What do you get when you combine a traditional French custard with a classic Argentine dessert? A luxurious taste of heaven, that's what. Try whipping up this irresistible medley of rich caramel and crème, featured in James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame-r Jean Anderson’s latest release, Crisps, Cobblers, Custards & Creams ($21; amazon.com), and serve it in porcelain teacups, as the chef does above, for the full Marie Antoinette effect. Read on for the recipe.
Dulce de Leche Pots de Crème
For the Dulce de Leche
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk (not low-fat or fat-free)
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk (not low-fat or fat-free)
1/4 cup raw sugar
4 large egg yolks or 2 large whole eggs (Note: Anderson prefers the supreme silkiness of yolks-only pots de crème, but if you have no immediate use for the whites, use two whole eggs instead.)
1/4 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream beaten to soft peaks with 1 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1. Place sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and raw sugar in medium-sized heavy saucepan, set over moderate heat, and bring to rolling boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the color of caramel and the consistency of stirred custard, 20 to 25 minutes.
2. Whisk egg yolks and salt in medium heatproof bowl until smooth, then whisking briskly, add about 1/2 cup hot milk mixture and continue whisking until smooth. Stir back into pan, set over moderate heat, and cook and stir just until mixture begins to simmer–do not bring to rolling boil because mixture may curdle.
3. Remove the heat and blend in vanilla. Pour into four ungreased 5- or 6-oz. ramekins or custard cups, dividing amount evenly.
4. Serve warm or, if you prefer, cover and chill several hours before serving. The pudding will never set like custard or gelatin desserts, but it will thicken. Whether you choose to serve these little pots de crème “straight up” or topped with whipped cream “to cut the richness,” as they say down South, is up to you. For a dinner party Anderson may go “continental” and top with mock Devonshire cream or crème fraîche.