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White Coffee Pot de Creme

by Chef Megan Joy on February 25, 2012

Living in the Rockies means you go through massive quantities of windshield wiper fluid every year. I’m not kidding. Drive down the Vail Pass when the roads are wet and just try to see through your windows.

It’s ironic to think that this light and powdery snow could create such a big mess when it melts.

I’ve been eyeing my truck each day for a week now, debating a trip to the car wash. After work today I finally settled on an express wash since more snow is in the forecast.

These white coffee pot de cremes remind me of that white, pristine snow. Their appearance is misleading, because within they harbor deep, delicious notes of coffee.

The cream is steeped with coffee beans, so the custard is infused with flavor yet still maintains its off-white hue. It’s a great trick!

Baking custards at altitude is simple, they just require a little more time. Reduce your oven to 275-300 F, and bake in a water bath on the lowest rack. Since the custards take longer to bake, a lower oven temperature is necessary to keep the tops from cooking before the centers have nearly set.

A set custard will be slightly spongy and springy when you lightly touch it with your finger. It’s okay if they are still a bit jiggly. They will firm up as they cool.

High Altitude How To Recipe:

White Coffee Pot de Creme
8.5 oz heavy cream
1/2 cup coffee beans
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks

Bring the cream to a simmer and add the coffee beans. Remove from heat and cover with foil for 10-15 minutes, to steep the cream and infuse it with the coffee flavor. Strain out the coffee beans and pour the cream back into the same pot. Add the salt, vanilla paste, and sugar. Bring the mixture back to a simmer. Temper the hot cream into the egg yolks.

Strain again to remove any remaining bits of egg yolk. Distribute among your custard cups of choosing. Place the custard-filled cups in a larger pan (I use a 9 x 13 glass dish) and place in the oven. Gently pour hot water into the pan until it’s 2/3 full. Bake until the custards are spongy feeling when lightly touched and barely jiggle. For shallow dishes, this may only take 20-25 minutes. For deeper custard cups, this could take 35-40 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and let the custards sit for 5 minutes. Remove the dishes from water bath and cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator. Makes 4-6 servings.

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