Caramel pot de crème is a lush, easy delight

Kate Lawson
The Detroit News

Apparently, Mother Nature didn’t get the memo that spring is just around the corner. When I awoke last week to more snow, my spirits plunged along with the temperature.

When I’m in need of comfort or cheering up I always think of pudding — butterscotch pudding to be precise — but I’ve never turned away any kind of pudding, including tapioca and rice pudding. I love to take small spoons full of the silken sweetness to make the moment last, which is unusual for me as I’m a big-fisted, eager eater.

So I went on a web troll and found this lovely recipe for salted caramel pot de crème. Pot de crème is French for pot of cream, a rich, creamy custard served in small cups (about three-ounce size). I cheated just a bit with the recipe, and adjusted it to serve in a couple of four-ounce cups for the two of us. Sprinkled with some flaked sea salt, it made a nice treat to enjoy with our evening snuggled in front of the TV.

Salted Caramel Pot de Creme

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.

6 large egg yolks

3/4 cup granulated white sugar

2 cups heavy cream (or 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and 1/2 cup whole milk)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Flaked sea salt for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl until well blended. Set aside.

In a heavy sauce pan, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water and stir to combine. Begin heating it and stir just to dissolve the sugar. Turn up the heat and boil the mixture without stirring. Continue boiling on medium high heat for anywhere from 5-10 minutes, until the sugar syrup starts to brown. The browner the syrup gets, the more flavor you will have in your finished custard, but be extra careful not to let it burn.

When the syrup is nice and brown, whisk in the cream (be careful, it will spurt) and continue to stir while you lower the heat to medium. The caramel with be hardened at first and will dissolve as the cream heats. Stir just until all the bits of caramel are dissolved, stir in the vanilla.

Slowly drizzle the cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking as you drizzle and whisking until all the cream has been incorporated into the eggs and is smooth.

Pour the mixture into four small oven-safe ramekins. Set the dishes in a baking dish and pour hot water into the dish to come up about an inch or two. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the custards are set on the edges, but still a little wobbly in the center. Let cool and then refrigerate until chilled. Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 644 calories; 52 g fat (30 g saturated fat; 73 percent calories from fat); 40 g carbohydrates; 38 g sugar; 483 mg cholesterol; 104 mg sodium; 7 g protein; 0 g fiber.