Speaking of ingredients we’ve never cooked with before, I managed to get my hands on some Meyer lemons. I’d heard so much about their delicate flavor, their lack of pucker-inducing sourness, their almost sweet aftertaste. I scoured the internet for the best recipe to make use of my precious lemons. And I found this one, for pots de creme. French for “pots of cream.” I know, I should be a professional translator. Essentially, they’re little custard cups, made mostly with eggs and cream. You have to bake them in a water bath. See my notes towards the bottom of the post for tips about that.
Anyway, I was really excited about this recipe. And the little custards came out yummy. But it appears I’ve come to expect that pucker from lemony desserts. I actually missed it. These seemed kind of mild. Sure, they were creamy and sweet (but not too sweet) with just a hint of lemon. But I found myself wishing lemon was more of a star and less of an aftertaste. I’m not sure if I just didn’t use the right recipe to highlight the Meyer lemons or if I’m just a sucker for regular, super sour Eureka lemons.
So I recommend this recipe for people who like milder lemon flavor or creamy custards. I probably won’t make it again. I prefer lemon tarts or bars with a nice zip to the them. But I wouldn’t turn it down if somebody offered it to me, so it’s not like it’s bad. It’s just not for me.
From Fields of Greens
Meyer Lemon Pots de Creme
makes 4 6-ounce servings
1 whole egg
4 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice (about 3 or 4 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar until dissolved. Whisk in the cream and then the lemon juice. Strain though a sieve lined with cheesecloth and then stir in the lemon zest.
- Place ramekins in a baking pan and fill them with the custard. Add water to pan until it’s halfway up the sides of the cups, place in oven and bake 45 minutes or until custard is almost set in the center. (scroll down for water bath tips)
- Let sit on the counter until they reach room temperature, then move to the fridge and chill. You can serve cold or at room temp.
- They kept in my fridge for 3 days. I served them with a sprinkle of sugar and lemon zest, but they are also great plain.
Check out my new green prep bowls! From left: Cream, sugar, lemon juice, zest and eggs.
The mix before I added the cream. It’s funny that the gorgeous yellow color comes from the egg yolks, not from the lemon.
It’s not necessary to strain the mix before adding it to the ramekins, but it leads to a much smoother custard so I recommend it.
Be careful when assembling the water bath. You don’t want any ramekins to touch each other or the walls of the baking dish. You want them totally surrounded by water which helps regulate and evenly distribute the heat. Since they’re mostly cream, they can curdle if they get too hot instead of baking and setting like they’re supposed to. Finally, I recommend putting your dish on the rack in the oven and THEN adding the water instead of adding the water first and carrying the baking dish to the oven while it’s sloshing all over the place.
You’ll be rewarded with delicate little cups of custard and slight lemon flavor.
So am I the only one who was underwhelmed by their Meyer lemon experience? Maybe I just didn’t try the right recipe. Any suggestions?