Pots de Crème au Caramel Salé

Years ago, I saw a similar dessert on a menu at a restaurant. Sadly, my inhibition of slaughtering the classy pronunciation trumped my desire for this tiny jar of goodness. Lesson learned. So say it with me now: po – de – krem. Not: pots – day – cream.

My French nationalist boyfriend is always so braggadocio about how the English language has so many derivatives from his native tongue – accoutrement, connoisseur, voyage, blah, blah, blah. Well, did you know that they actually don’t have a word for custard? So while this dessert is in fact some form of custard, it is simply called crème. Could this be the stubborn French temperament that drives their refusal to adapt the term custard for this dessert? Okay, so perhaps this dispute isn’t a global umbrella to be held above the entire French population but one that is an ongoing battle in our household. Nonetheless, one point for Team U.S.A.!

Now on to a more riveting topic, this luscious pots de crème. Oooh la la (by the way, he says that French people don’t even say this…I disagree)! Prior to making this dessert, I’ve always enjoyed caramel as a supporting actor to larger superstars such as ice cream, cheesecake and custard. I was never tempted to cast it as a star of it’s very own dessert because to me, caramel is way too sweet and is best enjoyed in small doses. Even when I was a little girl I would always rummage through my trick-or-treat loot and quickly trade my caramel candies for a mini size Snickers.

Then I discovered the extravagantly refined fleur de sel. Traditionally from the coast of Brittany and hand-harvested from the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom of the pans, fleur de sel is one of the most expensive salts due to its scarcity. A light sprinkling of fleur de sel really adds a new dimension of flavor to the rather toothsome caramel. Often times you’ll see these two combinations paired together like Laverne & Shirley or Mork & Mindy (yes, I am a proud child of the 80s).

As I searched high and low for the perfect recipe, I stumbled upon A Bowl of Mush‘s inspired recipe from Pierre Hermé’s caramel macarons. I gave it a go and it’s definitely a winner! I’d have to say she did a much better job in creating flawless and elegant caramel pots de crème so perhaps I should call mine, “Rustic Pots de Crème”? For A Bowl of Mush‘s recipe, check out her wonderful blog!

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