April 29th, 2011

{recipe} Fake the Fancy: Nutella Pots de Creme

Nutella Pots de Creme

Pots de creme.

Pronounced: poh de krehm.

Not poos de cream. Or even paats de cream.

It’s french, y’all.

It’s fancy.

And, here’s the kicker: this 4 ingredient treat is also easy to make, with most of the cooking time unattended.

This is a dessert for this weekend if there ever was one. Especially if you’re entertaining. If not, make it this weekend and then again when you are entertaining. Can you think of a more elegant way to end a meal than to whip out individual ramekins of poh de krehm?! People will flip. Then I want you to act like these make-ahead pots of joy are really, really hard to make. Fake the fancy.

Before I jump into the recipe, it occurs to me that I should tell you about pots de creme! They are loose custards traditionally baked in small lidded pots (to prevent a skin from forming). They typically have equal parts milk and cream plus, according to some sources, 1 egg and 5 yolks per 3 cups of liquid.

Yea, see, now we’re getting into a kind of technical fancy. What do you say we go back to faking it. Not poos-da-cream faking it, but keep-it-simeple faking it. The ratios of this recipe aren’t exactly according to tradition and, especially if you use more Nutella (see recipe), the result is a custard slightly more firm than traditional pots de creme. I also skip the lid or, as is the case in most kitchens, tightly fitted aluminum foil poked with holes for steam to escape. But a ridiculously tasty, creamy custard comes out none the less.

Enjoy.

Nutella Pots de Creme
makes 4 servings
(can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*

1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4-1/2 cup Nutella
4 egg yolks, whisked
6 cups boiling water, for water bath
whipped cream or chopped roasted hazelnuts dusted with powdered sugar, optional, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add cream and milk to a saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk in Nutella. How much you use depends on how rich you want your custard: 1/4 cup gives a strong hint of Nutella, whereas 1/2 cup give a deep, rich chocolate-hazelnut flavor. Use either measurement or any in between, keeping in mind that the custard will be more firm the more Nutella you use. Whisk constantly until the Nutella is smooth and completely incorporated, and the liquid is hot to the touch. Take the saucepan off of the heat.

2. Pour about 1/4 cup of the Nutella mixture into a measuring cup. Temper the egg yolks: slowly drizzle the 1/4 cup into the egg yolks, whisking constantly the entire time. Once the 1/4 cup of Nutella mixture and egg yolks are incorporated and smooth, slowly pour the Nutella/egg yolk combination into the remaining Nutella mixture still in the saucepan. Keep whisking all the while.

3. If your mixture is perfectly smooth, you can do as I do and skip straining the mixture. Otherwise, if you see pieces of egg or lumps of Nutella, strain the liquid through a strainer double lined with cheesecloth. Divide the liquid—strained or not—among four ramekins.

4. Place the ramekins in a baking pan large enough to hold about 6 cups of boiling water. Slowly pour the boiling water into the baking pan, making sure not to splash into the custard cups. The water should come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. If it takes less than 6 cups of water to do so, that’s fine.

5. Carefully transfer baking pan to preheated oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes. When the custards appear set, but are still be jiggly in the middle, remove the baking pan from the oven. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and place on the counter to cool. When completely cooled, transfer to the refridgerator and chill for at least 3 hours up to overnight. Serve topped with whipped cream or, my favorite way, with chopped, roasted hazelnuts dusted in powdered sugar.

*Note: Nutella is made with hazelnuts. The most recent guidelines released by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicates no proven benefit in delaying solids, even high allergen foods, beyond 4- to 6-months. Though this doesn’t mean that your child won’t necessarily have an allergic reaction, it does at means that, it is safe and responsible to consider introducing high allergen foods as early as 6 months, especially if your child has no personal or family history of food allergies. Speak to your pediatrician about what’s best for your family. And, even if you’re willing to share nuts with your little one, consider holding off on this treat until they are at least 12 months due to the high sugar content in Nutella. And always consider age appropriate portions. A little goes a long way with little tummies!

3 Responses

  1. Miri Leigh says:

    Looks delicious! Thanks for the great directions!

  2. juliana says:

    The traditional amount of yolks to cream/milk is 5 yolks to 2 cups total cream/milk. The amount of Nutella will not give the custard firmer texture. In fact the opposite will occur. It is the amount of yolks you have to milk/cream.

  3. One Hungry Mama says:

    @juliana: there is a lot of variation in the ratio of yolks to milk/cream that people claim is traditional for pots de creme. I have to be honest that I do not have French culinary training nor have I ever cooked with a traditionally trained French cook or chef, so I’m certainly not in a position to argue a specific. EIther way, we both are circling around a similar ratio, which around what is considered traditional. (And then there’s the argument of egg+yolks or just yolks! A whole other can of worms.)

    As for the density, you’re right that it is determined by the yolk to milk/cream, though I’ve found the texture to be slightly different when I use Nutella vs chocolate.

    Please share with us if you have a favorite pots de creme recipe that you think exemplifies this wonderful dessert!

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