Elegant, Easy Pot de creme

Rumchata Pot de Creme with Brandy Snaps

Rumchata Pot de Creme are smooth, creamy and boozy, and are topped with a whipped cream filled Brandy Snap that adds the perfect crunchy contrast to the custard. It is the perfect make-ahead dessert!

Elegant, Easy Pot de creme
Pot de creme is an easy dessert to make, perfect to make ahead for holiday meals.

Pot de Creme. A custard made with egg yolks and only a few other ingredients, baked in the oven until not quite set and super difficult to make, right?

Well, that’s what I thought for a long time. When I started baking and experimenting in the kitchen, I stayed away from things like Pot de Creme and Creme Brulee because I thought they were just way too hard.

I mean, they have a French name so they must be difficult. Only professional pastry chefs can make them and get them right.

But I’m a challenge girl. I love to try things that I have never done before just to see if I can even come close. As my time in the kitchen increased, so did the range of techniques that I tried.

Elegant, Easy Pot de creme
Pot de creme is an easy dessert to make, perfect to make ahead for holiday meals.

My Inspiration to bake is usually GBBO!

Several years ago, I was watching the Great British Bake Off, which is a form of baking study for me. The bakers were tasked with a Creme Brulee and half of them failed. Some presented soupy custards that didn’t set while others served the judges overbaked, scrambled eggs in a ramekin.

My heart breaks for the bakers in situations like that because you can see the passion that they put into their baking. They are skilled and knowledgable but, at the end of the day, they are amateur bakers that are doing the best they know how under extremely stressful conditions.

These bakers who had excelled in other challenges somehow couldn’t produce a custard with the correct consistency. The Creme Brulee was either runny and soupy, not much thicker than milk, or they were chunky scrambled eggs which is the opposite of the creamy, silky texture that the judges were looking for.

The bakers’ faces fell as one after another received negative feedback from the judges.

Of course, a few of the bakers achieved the perfect creamy texture, just set and smooth as silk.

So I knew it was possible.

The bakers’ challenge became my challenge as I decided that I couldn’t avoid this baking discipline any longer.

Creating a menu sparked the challenge

For several years, my husband and I hosted a 5-course ‘gourmet’ Wine Dinner Party with a few friends. We donated this party to the Lutheran school where our kids went to school for their annual fundraising auction. I wasn’t sure that I could be considered a gourmet chef but I worked hard on the menu with my co-chef Michelle.

Michelle and I would come up with a menu while a few other friends paired a red and white wine for each of the five courses. We changed up the menu each year and the party became a popular item at the Auction.

One year, I was stuck on what to make for dessert. Since we make each course as the members of the party are eating, it couldn’t be too elaborate or time-consuming to put together during the party.

Make-ahead dessert for the win!

An elevated and elegant make-ahead dessert was what we needed for this dinner.

Two days before the party, I decided that Creme Brulee was the perfect dessert. It could be made ahead, brulee’d just before serving and voila! A beautiful, classy dessert!

Elegant, Easy Pot de creme
Pot de creme is an easy dessert to make, perfect to make ahead for holiday meals.

But I had never made it before and it is a notoriously difficult dessert that eluded the amazingly skilled bakers on GBBO! What was I thinking??

Now, I know this post is for a Pot de Creme recipe. But Creme Brulee and Pot de Creme are so similar that I feet like the story of my first custard is relevant here. Both desserts are egg-based custards that are baked in the oven until they are not quite set in the middle. Creme Brulee is sprinkled with sugar and torched to form a crisp topping to the custard. The contrast of crisp to creamy is delectable.

My first attempt at Creme Brulee as a test run for the party was….

Perfect.

It set up beautifully, it was creamy, it was smooth and it was oh so delicious!

Beginners’ luck?

Wait?! I thought this was hard?! I thought I would fail at least a few times before I found the right amount of egg yolk to cream proportion and figure out exactly how much wobble should be in the middle when it comes out of the oven.

This is NOT a judgment on the bakers in the tent because they are attempting to bake in a tent, in a field, with cameras and judges and a timer and all manner of other challenges. And I guarantee that we don’t see all of the challenges and problems that happen behind the scenes when we watch the show. It would be impossible to show it all in the one-hour weekly episode.

But, luckily, I didn’t have to face the obstacles of the bakers in the GBBO tent. I was at home, in my own kitchen, with time to experiment and the internet at my fingertips.

And I made 3 batches of perfect Creme Brulee.

I felt like I had conquered custard. Once I had attempted this discipline and succeeded, I couldn’t believe that I had waited so long to try it. Now, I make custard desserts all the time.

If you are looking for a make-ahead dessert, Pot de Creme or Creme Brulee is a perfect choice! You can make it a day or two in advance, and cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Then just garnish or torch and dessert is ready!

Brandy Snaps filled with whipped cream
Crispy Brandy Snaps filled with Whipped Cream make a perfect dessert on their own or provide the perfect addition to a creamy custard!

Tips for custard success:

#1 – Heat your cream just to the scald stage. Don’t boil it! Just get it hot to the touch. I dip my finger in it – no thermometer in sight – and when it feels like a hot bath, it’s ready.

#2 – Don’t whisk together your egg yolks and sugar until your cream is just about ready to temper in. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning that it attracts and absorbs moisture. If you put the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl too early, especially without whisking, the sugar will dry out the egg yolks, leaving crusted bits of yolk in your mixture.

#3 – Bake the custard immediately after all of the ingredients are incorporated. Make sure that the oven is preheated and ready before starting to mix the custard. Pot de Creme comes together in only a few minutes and should be baked right away.

#4 – Bake in a bain-marie. Adding hot water to a larger pan and setting the ramekins into it provides gentle heat to the custard. This keeps the egg yolks from curdling in the heat to create a silky smooth texture.

#5 – Remove the ramekins from the oven when the center is still wobbly. The custard will continue to cook and set after it is removed from the oven. Don’t be tempted to bake until the entire custard is set. This will create an eggy, sometimes curdled, texture that you want to avoid!

#6 – Allow the custards to cool completely on the counter before covering and storing in the refrigerator. If you cover them while they are still hot, condensation will form from the steam which will continue to cook the custard as well as congeal on the top.

This Pot de Creme is boozy, no doubt about it! The Rumchata flavor really comes through and it is delicious! You can cut the amount of the Rumchata in half if you prefer a lighter flavor. You could also alter this by adding a different creamy liqueur like Irish Cream.

If you want to use a non-creamy type of alcohol, some trial and error will be needed. It is entirely possible but alcohol can break a custard if too much is used so be careful!

Brandy Snap decor or on their own

The Brandy Snaps that are served on top of this Rumchata Pot de Creme are so easy and provide the same crunchy element that the torched topping does on Creme Brulee.

Brandy Snaps filled with whipped cream
Crispy Brandy Snaps filled with Whipped Cream make a perfect dessert on their own or provide the perfect addition to a creamy custard!

When making the Brandy Snaps, remember to only bake about 4 at a time. They cool and harden very quickly and then cannot be rolled.

Feel free to make the Brandy Snaps in any shape that you desire. You could bake a sheet, let it cool and then break into shards for a simple and rustic decor element. You could drape a hot Brandy Snap over a bowl or glass to create a bowl out of the lacey, beautiful cookie. Use your imagination!

Have you ever made Pot de Creme? How did it go? Share your experiences with me in the comments below!

Bake happy!

-Tanya

Rumchata Pot de Creme with Brandy Snaps

Recipe by Tanya Ott
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

15

minutes

Ingredients

  • For the Rumchata Pot de Creme
  • 530 mL heavy cream

  • 6 large egg yolks

  • 60 grams granulated sugar

  • 175 mL Rumchata

  • 4 cups very hot water

  • For the Brandy Snaps
  • 60 grams unsalted butter, in small cubes

  • 60 grams granulated sugar

  • 60 grams light corn syrup

  • 55 grams all purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon Brandy

  • Make Whipped Cream
  • 240 mL heavy cream

  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar

  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Rumchata (optional)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325℉.
  • Make the pot de creme: Heat heavy cream on medium heat until very hot but not boiling. While cream is heating, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl.
  • When the cream is hot, slowly add about 1/3 of it to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Add another third, whisk (without adding bubbles) then add the remaining cream and whisk.
  • Pour in the Rumchata and stir to combine. (This amount of Rumchata will give a strong flavor to the pot de creme. If you want a lighter flavor, you can include only have of the listed amount.)
  • Place 6 ramekins in a 9×13 pan. Divide the mixture evenly between the ramekins. This recipe will make 6 4-inch pot de cremes. You can use a different size ramekin but keep in mind that baking time will be affected.
  • Pour the hot water into the bottom of the 9×13 pan, being careful not to et any water in the ramekins.
  • Carefully move the 9×13 pan to the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until there is still a slight wobble in the center of each ramekin.
  • Remove from oven and place the ramekins on the counter – out of the water. Allow to cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Make the Brandy Snaps: Put the butter, corn syrup and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat until the butter and sugar are melted.
  • Remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl. Allow to cool for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and the ground ginger. Sift into the sugar mixture. Stir together until fully incorporated.
  • Add the Brandy to the mixture and stir in.
  • Line a baking tray with a silpat mat. Scoop a teaspoon of batter and put it on the silpat. You should only bake 3 or 4 at a time. Leave several inches between each dollup as they will spread quite a bit.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until browning. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 30 seconds. Pick up one of the brandy snaps with an offset spatula and quickly wrap around the handle of a wooden spoon into the shape of a tube. These are very hot but you can use your hands to help shape them. Move quickly as they harden fast! Repeat with remaining brandy snaps.
  • NOTE: If your brandy snaps begin to harden while you roll the first one or two, you can put them back in the oven for about 15 seconds to soften them a little.
  • Make the Whipped Cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour the heavy cream. With the whisk attachment, whisk for 30 seconds on medium speed. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Add the Rumchata and whipped by hand just until incorporated.
  • Pipe the whipped cream into the brandy snap tubes just prior to serving on top of the pot de cream. Once you pipe in the whipped cream, the brandy snaps will begin to soften within 20 minutes so wait until the last minute!

One Comment

  1. Loved this post, Tanya! A pleasure to read, and a ton of info

    I’ve made pot de creme before and love doing it, your tips for success are wonderful and I’m sure anyone could bake them perfectly following your post. Brandy snaps are a lot trickier for me, I had limited success – yours turned out perfect

    I also adore the little ramekins you used…

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