Adapted from Gourmet, Oct 2003 on Epicurious.com
Serves 4 generously, and 5 as an easy stretch
This was the best looking recipe for butterscotch pots de crème I could find on the web. Unfortunately, it calls for some fancy-schmancy ingredients. But fortunately, these can be easily substituted with common ones. You can use dark brown sugar for muscovado and white sugar for Demerara. You can. But you shouldn’t. You know, the chef in me wants to tell you to only use the fancy sugars. You are going to get a much deeper, more complex flavor with these. But the person-who-doesn’t-want-to-spend-an-hour-calling-specialty-food-stores-all-over-town-just-to-find-some-stupid-sugar in me wants to tell you to just go ahead and use the stuff on hand. Either way, they’re no doubt yummy.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine cream, muscovado sugar and salt in a small saucepan, and over medium heat bring to just a simmer, stirring to completely dissolve the sugar.
Combine the water and Demerara sugar in a 2-3 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, but do not stir, until deeply caramelized and foamy, about five minutes or so. (The more you caramelize the sugar, the deeper the color and more complex the flavor will be. Be brave and take it to the edge, but be careful not to burn it.) Remove from heat and add about a third of the cream mixture and whisk until combined. It will violently bubble and steam. When this subsides, add the rest of the cream mixture and whisk to thoroughly combine.
Whisk the yolks and vanilla in a large bowl. Slowly pour the cream mixture over the yolks, whisking the yolks as as you pour. Whisk until combined. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Using a spoon, skim off any foam. Pour custard into 6-oz soufflé cups, just to the rimed border. Arrange cups in a roasting pan. Pour hot water into the pan surrounding the cups, enough so that it rises about half-way up their sides. Bake, uncovered, until just set but still a little jiggly in the center, about 45-50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. These can be served warm, room temperature, or cold. If serving cold, cool first to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be held in a refrigerator for up to four days. To serve, top with a dollop of whipped cream and a single gingersnap cookie.
For the Whipped Cream
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbl sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Whip cream to soft peaks. Add sugar and vanilla and whip to firm peaks.
SERVED AT THIS DINNER PARTY