~ Lemon Thyme Pots de Creme with Lemon Sugar ~
The California weather has officially exorcised any trace of a wintry climate. Blue skies, blooming trees and air that feels like butter is the status quo at the moment. Spring is in the air, and consequently I am craving lemons. February is peak lemon season, which spans winter to spring in California. Lemon’s bright acidity is a welcome bite of sunshine on a plate, and fortunately very portable for those of you still knee-deep in snow and far from the California.
These pots de creme are redolent with lemon, and they are a breeze to make. Creamy and comforting, this dessert will brighten your day, no matter the weather outside. Begin the pots de creme one day in advance, so they may chill overnight.
Lemon Thyme Pots de Creme with Lemon Sugar
Pots de Creme:
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons (packed) finely grated lemon zest
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Fresh thyme for garnish
1. Simmer the lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar and the zest in a medium sauce pan until reduced to about 1/2 cup and syrupy, 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Heat the oven to 325°F. Place six (6-ounce) ramekins in a deep baking dish. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and keep warm.
3. Combine the cream, thyme, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat until nearly boiling without allowing it to boil. Remove from the heat.
Whisk the eggs and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl until light, about 1 minute. Whisk 1/2 cup cream into the eggs. Pour the mixture back into the pan with the remaining cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of the spoon.
4. Whisk in the lemon syrup, and then strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl, pushing on the solids to extract the flavor.
5. Ladle the custard into the ramekins. Pour the hot water into the pan, halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Loosely cover with foil and bake until the centers are set but still wobbly, about 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or overnight.
6. Before serving, make the lemon sugar. Whisk the zest and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the pots de creme and garnish with thyme sprigs.