Ready for your French lesson? August 27 is National Pot de Crème Day!
Let’s start with pronunciation. Try saying it like this: Poh-deh-krem.
A definition would probably help too. Pot de crème translates to "pot of cream." It’s a very creamy dessert that’s essentially an egg heavy, loose custard that’s baked in a cup. That’s where the pots - or ramekins - come in. They’re typically small, and were originally made from porcelain. Some even came with cute little lids and tiny spoons.
The secret to a good pot de crème is in the method. In most recipes you’ll see this kind of egg to liquid ratio: one whole egg to every five egg yolks for every 2 1/2 to 3 cups of liquid. The custard is made by heating milk or heavy cream with flavoring. Typically pots de crème are vanilla, though chocolate is very popular too.
The eggs are whisked separately until very smooth and voluminous. The hot liquid mixture is then tempered into the egg mixture so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs. After that, the whole thing needs to be strained through a sieve.
Once the base mixture is done, it’s poured into three-ounce ramekins or little pots which are then placed in a larger baking dish. Add hot water to the baking dish until it reaches halfway up the sides of the pots. This is called a water bath and prevents the eggs from getting rubbery. Also, it helps if the baking dish is covered so a skin doesn’t form on top of the custard.
While this might not sound like the easiest dessert to whip up on a whim, it sure does satisfy. The custard is creamy and velvety, and well worth the effort.