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Lemon Pots de Crème is one of my favorite desserts because I can make them the day ahead, refrigerate the ramekins, then garnish the desserts right before serving. This recipe is from Fine Cooking magazine with my additions of the sweetened whipped cream (add a little powdered sugar to the cream) and almond brittle sprinkle.
- Finely grated zest of 4 lemons
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod reserved (or 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract)
- 10 large egg yolks
- Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish
- Candied citrus peel or candied flowers, for garnish (optional)
- Put a large pot of water on to boil for the water bath. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Put eight 6-oz. ramekins in a large roasting pan or baking dish with high sides.
- In a small saucepan, combine the lemon zest, juice, and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the vanilla seeds and pod (if you’re using vanilla extract, don’t add it yet) and bring to just below boiling. Remove from the heat.
- In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until smooth. Gently whisk a ladleful of the hot cream into the yolks and then whisk the yolk mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the cream. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 170°F on an instant-read thermometer, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the reserved lemon syrup and strain immediately through cheesecloth or a fine sieve. If you’re using vanilla extract, stir it in now.
- Divide the mixture among the ramekins in the roasting pan. Pull out the oven shelf, put the roasting pan on it (be sure it’s stable), and pour enough boiling water into the pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the ramekins with a sheet of foil (simply lay the sheet on top, don’t crimp the edges) and bake for 25 to 45 minutes—start checking early—until the custards are set about 1/4 inch in from the sides, the centers respond with a firm jiggle (not a wavelike motion) when you nudge the ramekins, and the centers of the custards register 150° to 155°F on an instant-read thermometer (the hole left by the thermometer will close up as the custards firm). Let the custards cool to room temperature in their water bath. Remove the custards from the bath, cover them with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Garnish with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and candied zest or flowers, if you like.
Make Ahead Tips
Custards may be baked up to two days ahead and refrigerated, covered with plastic.
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons sugar
Slice butter into several slices and place it on a baking sheet (with sides so butter won’t run off sheet). Place in oven and allow the butter to melt. Remove the baking sheet from oven and sprinkle the almonds on the butter. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the almonds. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 3 – 5 minutes. Watch carefully because the almonds will burn easily. Remove from oven and stir the almonds. Return to oven for more toasting if needed. When the almonds are toasted remove from oven and allow to cool.
Place a dollop of whipped cream on top of each pots de crème and sprinkle with crumbled almond brittle. Sprinkle a little lemon zest over the almond brittle. Serve chilled.
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