Butterscotch Pots de Créme is an elegant, French-inspired, make ahead dessert that always brings rave reviews. It's also crazy delicious!
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