What initially attracted me to this dessert was the word ‘burnt,’ and that interests stems from 2 reasons: 1) Usually burnt is not a great descriptor for food, so I was intrigued; and 2) Holy sh*t is it cold out. If somethin’s gettin’ burned, somethin’s gettin’ hot, and I like that.
I’ve also recently come to appreciate the custard, whereas in my younger days I thought ‘why waste dessert on something that’s not cake?’ Don’t get me wrong, I still think flan is the stuff of nightmares, deserving of retirement à la green, canned-fruit-stuffed jello molds. Crème brûlée also deserves to be slapped down a peg or two [I mean, it’s no tarte tatin]. But custard? Well, custard is unpretentious, easy to make, and isn’t the monster of the classic horror movie, “The Blob.”
This burnt caramel custard, or pot de crème if you want to get French about it, is creamy without being overwhelmingly rich, is chocked full of vanilla beans for a complex finish, and has the taste of your favorite salted caramel…the stuff you get for $16 from Williams-Sonoma because your Aunt gave you some unexpected Christmas money, not the stuff inside of Milk Duds.
Still not convinced? It also has a super easy, 1-minute-to-make, fresh maple whipped cream topping. Oh, and you can make the custard 2 days ahead-the perfect dessert for when you have to make all the things o__0
If I turn into The Blob from calorie consumption I apologize, residents of D.C, but…IT.WAS.WORTH.IT 😉
[Recipe from Bon Appétit. Makes 8 custards in 6-oz. ramekins.]
- Pastry brush [optional]
- 8 [6-oz.] ramekins
- Baking dish or roasting pan [I used a 9×13 cake pan]
- Handheld beaters or a stand mixer [optional]
- 1 quart heavy cream + 8 oz. heavy cream
- 2-3 Tbl. maple syrup or to-taste
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 3/4 cup + 4 Tbl. sugar, divided
- 6 large egg yolks, rm. temp.
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Flaky sea salt [I used Maldon]
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place 1 quart cream in a medium saucepan ; scrape in seeds from the vanilla bean and add pod. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside.
Bring 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbl. sugar and 2 Tbl. water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally and brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush, until mixture turns a deep amber color, about 4 min.; remove caramel from heat.
Remove vanilla pod from cream and discard. Slowly add cream to caramel [mixture will bubble]. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 2 min.
Whisk egg yolks, kosher salt, and remaining 2 Tbl. sugar in a large bowl. Slowly stream in caramel cream, whisking constantly. Divide custard among the 8 ramekins and place in a kitchen towel-lined baking dish. Fill pan with water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake until custard is just set but still jiggly in the center, 60-70 min. Remove ramekins from baking dish and place on a wire rack to let cool. Chill custards in the fridge, uncovered, at least 3 hours.
Before serving your custard, beat the 8 oz. of heavy cream with 2-3 Tbl. of maple syrup with mixers on high until the cream is stiff. Top chilled custards with the whipped cream and sprinkle with sea salt.
*Note: Custards can be made 2 days ahead. After chilled for 3 hours, cover tightly with plastic wrap, ensuring that the wrap does not touch the surface of the custard. Keep chilled.
Sprinkling with over-priced sea salt. Ignore the Elvira nails.