Cooking Simple: Pots de Crème & Lemon Posset

Few things celebrate love better than dessert. Some might argue diamonds or roses are the gift du jour, but for many of us, a solid sweet treat is the best way to honor the love we share with just about anyone or anything. 

When turning to easy, quick, homemade desserts, nothing
is as simple or elegant as a pot de crème. With a short ingredient list and minimal instructions, the classic French dessert serves up plenty of flavor with its creamy, light texture, making it a perfect compliment to a roast chicken or perfectly-seared steak. 

Enjoy these flavors and don’t be shy about eating it for breakfast. Adding a handful of fresh berries makes anything a health food. 

Chocolate Pots de Crème (adapted from the New York Times

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Freshly whipped cream for serving. 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. In a heavy saucepan, combine the milk and cream and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, whisk in the chocolate until the mixture is glossy and smooth. 

In another bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and salt. While whisking continually, slowly pour the hot chocolate into the yolk mixture. Strain this through a fine mesh sieve. 

Divide the mixture into 2 to 4 oz. oven safe vessels (like ramekins) and set filled cups in a large roasting pan in the oven. Add hot tap water to the pan, filing enough to mark the sides of each ramekin. Cover the pan with foil, and use a fork to prick holes in the foil. 

Bake until the edges are lightly set but the center jiggles. You’ll lift the foil to test this. The dessert will set as it cools, which takes approximately 30 minutes. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack to cool entirely, and put the pots de creme in the fridge for at least three hours before serving. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings and enjoy by a fire, reading Pablo Neruda or sitting in front of your favorite television show with a cat on your lap and a dog at your feet. 

For an even simpler version of a pots de creme, look no further than the Ye Old English Lemon Posset. With only three ingredients, it’s an easy day at the stove, and the tartness of the lemon is the perfect complement to all that sugar and cream (not that we have anything against sugar and cream). 

Lemon Posset

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Directions

Combine the cream and sugar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Continue boiling for 5 minutes, careful not to let the mixture boil over. At a simmer, stir continuously until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Many recipes say this takes 5-10 minutes, but I’ve stood whirling a figure-8 pattern for at least 20 minutes. 

Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Let cool for another 20 minutes before pouring even amounts into four ramekins. Refrigerate at least three hours before serving. 

Serve with fresh berries, whipped cream or a gingersnap cookie.