These luscious lemon pots de crème are perfect for entertaining. Not only are they do-ahead for party ease, they pair beautifully with a citrusy, creamy sparkling wine or Champagne, guaranteed to keep your evening rolling. Choose a sparkling wine or Brut Blanc de Blanc, made from Chardonnay grapes, which provides elegant creaminess and body as well as bright acidity and mineral notes, like L’Ormarins Blanc de Blanc.
Lemon Thyme Pots de Crème with Lemon Sugar
Lemon Thyme Sugar:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Pots de crème:
Juice of 3 lemons, about 3/4 cup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
7 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
Make the sugar:
Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Spread on a parchment lined plate or tray and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour to dry out. Store in a glass jar until use.
Make the pots de crème:
Simmer the lemon juice and sugar and in a small saucepan over medium heat until syrupy and slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Stir in the zest and steep for 15 minutes.
Heat the oven to 325°F. Place six (6-ounce) ramekins or heat-proof mason jars in a deep baking dish. Bring a kettle of water to a boil and keep warm.
Lightly whisk the eggs in a medium bowl.
Combine the cream, thyme, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat until nearly boiling and then remove from the heat. Slowly add the cream to the eggs in a steady stream, whisking constantly to blend. Whisk in the lemon syrup. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl, pushing down on the solids to extract as much flavor as possible.
Ladle the custard into the ramekins. Carefully pour the hot water into the pan, halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Loosely cover the pan with foil, transfer to the oven, and bake until the custard centers are set but still wobbly, about 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or overnight. Before serving, sprinkle the lemon thyme sugar evenly over the pots de crème. Serve chilled.
Lynda Balslev is an award winning writer, recipe developer, and cookbook author currently based in the San Francisco Bay area. She studied cooking in Paris and remained in Europe for 16 years, while living in Switzerland, England, and Denmark, where she learned that the best way to immerse oneself in a new culture was at the kitchen table. When she is not writing about food and wine through the lens of the travel, she writes about travel and culture through the lens of food and wine. Either way, it’s a win-win, and she looks forward to her next trip.