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Caramel Pots de Creme

Caramel Pots de Creme
This smooth, creamy custard dessert flavored with bittersweet caramel is one of the cold-weather comfort foods that people crave during the autumn months. Garnish each serving with a dollop of whipped cream and toasted walnuts or pecans.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 8 egg yolks

Directions:

Place the sugar and the 1/3 cup water in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook until the sugar turns golden amber in color, 8 to 12 minutes. Be careful, as the caramel is very hot.

Meanwhile, combine the cream and milk in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and warm until small bubbles appear along the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat.

Preheat an oven to 325°F. Have a pot of boiling water ready.

When the caramel is ready, add the remaining 1/4 cup water and whisk vigorously until the bubbles subside. Pour the caramel into the hot cream mixture and whisk together until mixed. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly add the caramel mixture to the egg yolks, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixed. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher.

Pour the custard into six 2/3-cup ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking pan. Pour boiling water into the pan to reach about 1 inch up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the edges of the custards are set, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the baking pan from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Remove the custards from the water bath and let cool. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight until well chilled. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration Series, Autumn, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1997).