November 29, 2011

butterscotch pots de crème

These are heaven sent. I swear. Sent to the leprechauns waiting where rainbows touch the earth, poured into their 'gold' pots, and stored away for magical moments. Magical moments which I have been showering on my kitchen and guests ever since I discovered this recipe. The butterscotch is rich and creamy, but also firmly delicate with a silky lightness on your tongue. So so sooo good.

I am a butterscotch girl, raised in a butterscotch family, eager for magical butterscotch-filled moments to fall upon me. The butterscotch gene was passed on from my dad, who inherited it from his dad, who I'm sure inherited it from his dad, and so on and so forth. I'm guessing it must be because we are Scottish that butterscotch (and cholesterol - is that the genes or the butterscotch?) flows so thickly in our blood. In truth my dad's butterscotch predilection falls towards butterscotch sundaes, but rest assured he would like these little pots of gold, after all they are pure butterscotchy goodness.
Zach said this was one of the best desserts I've ever made. He wanted to know how he could preserve the leftovers - freeze or fridge or time capsule - so he can have a little butterscotch everyday. I guess he married into a butterscotch family. But really, he shouldn't be so worried about saving them, he should just worry about keeping our pantry stocked with the ingredients, because these are so easy to make. Super. duper. simple. Okay maybe not as simple as pouring orange juice into a popsicle maker and sticking it in the fridge, but still pretty darn easy. Pots of golden heaven.....I mean pots de crème
from Gourmet October 2003 epicurious
also featured on orangette

* dark muscovado sugar a brown, molasses flavored sugar, that is darker and coarser than your standard brand brown sugar. It should be easy to find in most stores. In Zürich you can find it at most reformhaus and also at Jelmoli.

* Demerara sugar is a coarse grain sugar, often used for decoration. It's brown in color. In Zürich you can find it at the same spots you find muscovado sugar

* the recipe calls for 6 ramekins, but I found it was perfect for 4 small coffee cups.

- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (that's the heavenly part)
- 6 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar (that's the golden part)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons demerara sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I used vanilla bean seeds, 1 tsp)

Preheat the oven to 300ºF and center the rack in the middle.

Bring cream, muscovado sugar and salt to just a simmer in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat

In another pot (2 qt) bring water and Demerara sugar to a boil over moderate heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, and stir occasionally until brown and bubbly, about 5 minutes (almost exactly). Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream mixture, whisking until combined

In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks and vanilla, then add it to the hot cream mixture, again whisking until combined. Pour the custard through a sieve into a 4 cup measuring cup. Skim off any foam from the top of the custard.

Divide the custard among the ramekins. You are going to cook them in a water bath so select a roasting pan that is large enough to hold all the ramekins without them touching and line the bottom of it with a kitchen towel. Place the ramekins in the pan and cover the tops with aluminum foil. Fill the roasting pan with hot tap water until it reaches half way up the ramekins. Put the pan in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes (mine took about 60+) until the custards are set around the edges but still tremble in the centers. Transfer the ramekins to a rack and cool to room temperature. They will continue to set as they cool.

Eat them the same day or keep them refrigerated, covered with saran wrap.
I hope you shower yourself with a little creamy, butterscotch magic sometime soon. These would be perfect for a dinner party, especially a dinner party where you are entertaining a gluten-free friend or just a friend who loves butterscotch and pudding, combined in a nice little 'pot'. I imagine the recipe doubles and triples nicely, but of course you'd need a roasting pan big enough for all of your ramekins/teacups.

Just make them. You will shower me with thanks and magic.


  1. Ooh, you've sold me. I'm not really a butterscotch girl nor do I come from a butterscotch family, but these sound just about perfect. I especially like the idea of serving them for something like a dinner party. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I'm in desperate need of butterscotch heaven right now. We're still waiting for our house to be ready, the weather is chilled and wet... it's bleak. And would you believe I've never had butterscotch pudding, pots de creme, anything? I've made pots de creme several times here, mostly dark chocolate, once maple. Your recipe will do well to shake things up, put a smile on our faces. (Or at least put us into a blissful heavy cream coma.)



  3. I like the looks of this recipe. I've made butterscotch pudding before (maybe it was a David Lebovitz recipe?), but the typical procedure seems to involve regular granulated sugar cooked into a perfect caramel, and burning sugar just right isn't really my strong suit. I always overdo it or chicken out and take it off the stove too soon. This whole brown sugar thing looks like it'll take care of itself. Thanks for sharing!
    p.s. How is it that there are flowers blooming in November where you are? Around these parts, it is unbelievably drab.

  4. Oh my gosh, I want. Right now. I'm a butterscotch girl myself but rarely make anything butterscotch flavored. Need to do something about that. I'm dying to make butterscotch budino, a dessert I tasted at Pizzeria Mozza in LA... so delicious. These look divine!

  5. I don't even like butterscotch yet these look and sound so delicious that I might have to make them regardless. Yum!

  6. Butterscotch is the same thing as caramel, right? These sound lovely, I might make just two, for my boyfriend and I. And now that I have read alexandra's comment, looked in my Mozza cookbook, and found the recipe for the butterscotch budino with caramel sauce and maldon sea salt, I really need to make this. Your little pot de creme for an easier dessert, the budino for when I invite some friends... I really need to start running again, or I'll have to start rolling.

  7. I must admit, I've never tried making butterscotch myself. What's more, I can't even remember the last time I even had butterscotch. I should fix that. These look perfect. Again, loving these photos. Filled with light and good ju ju.