Lavender Pots de Crème


Inspired by Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Jean-Georges at Home

(Serves 6)

NOTE:  You can make these ahead of time, but know that the lavender flavor will intensify after the pots de crème have been refrigerated overnight.  I think they’re at their best made the day they’re eaten.

Ingredients

  • 4 tsp dried lavender flowers, detached from their stems; use 3 tsp if you make it a day ahead
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 6 egg yolks at room temperature
  • Scant ½ cup sugar
  • 6 lavender stems with flowers intact, for garnish
  • 6 4 oz ramekins
  • A large baking pan that will hold the ramekins and is deeper than them

Directions

1.  Infuse the milk: place the lavender flower petals and milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat immediately and simmer for 5 minutes.  Cover, and place it on simmer (if you do not have a super-low heat, just turn off the heat).  Let it rest there for 10 minutes.  Take it off the heat and let it cool a bit.

2. Preheat the oven to 300º.

3. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and well-blended.  I use an electric mixer to make sure they get truly thick.  Set aside.

4.  Strain the lavender milk through a fine strainer. Discard the lavender. Pour a small amount of the milk into the egg mixture, whisking as you pour to make sure you do not cook the eggs.  Then pour the rest, gradually, into the mixture, whisking until it is well combined.

5. Divide the mixture between the ramekins and place them in the baking pan so they are not touching.  Pour water into the pan up to an inch below the top of the cups.  Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.

6.  Place the pan (carefully!) in the oven and bake. Check for doneness after 25 minutes—the puddings will be firm on the edges but jiggly in the middle.  Bake for another 5 -20 minutes (every oven is different) if needed but watch carefully—you want it to be soft in the middle!

7.  Serve warm or cold, garnished by a sprig of lavender.

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