03 Mar Bergamot & Honey Pots de Crème + Black Tea Whipped Cream
Oh, Hi There! It’s been quite a while since my ramblings have graced these pages — over two weeks to be exact — and what a full, busy two weeks they have been. So much has happened since we last spoke, where do I begin?
The weekend before last, I (somewhat begrudgingly) packed up 75 sweaters and some very, very puffy borrowed snow gear, and embarked on my very first ski trip to beautifully cold Breckenridge, CO. (Seriously friends, what’s wrong with the beach?!) True to my Texas roots, I’ve spent most of the last 28 years avoiding that white, cold precipitation you Yankees call snow, especially when it’s blanketing any sort of downward-facing slope.
Turns out those efforts were for good reason.
Have you ever thrown a lap dog into a pool to “teach” it to swim? Well I have — no pups were harmed, don’t worry — and I imagine that frightened, wet little pup, looking more like a drowned rat than somebody’s faithful companion, was quite a bit more graceful than me, on skis, trying to clumsily “pizza” my way down the mountain while 3-year-olds flew past me like it was a walk in the park. Tiny jerks.
There was snow in all of my places (at one point I even face-planted and got a whole mouthful) and there may have been a few, slightly embarrassing, frustrated tears as well. Thank gawd for the Bloody Mary bar at the bottom of the slopes, that’s all I have to say. Unlimited bacon and olives cure all ails, amiright?
In the end, it was 100% worth the small loss of pride because it was the best kind of weekend, spent with the best of friends, and in reality, I’m a big idiot for forgoing a lesson. Next time, I’ll fork over the cash for a full day training session on the bunny slopes — I’m not giving up yet. (So long as there’s always friends, après cocktails and a hot tub at the bottom of the mountain.)
Breckenridge was followed by a quick stop in New York City for a work meeting and, more importantly, Steve’s best friend’s 30th birthday celebrations. (How did I get this old?!) The highlight, besides the company, of course, was the second best breakfast sandwich of our lives at Court Street Grocers in Brooklyn, where we worked for the better part of the day while they blasted sweet retro jams, including the Lion King soundtrack and the best of Destiny’s Child. Go there. It was fantastic. (Did I mention they had hot dog Pringles?)
After Brooklyn was a quick stop in Fort Lauderdale (I told you I’ve been busy) for another work meeting, a beer-filled pro hockey game and a morning spent working while longingly gazing out at crystal blue waters of the Atlantic. Oh how I longed for the beach after a week spent in the cold.
Then I flew home and slept for 2 days straight.
That’s what’s been going on around here, how’s life in your world?!
I’ve been sitting on this recipe for Bergamot Pots de Crème for a couple weeks now. The intention was to share it with you shortly after Valentine’s Day, so I do hope so very much that the season has not passed us by, and you’ll still be able to get your hands on this lovely fruit.
Not familiar, you say? Bet you are.
Bergamot is responsible for the widely recognizable, floral-y citrus flavor that is prominent in Earl Grey tea. Until stumbling upon a basket of them while searching for Meyer lemons at my local market, I had no idea bergamot was a citrus fruit — I had always imagined it to be an exotic herb or flower — and while they’re relatively pricey as far as produce goes (I think mine were $6/lb), I knew I had to buy them up and bring them home to make something extra special with my prize. And on the positive size, you really only need a single bergamot for this recipe — the flavor of the zest is quite potent so a little bit goes a long way. I encourage you to splurge if you can find them, they’re well worth it!
Intensely smooth and decadent, these pots de creme are my current favorite dessert — hands down the best thing I’ve made in 2016, thus far. Indulgent heavy cream and egg yolks combine to make an incredibly rich and creamy custard base that perfectly balances the bright, perfume-like flavor imparted by bergamot. To keep with the tea theme, I used wildflower honey as the sweetener and topped mine with black tea-scented whipped cream. Enjoy!
A FEW NOTES ABOUT THIS RECIPE:
- If you can’t find bergamot, any other variety of citrus with a fragrant zest will work well with this recipe. I recommend trying Meyer lemon or orange.
- Over-baked pots de crème can become grainy, so it’s important you keep a close eye on them as they near the end of their baking time. To test for doneness, tap the side of a ramekin with your finger or a knife. If they’re set and jiggle like Jell-o, they’re done.
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoons bergamot zest
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 bags Earl Grey Tea
- Preheat the oven to 300F. Put a kettle of water on the stove to boil, and arrange six ramekins in a baking dish.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the cream, milk, honey and bergamot zest and cook until just simmering.
- While the cream mixture is heating, in a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks for 30 seconds to a minute, until slightly pale and creamy.
- Once simmering, slowly whisk the cream mixture into the egg yolks, mixing constantly so that the eggs do not cook. Strain the mixture into the ramekins.
- Place the baking dish onto a baking sheet for stability, then pour about an inch of boiling water into the dish. It should reach about half way up the ramekins.
- Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and carefully place it on the middle rack of the oven.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the custard is set but still slightly jiggly in the center when you tap the end of the ramekin. The cook time will be affected by the temperature of the custard when it was put into the oven, so begin checking for doneness as early as 35 minutes into cooking.
- When set, remove from the oven, remove the foil tent and place the entire baking dish onto a wire rack. Cool the ramekins still in the water, until they have come to room temperature, then remove them, cover and chill. Serve cold with Black Tea Whipped Cream.
- Add the cream to a bowl and fully submerge two Earl Grey tea bags. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- To whip, remove the tea bags, squeezing out any excess cream, then pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on high for about a minute, or until thick and fluffy.