This is a recipe for a very Traditional Pots de Creme which is essentially a thickened custard with various flavorings. Pot de creme became popular again in the 1970's and back then most of the recipes were either for chocolate or vanilla. This recipe includes options for for either an espresso or ginger flavored pot de creme.
The pot de creme cup displayed is from the early 1900's, completely hand painted. It is part of a set of 6 pot de creme cups. Visit our Pot de Creme Museum to see hundreds of examples of pot de creme cups and sets. You can also purchase them online at GourmetSleuth Pots de creme cups.
Use 6-oz. ramekins. Heat the oven to 325°F.
Heat the cream or cream and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until scalded (you'll see small bubbles on the sides of the pan). Split the vanilla bean in half, if using, and scrape the seeds into the cream.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, slowly whisk the sugar into the egg yolks and eggs. Slowly temper the hot cream/milk into the sugar/yolk mixture. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a pitcher or measuring cup. Stir in the salt and vanilla extract, if using.
Arrange the ramekins in a baking dish with deep sides, pour the mixture into the ramekins, fill the baking dish with water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins and cover the dish with foil. Bake until just set, 25 to 50 min.
Remember to start checking early; baking time will depend on the thickness and depth of your ramekins and baking dish. Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and let the ramekins cool in the water bath.
Omit the vanilla. Cut a 3-inch piece of fresh ginger into very thin slices, add to the cream/milk, and heat to a simmer. Remove from the heat; infuse for 15 to 20 min. Strain, bring back to a simmer, and proceed.