I can’t get enough of salted caramel and these Salted Caramel Pots De Crème are close to the best thing I’ve ever made. I’m not even joking.
Let me tell you all about them.
- Just 5 ingredients (and one is water)
- Creamy, silky-smooth custard that slides over your tongue
- Rich salted caramel flavour (easily) made from scratch.
- Can be made ahead – up to 2 days in advance
- Comforting in winter but also perfect in summer since they’re served cold.
- Perfect for a crowd or just a few
Let me clarify that last point. This recipe makes just 4 serves but you can easily increase the quantities and make a larger batch to suit a crowd of people. Since they sit in your fridge until you’re ready to serve, you can make them well in advance.
What is pots de crème?
Pots De Crème is a French dessert made from sugar, cream and egg yolks and literally translates to pots of cream. The ingredients are turned into a custard and then baked at a low-ish temperature until set.
Crème Brulee vs pots de crème
Pots de crème is essentially a crème brulee without the crispy sugar topping and they are both baked custards made from cream, sugar and egg yolks.
Pots de crème usually have a combination of milk and cream as opposed to all cream in a crème brulee. I make both the same way as I prefer the creamier flavour as opposed to an increase eggy flavour due to pot de crème normally requiring more egg yolks to set.
While pots de crème are technically baked, I recently made a no bake version in these Easy Dark Chocolate Pots which is delicious. This Salted Caramel version is definitely my favourite though and came about after I made Salted Caramel Crème Brulee for the Oh Sweet Basil blog.
You too, can turn this caramel pot de crème recipe into a caramel crème brulee recipe by simply adding sugar at the end and torching it to a crispy toffee coating.
Tips for Homemade Caramel
Nothing beats real homemade caramel. No shop-bought caramel I’ve ever purchased has even come close to what you can create with just a little sugar, butter and cream right on your own stove top. While you could substitute it in this recipe, I beg you not to and to make it yourself. It’s incredibly simple and you don’t even need a thermometer. There are a few golden rules with caramel though.
- Use a stainless steel saucepan – I’ve never had luck with non-stick pans so I don’t recommend it, however, I know people that do use non-stick without an issue.
- Make sure your pan is spotlessly clean – any trace of fat or anything that isn’t sugar or water inside your pan, can cause the caramel to crystallise. It’s easy to get perfectly clean. Rinse it, then rub a cut lemon around the inside, rinse again, then add your ingredients and start. No need to dry the pan out.
- Just swirl the sugar and water, don’t stir, and swirl it quite often.
- Make sure all the sugar has dissolved before the caramel starts to bubble.
How to make pot de crème
- For this caramel version, start by making the caramel (see tips above). Just add water and sugar to a saucepan and heat over low heat, swirling the pan every so often so the sugar dissolves.
- Now let it come to a bubble and let it cook swirling from time to time to make sure the caramel is cooking evenly.
- Once it turns amber in colour, add some warmed cream. The caramel will likely sieze up since the cream is much cooler than the cream but just stir it and after 5-6 minutes the caramel will dissolve back into the cream.
- Now beat some egg yolks until they’re nice and pale then dribble the hot cream in slowly stirring with a whisk to make sure the yolks don’t scramble. This is called ‘tempering’ the eggs.
- Skim any froth off the top and you can also strain it if you’re worried there are lumps.
- Mix in the salt, then pour them into small jars or ramekins.
- Place them in a flat bottomed dish or pan with high side and add hot (not boiling) water to half way up the ramekins.
- Bake anywhere from 40 – 65 minutes – the time will depend on the style of ramekin you use.
- Let them chill for 3-4 hours before serving.
There is roughly 20 minutes of effort involved in making these delicious little custard pots. That’s it.
How do I know when pot de crème is ready?
It’s all about the wiggle. They will wiggle like jelly (jello) but not be liquidy in the centre. If they’re still liquidy, keep cooking until they have that jelly wiggle.
All ovens are different, the size or thickness of the ramekins, how hot the custard was before you put it in the oven are all things that can affect baking time. I generally cook them for 45 minutes, then check every 5 minutes thereafter.
Pot de crème or crème brulee will continue to cook once they are taken out of their water bath, so transfer them to the fridge to chill. As soon as they are cool enough, cover them with plastic wrap.
These cute little pots of luscious custard are divine. I asked my mum if she’d like to try one and she practically inhaled it as did I. It’s just impossible to stop once you start. With just 4 serves and minimal effort they’re the perfect family dessert treat but also easily scalable to make for entertaining.
More recipes you’ll love
Salted Caramel Pots De Creme
- 2 cups thickened (or heavy) cream
- 4 egg yolks, from large eggs
- ½ cup caster (superfine) sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
- Flaked sea salt for topping
- Preheat the oven to 160C / 320F / 140C fan forced. Place 4 ramekins (notes) in a flat bottomed baking tray with high sides.
- Warm the cream in the microwave for 30 seconds and set aside - just so it's not cold.
- Place the sugar and water in a heavy based stainless steel saucepan over low heat (notes). Heat, swirling from time to time until all the sugar is dissolved in the caramel.
- Let it come to a bubble then continue to cook, swirling every so often until it turns amber in colour.
- Carefully pour in the cream so that it doesn't splash, and stir with a spatula. Keep stirring over low heat until the caramel melts back into the cream so you have a smooth caramel cream. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until very pale.
- Slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks while gently stirring with a whisk at the same time. Make sure to pour slowly so the sudden heat doesn't scramble the eggs.
- Add the salt and stir it through.
- Strain the mixture into a pouring jug then pour evenly into the ramekins.
- Now pour hot (not boiling) water into the baking dish, around the outside of the ramekins to halfway up their sides.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until the centres look just set (notes).
- Very carefully lift the ramekins out of the baking dish and set aside to cool for 15 minutes before covering with plastic wrap and placing in the fridge to chill for 3-4 hours.
- Caster / superfine sugar (not powdered) is best as it will dissolve quicker. If you can only use regular white granulated sugar, just keep the heat a little lower so that it is mostly dissolved before it starts to bubble.
- All ovens are different, the size or thickness of the ramekins, how hot the custard was before you put it in the oven are all things that can affect baking time. I generally cook them for 45 minutes, then check every 5 minutes thereafter.
- You'll know they are done, when you give them a gentle shake and they have a slight wobble in the centre but not like there is liquid under the surface - think jelly.
- Pots de creme can be made up to 2 days in advance. If adding a sugar topping to turn them into a salted caramel creme brulee, leave that until just before serving.
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