Vanilla Bean Pot de Creme garnished with fresh figs and cherries.
As it turns out, today is National Pot de Creme Day. I’m not sure who decides these sorts of things but who am I to argue. Pots de Creme are super easy custards that are a versatile dessert to have in your repertoire. I love their simplicity and that they don’t have a lot of ingredients. So here is my take on Pot de Creme.
Vanilla Bean Pot de Creme
4 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla paste
Over medium low heat, bring the evaporated milk and heavy cream to a boil in a heavy bottomed pot, While the milk is heating up, whisk egg yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla paste together in a large bowl and set aside. Once the cream and evaporated has come to a boil, remove from heat. Slowly add the warm cream to the egg sugar mixture a ladleful at a time while continuously whisking to temper the egg mixture. Once all the cream has been added to the cream, set the mixture aside for 10 minutes. Skim and discard any foam from that settles on the top. Even distribute the mixture into 4 ramekins and bake in a water bath at 325F for 50 minutes or until set. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with fresh fruit and whipped cream or whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.
Vanilla Bean Pot de Creme with a dusting of cocoa powder.
Fig Turnovers with a lemony glaze drizzled over the top
We’ve known for a few weeks that we were going to hit a mother-load of figs from the two fig trees out back. Well this week it happened. So we’re going to make fig and plum turnovers and then figure out some other stuff to do with all of figs ( fig jam and fig bars probably).
To keep things simple, I’m going to use store bought puff pastry to make the turnovers. Perhaps someday I’ll show you how to make puff pastry by hand, but its one of those things that’s extremely time consuming and takes a couple of days. I’m not a professional pastry chef and I actually have a 40 hour a week job that has nothing to do with cooking and baking so I know I don’t have that kinda time and I don’t know too many people that do. Store bought puff pastry will be just fine.
The store bought stuff is easy to find, you can find it in the freezer section in the grocery store. It’s usually next to things like frozen cream puffs, pound cake, pie shells and phyllo dough (all great things for quick easy desserts). To use, you just need to let the puff pastry thaw for 30-45 minutes at room temperature. I rolled it out until it was about a ¼ thick then cut it into squares.
Squares of puff pastry with a tablespoon of fig and plum filling and egg wash on the edges
Then I brushed adjacent edges with egg wash, folded over corner to corner so non egg washed edge is touching the egg washed edge. To seal the edges, work the tines of a fork along the entire length of the two short edges.
You should have something that looks like this:
Turnovers with edges crimped and vented for baking
I brushed the turnovers with milk then I baked the turnovers in an oven pre-heated to 400F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Turnovers backed to a golden brown and cooling on a wire rack.
Plum and Fig Filling
1 cup each of diced figs and plums
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp lemon zest
Juice of ½ lemon
pinch of salt
¼ corn starch sifted
Place all the ingredients except the corn starch into a medium sized bowl and let sit for an hour or in the fridge overnight. You should see a pretty decent amount of liquid has come out of the fruit. Sift in the corn starch and stir slowly until the clumps work themselves out. It should look like this:
figs and plums with corn starch to form a slurry.
Let stand for 15 minutes. Cook on low in a heavy bottomed pan until mixture comes to a boil. Let boil for 3-5 minutes while continuously stirring.
Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. To cool mixture to workable temperature more quickly, put the fig mixture into a clean heat safe bowl and then place that bowl into larger bowl that’s been filled with ice. Once the mixture cools down its ready to use or you can store it in the fridge for later use.
filling cooking on stove top on low.
This same process works for making all kinds of pie fillings but will work best with fruits that are high in pectin like stone fruits and apples.
1 cup powdered sugar
1 TBS lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon finely chopped
2 – 4 TBS whole milk
In a small bowl combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Gradually add the milk and mix with a fork or whisk. You’re looking for a texture that allows the glaze to easily run down the tines of a fork.
Here is curd used to add a sour element to cut the richness of marscapone cream.
I’m frequently asked to bring dessert when we attend gatherings. When I don’t have time to prepare something fancy or extravagant, I make citrus curd because they’re easy, don’t require special equipment and only have 5 ingredients that I usually have around the house. You can swap out different types of citrus to change the flavor. Here’s the recipe for basic Lemon Curd. I especially like to use Meyer Lemons or Kalamansi which is a small citrus fruit similar to a kumquat.
Here’s the traditional application for lemon curd as a pairing with scones.
3 LG Eggs
1 TBS of Lemon Zest
1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
3/4 Cup sugar
4 TBS room temp butter cut into small cubes
In a heat resistant bowl over the simmering water whisk the eggs, lemon juice and sugar until it thickens. Takes about 10 to 12 minutes. You do need to whisk constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling. Once it thickens. Remove it from the heat and run through a strainer, add in the lemon zest and then slowly stir in the butter. Thoroughly incorporate the butter before each addition. Once all the butter is incorporated cover directly with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and chill. It can be chilled for up to 5 days.
For me the real fun is finding interesting ways to dress up a simple curd.
The lemon curd is cut with whipped cream to make a creamy and sour filling for eclairs.
And finally, the most simple application. Lemon Curd paired with store bought pound cake and fresh seasonal fruit.
Seasonal fruit and store bought pound cake make for an easy dessert.
Give this recipe a try and let me know how you liked it.
We’re fortunate to share a garden with our neighbors. We have herbs, tomatoes, artichokes, lemons and a couple of fig trees. The first fig provided the perfect filling for this galette. Galettes are easy desserts, think of them as a pie or tart, but you don’t need a pie plate or a tart pan. You can also use store bought pie crust or use your favorite crust recipe. I rolled out a pie crust on to parchment paper and spread orange marmalade on the crust leaving about a 1 inch border. I sliced the fig lengthwise and cut it into 8 pieces. I placed them in a kind of spoke pattern on the pie crust and dusted with sugar and topped with a little more of the orange marmalade. Place the galette on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.