Pot de crème tends to get short shrift in comparison to its flashy cousin, Crème Brûlée. That’s unfortunate because it certainly isn’t any more difficult to make. So I spiced it up to give it a chance to shine in its own right. I also reduced the sugar a bit to let the spicy notes stand out more. Trust me: the flavor combination rolls across your palate in a way that may let you see dessert in a whole new way.
SPICE OF LIFE POTS DE CREME
8 ounces milk (preferably whole)
8 ounces heavy cream
1” piece of ginger, peeled, cut into 4 slices
4 pods green cardamom, crushed
1 stick cinnamon
1 chile de arbol, broken
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
4 ounces milk chocolate
1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate with cayenne
Whipped cream for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Set a pan containing a quart of water on the stove to heat.
- Pour milk and cream into a stainless steel saucepan. Add ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and the chile de arbol. Stir, then set over medium heat. Bring to a scald (tiny, uniform bubbles will appear all around the perimeter), then remove from heat and put a lid on the pot. Let spices steep for 30 minutes.
- Whisk egg yolks together in a mixing bowl. Add the salt to the sugar, and add them to the yolks in a slow, steady stream, whisking continuously.
- Break milk chocolate into pieces and place in a separate mixing bowl. Set a strainer over the bowl. Strain the milk and cream mixture into this bowl and let sit for one minute for the chocolate to melt. Discard spices. Stir mixture with a spatula to completely incorporate melted chocolate.
- Temper chocolate mixture into the eggs and sugar by pouring in a slow, steady stream, and whisking all the while.
- Divide among 4 ramekins. Break the piece of cayenne-chocolate into 4 sections. Drop one into each of the ramekins.
- Set the ramekins on a baking sheet with 4 sides. Set the baking sheet in the oven. Pour the hot water into a large measuring cup or pitcher. Use that to pour hot water into the baking sheet so that it comes almost to the lip.
- Bake custards for 25-30 minutes. When done, they should still be a bit jiggly.
- Cool before serving. Top with a splosh of whipped cream.