Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pots de Creme

Set of two Chinese Export brown
Fitzhugh Crested Pot de Creme, 1785.
Vandekar of Knightsbridge

I always think they are just the cutest little things!

Originally popping up in the 17th century, these little pots were created with their lids to keep broths and meat juices warm. According to Clare Le Corbeiller, decorative arts curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art "in the eighteenth century this shape cup was called pots à jus." In the 19th century, they started using them to serve desserts, most notably, pot de creme.

Pot de creme is a loose, french custard. It's unbelievably easy to make. I know this, because I made it for the first time last night and it was amazing! I had a friend over so I thought I would give making pot de creme a shot. We took a bite and ohmygosh! The best thing I have had in a while.

I don't have pots yet, so I used porcelain ramekins. I have also seen them made in teacups - just make sure they are oven safe!

Pot de Creme au Chocolat (with a little almond - yum!)
This makes 4 full pots, or 6 smaller portions.

2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate
1 cup half and half
3 Tbs sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
pinch of salt

Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and add the milk. Keep warm. In a second bowl, beat the egg with the sugar and add the almond extract and salt. Temper the egg mixture into the milk/chocolate and remove from heat. 

Fill your pots de creme and place in a pyrex pan. Fill with boiling water, up to 1/2inch from the top of the pots. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. 

Remove the pots from the water bath and cool for about an hour. They will not be fully set until they cool. Cover and chill in the fridge for (suggested) 3 hours, but we ate ours after about 90 minutes. As long as they are chilled through so they set up.

Some other suggestions, if you are not fond of almond: orange zest, vanilla, grand marnier... Lots of options!

Sevres pot de creme, 1765

 English Creamware Covered
Pot de Creme, 1785-95
Vandekar of Knightsbridge

Sevres pot de creme
via Live Auctioneers

Sevres Porcelain Covered Pots-de-Creme, 1768
via Live Auctioneers

Lahoche & Pannier, 1855.
Vandekar of Knightsbridge


  1. Yumm! I have copied out your recipe and will make some asap! I don't have an actual antique pot de creme to use, but I'll think of something :)