Pots de crème, pudding, mousse, custard, flan, crème brulee… What’s the difference? Is crème brulee a pot de crème with a torched top? Is flan a pot de crème sans pot? It doesn’t matter. (Except that it does. If you know the answer, please enlighten me.)
What matters is Pete’s love of maple syrup. I like maple syrup, but Pete LOVES it—in a way that only native Quebecers and native Vermonters do. Because I love Pete and Pete loves maple syrup, I made these creamy cups of maple-y goodness.
(Adapted from Cooking Light)
½ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 ¾ cups half-and-half
½ tsp. ground ginger
dash of ground cloves
2 short cinnamon sticks
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 300°.
2. Add maple syrup, brown sugar and egg yolks to the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to combine.
3. Add half-and-half, ginger, cloves, cinnamon sticks and vanilla extract to a medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.
4. Cook the half-and-half mixture until it reaches that critical pre-boiling phase where bubbles start to form around the edge.
5. Slowly add the half-and-half mixture to the maple syrup mixture, whisking constantly.
6. Pour everything back in the saucepan and reduce the temperature to medium.
7. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken (at least 2 minutes).
8. Remove from heat and (carefully) pluck the cinnamon sticks out of the mixture.
9. Divide the mixture (I suppose this would be the crème) evenly among 8 ramekins.
10. Put the ramekins in a 9 x 13 metal baking pan and add about an inch of hot water to the pan.
11. Bake for 1 hour (or more…), until the center loses most of its jiggle. (See note below.)
12. Cool completely at room temperature.
13. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
NOTE: They never stopped jiggling. I baked my little pots for 90 minutes and finally gave up. I suspect the excessive jiggle was due to my last minute substitution for the half-and-half: I used about ½ cup heavy cream and enough skim milk to reach 1 ¾ cups. They were still yummy!