Saturday, January 16, 2010

Coffee Pots de Crème: Are they dessert or are they breakfast?

The world of custard is a continuum. At one end is a custard made with milk and whole eggs. At the other end is a concoction of cream and yolks. Variations fall in between. As a general rule one egg will set 2/3 cup of liquid.

I'm unable to control my imagination. I want to make porter custard, and citrus custard, and honey custard. Corn, squash, and chili custard. Monkey brains custard.

Thank you James Peterson. Your introduction makes me feel introduced and independent.

The coffee pots de crème were fantastic, easy, and quick. And they will continue to be fantastic tomorrow morning for breakfast. (About a year ago I made some earl gray tea baked custards. I used loose tea that had been sitting around a while but deserved a good purpose. I simmered an ungodly amount in the milk and the custard was delicious. Mark and I ate it for dessert and were wired until about 2 am from the caffeine.)

For anyone following along, a few notes on Pots de Crème, page 353:
I had to bake the custards almost twice as long as the recipe suggests. I used hot tap water for the bain marie and my tap doesn't get that hot. It was a bad choice. Next time I'll use water from the kettle (my usual).
Oftentimes when I bake custard the little foamy bubbles around the edge of the ramekin bake into the custard and are very visible in the finished desserts. For whatever reason the bubbles vanished this time. It might be because I covered the custards with foil (per JP's instruction) but I really have no idea.
As recommended, I used ground coffee instead of instant.
The custards were a little sweet. Next time I'll use less sugar.

The photo for this post was taken with some super expired 4 x 5 Polaroid film. It reminds me a bit of Irving Penn's food shots for Vogue, which I love, so I'm smittin'.


  1. I don't know who James Peterson is, but I simultaneously want to kill him and marry him. The same goes for you with your awesome pictures and delicious writing. mmmmmmm.

  2. I vote you marry him (now that Vince Vaughn is taken, but I'm sure that won't last, so commit at your own risk). I'm not stalker enough to know if he already has a wife, but if he does, I'm sure she's very busy and wouldn't mind if you joined the union.

    I also vote you marry me.

  3. Fabulous photo! Great writing, as usual. I hadn't thought of that as a tasty breakfast (what a way to start to start the day! Breakfast of Champions!). I am addicted to your blog Jessica!

  4. My justification for custard as breakfast goes like this:

    Custard is milk, sugar, and eggs.

    A latté with a poached egg is the same.

    I'm glad you like the photo. Mark and I had a fun time setting it all up last night.

  5. Jessica, This is Paul from the Hawkeye. As I'm sure you'll be baking many more custards and will also be needing a blow torch for some of them... before you start baking them, you can eliminate bubbles by grazing the uncooked custard with the torch. A quick pass will do the trick.

  6. Paul—that's awesome advice.

    You have to keep reading. I can use all the help I can get.