Caramel Pot Au Crème

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This delicate custard recipe by Nicholas Calias is a French classic that makes for a great petite dessert offering even after a lavish dinner. Full of bright, toasty caramel notes and finished with a pinch of sea salt, this dish will leave your guests scraping the bottom of their cups for every last bit. Be careful not to overcook the custard. It should wiggle gently when shaken.


Servings: 6


  • 3 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon finishing salt
  • 1 teaspoon crème fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean


For pot au crème
  1. Mix together three cups heavy cream and milk in a large bowl. Whisk together corn starch, eggs, and yolks and set aside.
  2. Stir together sugar, 1/2 cup water and salt in heavy bottom saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Turn heat up and boil without stirring until thick and amber color, swirl pot if needed or brush sides down with a wet brush.
  3. After seven minutes or when amber color is established, immediately add cream and milk mixture. Be careful, mixture will bubble. Stir to dissolve.
  4. Temper hot mixture into eggs by taking your hot milk mixture and, working with just a few teaspoons at a time, pouring it into the eggs, whisking continuously. Keep adding milk in very small increments until all of it has been added. Strain the egg mixture through a fine-mesh sieve back into your saucepan, removing any bits of egg that might have cooked. (For more information on tempering, research the method online)
  5. Return to pot and whisk over medium heat until it boils and thickens (about two minutes). Remove from heat, add butter and rum.
  6. Strain and divide into ramikens and chill until the mixture cools and sets.
For the caramel
  1. Place 3/4 cup heavy cream in small sauce pan, scrape in vanilla bean. Simmer and add butter. Set aside.
  2. Stir sugar, corn syrup, and two tablespoons of water in heavy bottom sauce pan. Bring to simmer until sugar dissolves.
  3. Increase heat to medium high without stirring until amber color is achieved. Brush down sides if needed, about six minutes.
  4. Immediately whisk in cream mixture. Stir to dissolve and chill in ice bath.
To assemble
  1. Garnish with caramel, sea salt, and a dollop of crème fraiche.

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