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Vanilla Pots de Crème: La Crème de la Crème of Simple Baking Indeed!

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I really wish it were easier for me to type French accents. It bothers me that I can’t type the word crème in a fluent and steady movement of the fingers like I can an English word. Why? That darn e accent grave (è)! People have chosen to make my life so inconvenient like I have to type “ALT + 138” in order to get an è.

I hope you sense my exasperation. I have a chemistry final on Thursday and so much going on right now! My sister is leaving for Wisconsin on Thursday morning for a competition and I am feeling her angst too. Luckily for me, I have the Internet lying in my lap and I was able to find a delicious, simple recipe for vanilla pots de crème (that è again!).

Vanilla Pots de Crème (Slightly adapted from the New York Times)

  • 2 cups heavy cream, light cream, or half-and-half
  • 2 vanilla beans or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Pour cream into small saucepan. Split vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape seeds into cream. Put pod in cream, too. Heat cream until steam rises. Cover pan, turn off heat and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes. If using vanilla extract, just heat cream and let it cool while you proceed.

2. Beat yolks and sugar together until light. Pour about a quarter of the cream (remove vanilla bean pod) into this mixture, then pour sugar-egg mixture into cream and stir. If you are using vanilla extract, add it now and stir. Pour mixture into 4 6-ounce ramekins and place ramekins in a baking dish; fill dish with water halfway up the side of dishes. Cover with foil.

3. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until center is barely set. (Heavy cream sets fastest; half-and-half more slowly.) Chill, then serve.

(NOTE: I did not have heavy cream on hand so I used a simple substitution. For every cup of heavy cream they ask for, use 3/4 cup of milk+1/3 cup of Butter. If you are using skim milk or fat free milk, use the same substitution with a tablespoon of flour in addition. When using this substitution, the crème will be very liquidy on top. Do not let this mislead you when you are judging whether or not the crème is ready yet. Let the butter oil set by letting it sit out for some time. It’ll still be warm, don’t worry.)

My, that went fast!


About Natalie C.

A college graduate in molecular biology eagerly awaiting the commencement of my quest for the luxurious yet completely impractical hood that one receives at a Doctorate graduation ceremony.

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