While Americans are enjoying ice cream during these dog days of summer, you might want to try something else this week.
Tuesday, Aug. 27, is Pots de Crème Day. What exactly is it? A loose French dessert custard dating to the 17th century.
The name means "pot of custard" or "pot of cream," which also refers to the porcelain cups in which the dessert is served. It is usually looser than other custards, flans, or crème caramel. While not as popular in the United States as crème brulee, pot de crème boasts a fan base around the world. One person even created a website devoted to the dessert featuring beautiful porcelain pots de crème cups from around the world in the Pots de Crème museum.
A basic pot de crème is made with eggs, egg yolks, cream, milk and a flavor, often vanilla or chocolate. The milk and cream are heated and flavored, then mixed into whisked eggs and egg yolks. The mixture is strained and poured into cups, which are then baked in a water bath at low heat; it's sometimes prepared without milk and frozen.
While pots de crème contain simple ingredients, you can amp it up by adding additional flavors. This recipe from King Arthur Flour gives you the option of adding espresso powder and Kahlua to give the dessert an added kick.
Quick Pots de Crème
Makes: 6 servings
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 to 2 tablespoons Kahlua liqueur (or a liqueur of your choice)
Place the chocolate chips, salt, sugar and espresso powder in a blender or food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the egg and pulse just until everything is well combined; the mixture may start to form a cohesive mass.
Heat the cream in a bowl in the microwave, or in a pan set over medium-high heat. Heat until the cream is just short of a full rolling boil; it should be bubbling vigorously around the edges, with larger bubbles rippling across the interior. The temperature should be at least 205 degrees.
Turn on the blender or processor, and slowly add the cream. Scrape down the sides of the container if necessary. Add the flavoring of your choice and pulse to blend.
Other holidays this week
- Monday, Aug. 26: Cherry Popsicle Day
- Tuesday, Aug. 27: Just Because Day
- Wednesday, Aug. 28: Bow Tie Day
- Thursday, Aug. 29: Chop Suey Day
- Friday, Aug. 30: Grief Awareness Day
- Saturday, Aug. 31: Matchmaker Day
- Sunday, Sept. 1: Chicken Boy Day