This butterscotch pots de creme recipe is a silky, creamy French style custard. This make-ahead dessert is rich, flavorful and surprisingly simple to prepare.
These butterscotch pots de creme are rich and creamy. They have a delicious butterscotch flavor. It is a custard-based dessert similar to pudding.
I wanted to make a dessert that was similar to pudding but fancy enough for company. The flavor and texture is richer, silkier and more decadent than puddings.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
- It’s rich and creamy. It has a deep caramel flavor.
- Whipped cream and pinch of flaky sea salt balance out the sweetness.
- The French name makes this recipe sounds fancy, but is very easy to make.
- You can keep it in the fridge for days after its made. It’s an excellent make ahead dessert for company!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need.
- Unsalted butter: I use unsalted butter.
- Brown sugar: I prefer dark brown sugar, but light brown sugar can also be used.
- Heavy cream: Pot de creme is French for “pots of cream.” Heavy cream is what makes these pots de creme so creamy.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract is important for flavor.
- Salt: Brings out the flavor.
- Egg yolks: Use large egg yolks. Pots de creme are thickened with egg yolk. They also make the pots de creme super smooth and velvety.
Substitutions & Variations
- Heavy cream: Heavy cream is the base for this recipe. I haven’t tried any substitutes for heavy cream. Since it is a main ingredient, I wouldn’t recommend swapping it for something else.
- Butter: Salted butter can be used in place of unsalted butter.
Step by step instructions
- Cook the butter and brown sugar. In a medium sized pot, cook the butter and brown sugar over medium heat for about 8 minutes. Stir while it cooks. Do not step away from the pot as you’ll need to keep stirring and also watch for cues to know when to add the cream.
- Add the cream and milk. Watch for the brown sugar and butter mixture to brown and develop a consistency similar to wet sand. It may also start to smoke a little. As soon as the mixture starts to smoke, pour in one cup of the cream. The mixture will sputter and seize up. Continue stirring and add the rest of the cream and milk. Continue stirring until the seized sugar dissolves. Once the mixture is smooth, add salt and vanilla extract. Remove from heat.
- Temper the egg yolks. Pour a little of the hot butterscotch mixture into the yolks as you whisk them. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the butterscotch mixture. Whisk just to combine. Pour the mixture through a sieve then divide mixture evenly between 4 ramekins. Fill the baking dish with hot water halfway up the ramekins. Tent the baking dish loosely with aluminum foil and bake 30-40 minutes. Allow ramekins to cool in the pan on the counter for one hour then cover and cool in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Frequently asked questions
Creme brulle means burnt cream in French. The main difference with pots de creme is that creme brulle is topped with a thin layer of caramelized sugar that gets torched by a small kitchen torch or by being placed under the broiler.
Yes. Pots de creme can be made 2 days in advance.
Covered pots de creme can last 2-3 days in the fridge.
Tips for making
Read over directions a few times before starting. You’ll want to know what to look for and in what order to add the ingredients to the butterscotch. It cooks quickly and once you start the process, you’ll want to give it your full attention!
Measure out ALL of your ingredients and have them next to the stove before beginning. Take out everything else you’ll need before beginning the butterscotch.
Some of the brown sugar can clump up and get stuck in a whisk. It’s better to use a wooden spoon when first mixing the brown sugar with the butter and cream.
How to store
This pot de creme can be made two days in advance. Cover the pots de creme and store in the refrigerator.
If you’re a butterscotch fan, you will love this butterscotch pots de creme! It’s so flavorful, silky and delicious custard. Bonus: it’s a great make-ahead recipe!Print
This butterscotch pots de creme recipe makes a silky, creamy French style custard. This make-ahead dessert is rich, flavorful and surprisingly simple to prepare.
FOR THE BUTTERSCOTCH POTS DE CREME
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed*
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg yolks
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR OPTIONAL TOPPING
- Brown sugar
- Flaky sea salt
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Place 4 (6-ounce) oven-safe ramekins in a 9 by 16 inch baking dish. Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil and then leave on a simmer. You will need this later on for the water bath.
- Take out/measure out your heavy cream, milk, vanilla extract, salt and egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized heat proof bowl next to the stovetop. Place a large sieve over a heat proof bowl.
- In a medium sized heavy bottomed sauce pot, cook the butter and brown sugar over medium heat using a wooden spoon to stir while it cooks. Do not step away from the pot as you’ll need to keep stirring and also watch for cues to know when to add the cream. Cook for about 8 minutes.
- At about 8 minutes, you should notice the mixture start to brown and develop a consistency similar to wet sand. The mixture may also start to smoke a little which is normal. As soon as the mixture starts to smoke, slowly pour in one cup of the cream. The mixture will sputter and seize up but keep stirring. Stir in the rest of the cream and milk. Cook and stir until the seized sugar dissolves. Use your wooden spoon to break up and stir while the sugar melts. If the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat. Once the mixture is mostly smooth, add salt and vanilla extract. Mix well. Remove from heat.
- Pour a little of the hot butterscotch mixture to the yolks as you whisk them. Add just enough of the cream mixture til the egg yolks are warm to the touch.
Pour the egg yolk mixture into the butterscotch mixture. Whisk gently just to combine. Pour the mixture through a large sieve then divide it evenly between 4 six-ounce ramekins. Carefully fill the baking dish with hot water halfway up the ramekins. Take care not to get any water in the custards. Tent the baking dish loosely with aluminum foil and bake 30-40 minutes. To check for doneness, gently tap or shake each ramekin (with an oven mitt on your hand!) If it ripples like water, cook another five minutes then check again. They are done when they jiggle like Jello. Remove from oven. Allow ramekins to cool in the pan (with the water still in it) on the counter for one hour then cover and cool in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Store, covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Top with whipped cream** (recipe below). Decorate with a sprinkle of brown sugar and flaky sea salt, if desired.
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar on medium high speed for 2-3 minutes until medium peaks form. Use right away or cover and chill in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
*I recommend dark brown sugar but light brown sugar can also be used.
**Whipped cream is best enjoyed right after it is made but it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Add to pots de creme just before serving.
Keywords: pots de creme, butterscotch, custard, pudding