I’ve recently purchased a bunch of really delicious eggs from a local farmer, and am trying to figure out creative ways to use them up. Custards always spring to mind, but when I went to the fridge I found that the things that would make a normal pot de creme were not all present. Instead, I improvised for the dairy using some of my homemade yogurt and it turned out really well! Slightly less sweet and slightly more tangy than your average chocolate custard. And of course, because I’m obsessed with putting herbs in everything, I had to put some in my dessert too. I decided to try a little experiment with this recipe after they were in the oven, and thought I would turn them into creme brulee. I’ve made creme brulee before plenty of times before, but I wondered how it would work with some more flavoring crushed in with the sugar. The verdict? As long as the pieces of herbs/zest/whatever you’re using are small, it should work (I have only tried this once, bear in mind, so while it worked super well with this recipe, I can’t attest to every variation!) I used some lavender buds and some rosemary and ground them up with a mortar and pestle. I added some vanilla sugar (obviously regular ol’ sugar works here), ground a bit more, sprinkled it on my pots de creme, torched it*, and voila!
*I have a propane torch specifically for these kinds of tasks. You can get them at the hardware store and they are much sturdier than the flimsy ‘culinary torches.’ If you don’t have one, I hear that putting the cremes under the broiler works well too.
Chocolate and herb pots de creme
1/2 c plain yogurt
4-5 oz semi-sweet chocolate (either chips or a bar that’s been broken up)
1 tsp lavender flowers
1 small sprig fresh rosemary
-Heat oven to 350.
-Beat eggs and add to a pot with the other ingredients.
-Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it simmers and thickens considerably.
-Strain out the rosemary sprig and lavender, and pour the mixture in to small ramekins (it filled 4 of my ramekins, but I have some extra tiny ramekins for some reason so it might just fill 2 of yours).
-Place ramekins in a cake pan or roasting pan with high sides.
-Make a bain marie by pouring hot water into the pan (NOT the ramekins!) until it is about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. For this, I usually just fill my kettle before I cook and turn it on a minute or two before the custard is done so it has time to heat up.
-Place in the oven, and cook for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how thick you’d like your custard to be.
-Cool slightly or all the way, and serve.
Herbed sugar (optional)
If you want to turn this into an herbed creme brulee, here is what you do!
1 pinch lavender flowers
1 pinch rosemary leaves
3-4 tbsp vanilla (or regular) sugar
tiny pinch salt
-Place the herbs in a mortar and gently grind with a pestle. Add sugar and salt and continue grinding to mingle everything together.
-Sprinkle on top of your pots de creme when they have cooled slightly.
-Caramelize the sugar using either a torch or broiler (do this immediately before serving).