Friday, January 8, 2010

Curtis Stone's Pots of Gold

After a much-needed break, I am back - to school and to this blog.

This semester is shaping up to be very interesting. I'm taking a food writing class, and I think it's going to be a fantastic learning experience. I think it will help me to develop a more distinctive voice, something I've always felt that this blog lacks.

In addition to improving my writing, I'm also looking to improve my health - and after the holidays, I know I'm not the only person who is. My willpower is annually on hiatus from December 24 to January 1. After a holiday with seven different Christmas celebrations (all but one with food) and even a couple of New Year's gatherings, my body needs some help. So consider today's recipe a bit of self-sabotage: Curtis Stone's Pots of Gold.

You might think calling a dessert a "pot of gold" is a bit hyperbolic. And most of the time, it probably would be. But in this case, you'd be wrong - here's why: This recipe involves a layer of dark caramel covered by thick, creamy custard. Sound enticing? It is.

(a before and after of the caramel)

Think of it as a reverse creme brulee. Rather than crack through a layer of hard caramel, your spoon cuts through the springy custard and a pool of syrupy caramel spills out. It is absolutely delicious, and worthy of its golden name.

Ah, Curtis Stone. Eye candy and culinary talent to spare. Here's the recipe:

Pots of Gold
From Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone
Serves 6

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

1 1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/3 cup whole milk (Note: I used 1% to great effect)
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

Position an oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 275F. Set six 6-oz ramekins in a roasting pan.

To make caramel, combine sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium size heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir gently over medium heat for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Then boil without stirring, occasionally swirling pan, until syrup turns a deep golden brown, about 4 minutes. Immediately remove saucepan from heat and divide syrup among the ramekins, tilting each ramekin to coat the bottom. Note that if you add syrup to the same ramekin twice, the first layer of caramel will set and not dissolve - which is okay, but makes clean up not so fun. Try to accurately guess how much to put in each ramekin on your first attempt. Set the ramekins aside and allow caramel to cool until hardened, about 10 minutes.

Bring cream, milk and sugar to simmer in medium size heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Remove pan from heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk eggs, egg yolks and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk cooled cream mix into egg mix. Strain custard through sieve into a large cup measuring cup (4 cups or larger). Pour custard over hardened caramel in ramekins, dividing it equally.

Transfer roasting pan to oven. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until outer 1 inch perimeter of custards is slightly set but centers are still loose, about 1 hour. To test whether it’s cooked push a small knife into the center of one of the dishes; if caramel rises out of the hole made by the knife, they are done.

Remove roasting pan from oven and remove cups to a cooling rack. When slightly cooled, refrigerate overnight.


matty January 8, 2010 at 12:47:00 PM EST  

You can make this anytime!

Eliana January 8, 2010 at 7:48:00 PM EST  

This looks absolutely delicious Kaitlin.

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