Butterscotch Pots de Créme is an elegant, French-inspired, make ahead dessert that always brings rave reviews. It’s also crazy delicious!
When grown women fastidiously scrape every last little bit of a dessert from their bowls, you know it’s good! But when they’re finished scraping and they glance at each other (slightly embarrassed), and then proceed to use their fingers to wipe the bowls clean, you know it’s a stellar dessert! That’s exactly what happened last week when I served these Butterscotch Pots de Créme to a cooking class I was teaching (the participants will remain anonymous).
And everyone else who’s tried it has had a similar response. Except, some people moan a little with each silky smooth bite. Seriously, this dessert is that good!
A delicious recipe – simplified
The recipe for these Butterscotch Pots de Créme originated over at Epicurious, where it has received many 5-star accolades. I adapted it a bit to make the process a little easier. No sense in dirtying two pots when you can warm up the cream in the microwave.
I also skipped the fancy sugars that they call for in their recipe (Demerara and muscovado) and used dark brown sugar and granulated sugar. I can’t imagine these little “pots of cream” (the literal French translation of Pots de Créme) being more delicious, so there’s no need to hunt around for specialty products.
And last, after watching my sweet friends go crazy over these Butterscotch Pots de Créme, I decided to increase the proportions slightly to make serving sizes a just a bit larger.
I like to finish these little pots of deliciousness with sprinkle of flaky sea salt (I’m a sucker for Maldon) and a dollop of freshly whipped cream. The salt and cream make a beautiful presentation and the super thin flakes of sea salt add a lovely crunch with each bite. Of course, a little cloud of billowy, freshly whipped cream takes just about any dessert to a heavenly level!
Desserts that can be made in advance are always a big hit for this busy cook, and avoid lots of last minute stress. These Butterscotch Pots de Créme can be made a day or two before serving. Just cool, then cover and refrigerate. I like to take them out of the fridge about an hour before serving to take the chill off – it helps bring out that wonderful butterscotch flavor.
Café Tips for making these Butterscotch Pots de Créme
- This recipe calls for 6 egg yolks. What do you do with all those whites? There are lots of recipes that call for just the whites of the egg like these delicious and beautiful Schaum Tortes. Or how about a batch of these pretty and fun Red Velvet Meringues? If you don’t want to use the whites within a few days, just pop them in the freezer. They’ll be good there for up to 12 months! Before freezing, place the whites in an air tight container and label with the date. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Don’t try to slim this recipe down. It’s not a “dieter’s delight” recipe, but rather, an elegant, special occasion dessert and a splurge in regard to calories. If you’re watching every calorie, save this dessert for a celebration down the road or just make something else that’s lower in calories (like the Schaum Tortes I referred to above). All this being said, it’s worth every luxurious calorie! (You might want to have some pity on me. I had to make these delicious pots de crème several times to get them just right, for you. Now I’m having to do double and triple laps on my morning walks!)
- Don’t skip the straining step, just before baking these Butterscotch Pots de Créme. That’s part of what makes them so silky smooth!
- There are lots of different options for pots de crème serving dishes. Have fun choosing something perfect for your style of entertaining:
Special little “pots de crème” pots are designed specifically for this dessert. They can be simple or quite fancy and come in a range of prices. They usually have a cute little lid and are always oven-safe. (images are clickable)Small ramekins are perfect for pots de crème. They can be round, oval, low or high sided, just don’t use anything larger than 4-6-ounces (images are clickable). Like to keep things simple? 4-ounce mason jars make a fun, casual presentation for pots de crème.
My favorite? These charming little Weck jars. Made in Germany, Weck jars can be used for jams, jellies, sauces and make wonderful gifts, filled with – whatever you love to make! They come in lots of different shapes and sizes but I love these pretty Weck Tulip jars.
- This dessert can be made one to two days in advance. When cool, cover and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator one hour before serving.
- If using a deeper container for your Pots de Crème (like my favorite Weck jars, pictured above) it’s a little harder to add a pretty dollop of whipped cream without making a mess. I like to put my whipped cream in a pastry bag or zip lock bag, snip off a corner and dollop neatly right into the jars like this:
So, if you’re looking for a crazy delicious, French-inspired, scrape-the-bowl-clean dessert, pick up some heavy cream and dark brown sugar next time you’re at the market. You probably have everything else you need for these wonderful Butterscotch Pots de Créme. Expect lots of compliments – and moans!
Butterscotch Pots de Créme is an elegant, French-inspired, make ahead dessert that always brings rave reviews. It's also crazy delicious!
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- flaky sea salt for garnish (I love Maldon)
- freshly whipped cream
- Preheat oven to 300˚F with a rack in the middle position. Place six 4-6-ounce ramekins in a 2-inch sided baking pan.
- Whisk together cream and dark brown sugar in a medium size microwave-safe bowl (preferably, with a pouring spout). Cook on high power for 4 minutes, until mixture is just starting to simmer. Remove from microwave and set aside.
Bring water and granulated sugar to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until water has been reduced and mixture forms large bubbles and turns a medium amber color. This should take about 5-6 minutes. If the color is not changing at 5 minutes, increase the heat. Watch the mixture carefully, once it begins to turn color, as it will change quickly.
Remove from heat. Carefully add cream mixture (mixture will bubble up and steam) to sugar/water mixture and whisk until combined. If caramel mixture does not completely dissolve, return pot to heat and stir for a minute or two until dissolved.
In the empty bowl (where the cream mixture was) combine egg yolks and vanilla. Add the egg yolks in a SLOW, STEADY stream to the cream mixture, whisking continuously. (Adding the eggs slowly will keep them from scrambling in the hot cream mixture.)
Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve back into the egg yolk bowl. Skim off any foam with a spoon. Divide custard among ramekins or pots. Pour hot water into the pan the ramekins are in to reach about half way up the sides. Bake, uncovered, until custards are set around edges, but still tremble slightly in centers, about 35-40 minutes.
Cool to room temperature in water bath. Pots de crème will continue to set as they cool. If not serving within a few hours, cover and refrigerate.
Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious