less thing on my mind when I prepare to cook for a group of people.
  • Since the recipe only calls for egg yolks, rather than discarding the egg whites I save them to make meringue cookies, like these.
salted butterscotch pot de creme eating with spoon

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Salted Butterscotch Pots de Crème

Print Pin
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Serves 6

Equipment:

  • 4 (8-ounce) ramekins

Ingredients:

  • cups heavy cream divided
  • 6 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Maldon sea salt, for serving

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150ºC).
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring 1½ cups of heavy cream, muscovado sugar, and salt to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from heat.
  • In another medium saucepan over medium heat, bring 6 tablespoons water and Demerara sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Continue to simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it is bubbly and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat then slowly add the cream mixture, whisking until combined.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolks and vanilla. Slowly add the cream mixture in a steady stream, whisking until thoroughly combined. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium mixing bowl. Skim off any foam with a spoon and discard.
  • Evenly divide the custard among the ramekins. Arrange the ramekins in a roasting pan and add boiling water until the ramekins are covered about half way up.
  • Bake in the hot water bath until the custards are set around the edges but not fully cooked through, about 40 minutes.
  • Transfer the ramekins to a rack and let cool. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. The custard will continue to set as it cools.
  • While the pots de crème cool, add the remaining cup of cream to a medium mixing bowl and whisk until the cream forms stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Serve the pot de crème chilled. Top each with whipped cream and sprinkle sea salt over top.

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*Note: dark muscovado sugar and demerara sugar can be found in the baking section of Whole Foods stores and online here and here. Dark brown sugar can be used as a substitute for the dark muscavado sugar.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com

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