These salted caramel pots de creme were the sweet ending to Hubs birthday dinner last week. He's always a sucker for any creme brulee desserts when we go out to dinner. Caramel is his other favorite dessert flavor so caramel pots de creme seemed like the obvious dessert choice for his birthday dinner. Last summer we got hooked on Haagen Dazs fleur de sel caramel ice cream. It has the perfect balance of caramel sweet and just a hint of salt. I thought I'd try to recreate that in these pots de creme. I think that hint of salt takes this dessert from wonderful to sublime! Happy Birthday Hubs!
Salted Caramel Pots de Creme
Source- Dorie Greenspan, Baking from my Home to Yours (slightly adapted)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar (divided)
2 large eggs
5 large egg yolks
Pinch of fleur de sel or sea salt
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Line a large roasting pan with a double thickness of paper towels, then place eight 4-ounce or six 6 ounce custard cups, ramekins, or pot de creme cups in the pan.
Pour cream and milk together and warm them in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat; set aside.
Measure out 1/4 cup of sugar and set aside.
Heat a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over med-high heat and sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of sugar from the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.As soon as the sugar melts and starts to caramelize, stir. When the color is uniform, stir in another 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue to stir until it is melted and colored. Continue adding the sugar 2 tablespoons at a time. When the sugar is a deep amber, almost a mahogany color, standing away from the pan, so you don't get splattered, add the warmed cream/milk. The mixture will bubble furiously and may seize, but don't panic, just keep stirring until it smooths out. Remove pan from the heat.
Put the eggs, yolks, pinch of fleur de sel, and the reserved 1/4 cup of sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until pale and slightly thick. While still whisking, drizzle in a little of the caramel liquid. This will temper the eggs so you don't end up with scrambled eggs. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remaining liquid. If there is any foam on top of the custard, skim off with a spoon. The foam will cause craters on the top of the custard as it bakes.
Arrange custard cups in a small roasting pan, leaving an even amount of space between the cups, and fill each cup nearly to the top with the custard mixture. Carefully slide the pan into the oven; then, using a pitcher, fill the roasting pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Cover the pan with plastic wrap (don’t worry—it can stand the heat) and poke two holes in two diagonally opposite corners. Bake the custards for about 35-40 minutes, or until the edges darken ever so slightly and the custards are set but still jiggle a little in the center when you shake them gently.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the custards sit in the water bath for 10 minutes. Peel off the plastic wrap, lift the cups out of the water and cool the custards in the refrigerator. (The pots de creme can be prepared a day ahead and, when cool, covered with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator.)
To serve: The pots de creme are at their best at room temperature, so remove them from the refrigerator and keep them on the counter for about 20 minutes before serving. Sprinkle a little fleur de sel or sea salt on the tops of the custard.