Monday, February 16, 2015

Salted Caramel Pots de Creme

I had a lovely little Valentine's Day meal with a few lady friends this past weekend and was reminded of how lucky I am to have great lady friends. What does one pair with great lady friends? Dessert, of course.  That's after a lot of good wine and two or three other courses. Consider these pots de creme your new creme caramels, ladies. I can't chat them up enough. They have a hint of milk chocolate that enhances the richness of the caramel and the addition of good sea salt adds an interesting dimension to an old favorite.

I made these a night in advance to ensure I got results I could use. My prep time was about 40 minutes, but I suspect I'd be able to trim that down a bit now that I've made it once. I like the idea that I can make it in advance, since that gives me time to do other food prep on the day of. For me and likely many others, forty minutes of preparation for a dessert seems like an investment, but these are so, so worth it. Dig in!


Serves 6


  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t sea salt 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 30 g milk chocolate
  • 6 egg yolks


Preheat the oven to 325 F. In a small saucepan combine the cream, milk, vanilla and salt and heat until the mixture begins to bubble. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

To make the caramel, combine the sugar and water in another saucepan and stir under medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Let the sugar water simmer for about 12 minutes until it turns a light amber color. Add the caramel to the cream mixture, stirring until combined. Finally, add the chocolate and stir until melted into the sauce.

Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl and then add half of the cream mixture, stirring until blended. Follow with the remaining cream mixture and then transfer the ingredients into a pitcher.

Do those servings look evenly divided to you?
Divide the mix evenly among six ramekins and place the ramekins in a baking dish filled with water that reaches halfway up each of the ramekins.  Bake, covered with tin foil for 45-50 mins, or until the mixture settles. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

I opted to broil the pots au creme on high heat with a little dusting of sugar before the items were served, to brown the surface a little; about 5 minutes. Once cooled, sprinkle the pots with a little sea salt.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Honey-Balsamic Roasted Strawberry Parfait

My smoothies, while delightful, look like dirty snow blended with compost, thanks to less-than-perfect blending technology. I have a decent blender, but it doesn't pulverize my ingredients like our nation's most coveted blender, the Vitamix Pro Series 300 (one day).  I end up with bits of green and seeds floating in a purple-grey fog. I drink these little numbers at the office almost daily, but get odd looks and a number of questions from passers by. I also get all sorts of stuff in my teeth.

This weekend, as I was perusing through my favorite recipe resource, Tastespotting, I found a delightful looking snack that became a contender as an alternative to my compost smoothy. I put these into jars so they were portable and had one today following my cardio-intensive, morning email review. Two words: Deeee-lish.  Wait..just one: Yum.


Serves 2

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 T honey
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups plain, Greek yoghurt
  • handful of oats and/or chopped nuts to top


Preheat oven to 350 F. Toss the strawberries in honey and balsamic vinegar and pour onto a baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and allow the strawberries to cool completely. Layer bowls or jars with a few dollops of yoghurt, then the strawberries and repeat with both ingredients. Top each serving with chopped nuts, oats or a combination of your choosing.