Salted Caramel Pot de Crème ~ I baked this luxuriously comforting caramel custard dessert right in my cutest Weck jars, and everybody went crazy for them!
3 simple everyday ingredients in this caramel pot de crème recipe
If you don’t count the salt and the vanilla, it’s just:
- and egg yolks
It doesn’t sound like much, right? But the transformative effect of heat on sugar gives it SUCH complex flavor, and it’s the most magical thing to end an evening with. I don’t know if hormones are to blame, or what, but there are some nights when dinner just isn’t enough for me. I need that extra little something something and this silky pot de creme fills the bill. The handy single serve jars help me keep my cravings in check.
Tips for making pot de crème
Once you get this process down you won’t think twice about it. I’ve made this recipe three times and never had a problem. There are two slightly tricky parts –
- The first is when you caramelize the sugar. You want to cook it until it gets nice and brown, but not burnt. It will take about 5 to 9 minutes on the stove, but you have to watch it closely, and use your nose, towards the end. The darker the sugar mixture, the more flavor the pot de creme will have, but if it gets too dark, or you start to smell a burnt odor, you’ve taken it too far. You have to have vigilance, and a little bit of trust, to make it work.
- The other (slightly) tricky bit is when you add the hot cream into the whisked egg yolks…you want to do it in a slow stream at first so the eggs get ‘tempered’ or brought up to temperature, without scrambling. You can always strain your cream afterwards if you need to, but I didn’t find that was necessary. Just add the hot cream slowly, while you whisk, and you’ll be fine.
What’s the difference between pot de crème, custard, pudding, crème brûlée, panna cotta, and flan?
These are all types of custard, with subtle differences…
- pot de crème translates from French to ‘pot of custard’, and it is a simple custard dessert, which is made with eggs, milk, sugar, and flavoring. Custards are usually baked in a water bath, in the oven.
- pudding is looser than custard, is cooked on the stove. Pudding uses a starch such as cornstarch for thickening. Pudding can be make with or without eggs, but custard relies on eggs as its thickener.
- crème brûlée is a custard that has sugar sprinkled on the surface that is then torched to caramelize it.
- panna cotta is a light custard that includes gelatin.
- flan is a custard made of cream, milk, sugar and egg yolks baked in ramekins lined with caramel sauce.
I bake my caramel custard in individual jars
The hot cream mixture is poured into small glass or porcelain jars, I used my Weck tulip jelly jars, (you can find them on Amazon here.) I set them in a casserole dish and pour a little hot water into the bottom of the pan so the custard cooks evenly. They only take about 30 minutes to cook. The edges will be set, but the centers will still be jiggly. The pot de creme firms up more as it chills. The finished dessert should have a lovely, silky mouthfeel.
Sea salt brings out the flavor
I really like the dusky caramel flavor and the little edge that the sea salt gives it. This is the adult version of butterscotch pudding.
Some of my favorite dessert recipes happen to be pot de crèmes…
Dark Chocolate Blender Pot de Crème is miraculously made right in the blender, no baking involved!
Pumpkin Pot de Crème is even better than pumpkin pie, and if you have gluten free eaters for the holidays, this is a perfect recipe to try.
Salted Caramel Pot de Crème
- 6 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream (or 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and 1/2 cup whole milk)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- sea salt for garnish
- Set oven to 325F
- Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl until well blended. Set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed sauce pan combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water and stir to combine. Begin heating it and stir just to dissolve the sugar. Turn up the heat and boil the mixture WITHOUT STIRRING. Continue boiling on medium high heat for anywhere from 5-10 minutes, until the sugar syrup starts to brown. The browner the syrup gets, the more flavor you will have in your finished custard, but be extra careful not to let it burn.
- When the syrup is nice and brown, whisk in the cream (be careful, it will spurt) and continue to stir while you lower the heat to medium. The caramel with be hardened at first and will dissolve as the cream heats. Stir just until all the bits of caramel are dissolved.
- Slowly drizzle the cream mixture into the egg yolk,s whisking as you drizzle. Continue until all the cream has been incorporated into the eggs and is smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Pour the mixture into 6 small oven safe glasses.
- Set the glasses in a baking dish and pour hot water into the dish to come up about an inch or two.
- Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until the custards are set on the edges, but still a little wobbly in the center.
- Let cool and then refrigerate until chilled.
- Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt.
*This post has been updated from one originally published in 2015.