Peanut Butter Pots de Crème · GF (6 portions)
I originally shared this recipe for my column on Serious Eats after a photo of this dessert appeared in the November 2011 issue of Food & Wine. Check out the Food & Wine article or see more photos and hear all about this dessert over at Serious Eats.
I add the peanut butter and chocolate in with the milk and cream at the beginning of the recipe, instead of whisking them in at the end (as you might normally in making a custard). I’ve discovered through trial and error the peanut butter won’t always emulsify into the custard if it’s whisked in cold at the last step. Instead, it separates into little curds of peanut butter that remain even after baking. So I whisk it in at the beginning, allowing it to melt into the milk and cream and causing no further trouble.
Wait. That’s not true. A slight bit of trouble. If you’ve ever made any sort of custard before, you’ll know the term nappe, or at least remember hearing instructions something like, “cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.” Well, thanks to our luscious peanut butter, this mixture starts out thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. So judge the mixture with your finger or a thermometer: cook until it’s hot to the touch, or about 140° before straining.
Final note: yes, there is dark chocolate in the custard, but the final taste is peanut butter. The subtle hint of coffee and chocolate do something really magical to the peanut butter flavor. Trust me.
Peanut Butter Pots de Crème
8 ounce milk
8 ounces cream
6 ounces creamy peanut butter (commercial or natural, it doesn’t matter)
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1/3 ounce dark chocolate
4 ounces egg yolks (from 8-12 eggs)
4 ounces sugar
1 ounce honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 batch red wine syrup
vanilla bean shortbread
Preheat the oven to 300° and take a second to prepare the water bath: set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it comes to a boil, shut off the heat and let it sit until needed. Have baking pan with tall sides and large enough to hold the 6 ramekins ready. I use an 8” square cake pan. Also have a large piece of foil standing by.
In a medium pot, combine the milk, cream peanut butter, espresso, and dark chocolate. Turn the heat to medium and whisk until the peanut butter and chocolate have thoroughly melted into the milk/cream mixture. You don’t need to whisk constantly, just once or twice a minute.
Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks, sugar, honey, and salt in a large bowl, whisking to combine. When the peanut butter milk mixture begins to steam and perhaps bubble, whisk a ladleful into the eggs. Temper in another two ladles of the hot milk.
Then whisk the warm egg mixture into the pot of milk/cream. Turn the heat to medium low and cook the mixture, stirring constantly. Use a heat resistant rubber spatula to stir, making sure to rub the spatula all over the bottom and sides of the pot so no scorched or curdled bits form. Keep stirring and cooking until the mixture becomes hot to the touch (about 140°).
Place a sieve over the bowl that formerly contained the egg/sugar/honey mixture and strain the hot liquid into that bowl. Now, portion the mixture evenly between the ramekins (about 5 ounces each), place them in the pan, and fill the pan about 3/4 full with the prepared hot water. Cover the whole thing over with foil and very carefully transfer to your preheated oven.
Bake for between 30-45 minutes, or until the custards have a gentle set. If they at all appears liquid-y, keep baking.
They’re done when they’re done, which may or may not correspond to the time given. If you’ve made a baked custard before, you’ll know when. It is entirely possible that some of the custards, particularly those near the edges of the pan, will finish baking before others. You may need to rescue custards from the oven on a case by case basis.
The following paragraph is written for someone who has never baked a custard before, so that they can better gauge their doneness and have a successful first experience.
If you think the custards might be getting close to done, but aren’t sure, gently press your finger against the surface of a custard. If
a) your finger pokes through
b) your finger becomes coated in custard
c) some molten custard is displaced by the pressure of your touch
cover it all back up with the foil and bake another 5-10 minutes and check again.
The custards are done when you can gently press one and feel a slight resistance to your touch. You don’t want to bake them so long that they are, by any means, “firm.” You’re looking for a soft, Jello-like jiggle but with no trace of liquidy goo.
When you’ve decided they’re done, remove the custards from the oven and from their water bath, and cool them to room temperature. Then, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour before consuming. (Or, if you’re like Mr. BraveTart, steal one to eat while still warm. I am not crazy about warm peanut butter custard, but he would want me to mention that it’s an option. )
These custards have a terrific shelf life and will keep, covered and refrigerated, for about ten days.
Nov 11, 2011 · 5:44 AM
Oh my goodness!! These look so good! I might just halve the recipe and give this a try since I don’t have that many eggs around. Thanks for the recipe!
· Mandy · http://www.marriedupwithwine.com
Nov 11, 2011 · 1:03 PM
What a wonderful variation in flavor! I have had the chocolate, but the peanut butter is something I must try-delicious. Thanks for the recipe as well as the tips. Have a great weekend!
· Tina@flourtrader · http://flourtrader.blogspot.com
Nov 11, 2011 · 7:56 PM
chocolate and peanut butter together makes it mouth watering. also thanks for sharing tips about nappe and melting problems with peanut butter. great recipe for these cold days to have with a cup of tea.
· Visda · http://shikamoo.typepad.com
Nov 12, 2011 · 9:08 PM
@Mandy, aww, a teeny tiny batch!
@Tina, I am such a sucker for peanut butter. I like the American twist on an otherwise classic French dessert.
@Visda, oh yeah, some strong black tea and peanut butter? Sign me up! Thanks for dropping by!
Nov 14, 2011 · 5:44 AM
Ok. I would like to say “marry me?” but that’s impossible… This looks soooo yummy…
· Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen · http://pencilkitchen.blogspot.com
Nov 14, 2011 · 8:35 AM
These look and sound delicious! I love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate, and I’m really intrigued about the addition of the red wine syrup…
Nov 19, 2011 · 6:07 PM
@sarah, So glad you like! Actually, would you believe they’re candle holders? We have them at the restaurant, I’m not sure where our owners purchased the. Most of our dishes come from Crate & Barrel, so you might try there. Pier 1 would be a good bet too. It’s a fun presentation, no? Good luck!
Nov 20, 2011 · 5:12 PM
@Sarah, no problem! So glad you found something similar to use! You’ll have to let me know how they turn out. xoxo