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An elegant twist on classic pots de creme, a creamy vanilla pudding you’ll fall in love with! These are delicious with a touch of olive oil, cream and whole vanilla bean.
I was going to title this easy vanilla pots de creme recipe “Little Vanilla Custards,” because that’s basically what they are.
I’d already planned to make my vanilla custards instead of my usual vanilla panna cotta, but I changed course.
Nigella Lawson soaks panettone slices for cake in Tuaca, the Italian vanilla liqueur which she says seems “panettone in alcohol form.”
Hmmmmm. Okay. I think the last time I sampled Tuaca was back in the day, while on a date with a guy who drank amaretto sours.
But I could see how that brandied-buttery-vanilla-citrus flavor sensation that is Tuaca would work in a rich custard just as well as in the creamy filling of Nigella’s spectacular cake.
I had to go on an extended journey to find Tuaca, which turns out is not available in just any old grocery store, or even three (booze is sold in food stores where I live), but required, finally, a visit to the liquor mega-mart in the suburb one over from mine.
Good thing, too. Because damn if that liquid panettone doesn’t taste like a beautiful thing in these little vanilla custards!
My choice was to pour olive oil over this smooth-as-silk custard concoction because I love the taste of olive oil gelato. It adds just a tiny bit more luscious mouthfeel, so that drizzle tastes just perfect 🙂
Vanilla Pots de Creme
- 6 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup (90 g) sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ½ cups (375 ml) heavy cream
- ½ cup (125 ml) milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean
- Extra-virgin olive oil (use your good stuff)
- Preheat oven to 325 (160C) degrees. Place custard or espresso cups in a roasting pan or baking dish large enough to hold them so they don't touch. Bring a kettle full of water to a boil.
- Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt together in a bowl until the sugar is dissolved.
- Combine the cream and milk in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then immediately remove from the heat.
- Very gradually, dribble the hot cream mixture into the eggs, whisking at the same time. Stir in the vanilla extract. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a small, sharp knife; slide the dull edge of the knife along the bean to scrape out the seeds and add them to the bowl. Pour through a mesh strainer into a 3 or 4 cup measuring cup.
- Divide the custard among the cups and put the pan on middle oven rack; pour enough boiling water around the cups to come ⅔ of the way up the sides. Cover with a piece of aluminum foil and bake 35–40 minutes, until the edges are set and centers are a little quivery when you jiggle the cups.
- Carefully remove the cups from the water bath and cool on a rack 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Just before serving, drizzle a teaspoon or so of olive oil over each pots de crème.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- You can use 8 espresso cups (3-ounce capacity) if you have them.
- Otherwise bake the pots de creme in 6 (4-ounce) ramekins.