I had lunch recently at Gjelina (http://www.gjelina.com) on Abbot Kinney in Venice, CA. I suppose it falls under the category of “trendy”, but I love the combination of good food and great people-watching, so I always look forward to having a bite there. They pride themselves on local and home grown ingredients and you really can’t go wrong with anything from the single page menu. The highlight for me, and what keeps bringing me back, is their decadent dessert – Butterscotch Pot de Crème with Salted Caramel and Crème Fraiche. It’s wonderful – a dark, rich, buttery dessert – and I knew I had to duplicate it at home. Don’t confuse this with any store bought butterscotch pudding that you may have tried in the past – this smooth, rich, custard gets its deep caramel flavor from the dark Muscavado sugar. It’s perfect for a Valentine’s Day dessert.
*Update - The LA Times featured chef Travis Lett and his recipe for Gjelina's Butterscotch Pot de Creme - check it out here - Gjelina Pot de Creme Recipe
Butterscotch Pots de Crème
Makes 4 servings Download Butterscotch Pots de Creme Recipe
1 ½ cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar (http://bit.ly/de1lL2)
½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
¼ teaspoon fleur de sel or favorite sea salt
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar (http://bit.ly/cfHnii)
4 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla
Accompaniments: whipped cream; chocolate shavings or fresh berries
Special equipment: 6 (4-ounce) ramekins
1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 300°F. Place eggs yolks and vanilla in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Bring cream, muscovado sugar, vanilla pod with seeds, and salt just to a simmer over medium low heat in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Keep warm over low heat, being careful not to scorch cream.
3. Bring water and Demerara sugar to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and bubbly, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully add cream mixture (mixture will bubble up and steam), whisking until combined.
4. Whisk together yolks and vanilla in the large bowl, then add hot cream mixture in a stream, whisking steadily. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-quart glass measure. Skim off any foam with a spoon.
5. Divide custard among ramekins. Arrange ramekins in a small roasting pan and bake in a hot water bath, uncovered, until custards are set around edges but still tremble slightly in centers, about 40 minutes. Transfer ramekins to a rack with tongs and cool to warm or room temperature. Pots de crème will continue to set as they cool. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of dark muscavado sugar or grated chocolate.