Vanilla Bean Pot De Crème (about 6, 6 ounce portions)
I love Beanilla for its wonderful selection of super affordable vanillas, sold in bulk. A single bean, sold in a specialty shop or gourmet store, can cost about $7. If you use vanilla even once or twice a year, biting the bullet and buying in bulk will save you a fortune! You can get 10 beans for about $20, which is a total steal, even for a casual baker.
You can see photos of the dessert here.
16 oz (450 g) cream
8 oz (225 g) whole milk
1 Tahitian vanilla bean, split and scraped, seeds reserved
8 oz (225 g) egg yolks, from about 10 eggs
7 oz (195 g) sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
In a medium pot, combine the milk, cream and vanilla bean. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then shut off the heat. Cover and steep for at least one hour.
While the vanilla steeps, take a moment to prepare a water bath. Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Once it boils, shut off the heat and cover. You’ll also need a baking pan with tall sides, large enough to accommodate 6 ramekins or oven safe espresso cups. I use an 9” x 13” (23 × 33 cm) baking pan. Also have a sieve and a piece of foil, slightly larger than the baking pan, set aside.
When the steep time is up, preheat the oven to 300° F (150° C) and return the milk/cream to a simmer.
Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, salt and reserved vanilla seeds in a medium bowl.
Ladle some of the hot cream into into the eggs, whisking continuously so as not to scald them. Repeat with another ladleful or two, until the egg mixture has warmed and become more fluid. Now 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 rubber spatula to stir, which can scrape the corners a spoon would miss. Keep stirring and cooking until the mixture becomes quite hot to the touch (about 140° F/ 60° C).
Place the sieve over the bowl that formerly contained the egg/sugar mixture and strain the hot custard. Portion evenly between the ramekins and place them in the baking pan. Fill about 3/4 full with the prepared hot water. Cover the whole thing over with foil and carefully transfer to the preheated oven.
Bake for between 30-45 minutes, or until the custards have a gentle set. Remove the custards from the oven and allow them to cool, still in their water bath, for about an hour. Then remove them from the water bath, cover, and refrigerate.
These custards have a terrific shelf life and will keep, covered and refrigerated, for a week. Serve with lightly whipped cream and a piece of crunchy caramel.