San Francisco Bay Area chefs can be wildly inventive when flavoring pots de crÃ¨me, the silky baked custards served in small pots. Ginger, bittersweet chocolate, dulce de leche (milk-based caramel) and espresso are among the pot de crÃ¨me flavors that turn up on menus, but Meyer lemon—the fragrant citrus that thrives in local backyards—is perhaps the most inviting. Achieving a velvety texture with pots de crÃ¨me takes some attention. If you overcook them, they will be overly firm once chilled. Make sure they are still quivery when you remove them from the oven.
Serve with a late-harvest dessert wine, such as Muscat.
Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma and adapted from Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World series, San Francisco, by Janet Fletcher (Oxmoor House, 2004).
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons grated Meyer lemon zest (from about 4 large lemons)
- 8 egg yolks
- For the sauce: 3/4 cup raspberries
- 2 teaspoons superfine sugar
- 1 Preheat an oven to 300°F. Have a pot of boiling water ready.
- 2 In a small nonreactive saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the cream, milk, granulated sugar, salt and lemon zest and bring slowly to a simmer. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended. Gradually add the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-quart measuring pitcher, and press on the zest with a rubber spatula to extract the flavor.
- 3 Place six 3/4-cup custard cups in a baking dish just large enough to hold them without touching. Divide the custard mixture evenly among the cups. Carefully pour boiling water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake the custards until barely set, 35 to 37 minutes. They should still jiggle a little in the center; they will firm as they cool.
- 4 Remove the cups from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 8 hours.
- 5 To make the sauce, in a food processor, combine the raspberries and superfine sugar and process until smooth. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing firmly on the solids with a rubber spatula. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours.
- 6 About 30 minutes before serving, remove the pots de crème from the refrigerator. Pass the chilled raspberry sauce separately. Serves 6.