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Maple Pots de Crème

October 2, 2010

Oooooh this one’s a winner.

Bookmark it, scribble it down, print it out, write it on your forehead – whatever you have to do – to remind yourself to make this dessert.

I decided to try it to satisfy my craving for maple, which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is not so common in Australia. Maple syrup is outrageously expensive and is of questionable quality. If you are living outside the States or Canada, forget about searching for the perfect Grade B Vermont Pure. Just grab the only non-artificial option on the shelf, open your wallet, close your eyes and think of these pots de crème.

If you are lucky enough to live in a place where maple syrup comes in different grades, sizes and provenances,  you have no excuse. If you’ve never made a pot de crème before, take it from another first timer when I tell you it’s ridiculously easy. In fact, the pleasure : effort ratio might just be the highest I’ve ever come across. Higher even than my stand-by chocolate pudding. Higher than getting up and taking a pint of ice cream out of the freezer? YES! You must believe me! It’s like swimming in a tub of creamy maple syrup and rubbing it all o…achem. Excuse me.

To put it another way: I made an extra pot de crème for the sake of even numbers (we were 5 at dinner) and taking nice, daylight photos. That poor, little extra pot de crème, still warm from its water bath, didn’t last a hot minute. Even though I almost universally prefer desserts once they’ve cooled (or after they’re frozen), and even though these should technically be served at room temperature or slightly chilled, there was absolutely nothing in my power that could’ve made me put that spoon down. So excuse me if the photographic evidence is so lacking. I was immersed a big tub of creamy, maple, custardy, heavenly pudding, and everything else didn’t really matter.

Later that day, after I’d collected myself, I decided that, delicious as they are, these maple custards look kind of plain. I sexed them up a bit by poaching some thin pink lady slices in sugar, water and cinnamon then arranging them on top (as below). Though you could add some cooked apple slices or candied walnuts for show, they are perfect unadorned.

garnished with pink lady

printable recipe

MAPLE POTS DE CRÈME

Recipe from Eggs on Sunday. Serves 4 (recipe can be doubled).

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup maple syrup (Grade B if you can find it)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C.

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream, maple syrup, and salt to a simmer over medium high heat. While the cream mixture is heating, whisk together the egg yolks and vanilla in a large bowl.

Once the cream comes to a simmer, slowly add the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks, little by little, whisking constantly. Once all the cream mixture has been incorporated, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve back into the pot that  you heated the cream in.

Place four oven-proof ramekins in a baking dish with walls. Divide the mixture among the ramekins, and pour enough hot tap water into the baking dish so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake in the oven for about 50-60 minutes, or until the pots de creme are set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the middle. Remove them from the oven and take the ramekins out of the hot water bath. Let them cool at room temperature (they will continue to set.) Cool in the refrigerator if desired. Keeps for a few days in the fridge.

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