I’ve been doing a lot of baking lately. My roommate Gayle invited us over to her soon-to-be-new apartment (she’s moving in with her fiance, Aaron, and his roomies) for a family dinner on Sunday. So I took that as an excuse to make the maple pumpkin pots de creme I’d seen on Epicurious a while ago.
I made two batches, with errors in each. The first batch, I ran out of maple syrup (THAT’s what I need to get at Trader Joe’s today…), so I added some sugar. I wanted to use brown sugar for the flavor, but we were out, so I used regular white sugar. I started mixing the eggs into the cream, and was thinking, “I thought I was supposed to heat up the cream.” Well, I was. That’s what happens when you have to run between the computer and the kitchen while cooking.
Fortunately, I had only whisked in a little bit of the egg mixture. So I brought it slowly to a simmer, added in the rest of the egg, and strained it pretty thoroughly before I poured it into the ramekins. No one wants scrambled eggs in their pots de creme.
For the second batch, I used pure cane sugar to sweeten it, which was a mistake. The larger bits didn’t dissolve, even in the simmering cream, and I think it contributed to the mottled texture. Also, I used the last 7 eggs in our kitchen for the egg yolks, and sadly, lost an egg yolk. I scooped up half of it in the sink before the rest escaped down the drain. I did add some ginger to the cinnamon and nutmeg used as flavoring (which was added to the yolks, not the cream).
The flavor of the first batch was good–nicely spiced and moderately rich. The pumpkin wasn’t overwhelming; it was just a nice, solid flavor. But the consistency just wasn’t what I’m used to in my chocolate pots de creme (the recipe I use is from Martha Stewart’s February issue from a few years back). Those are so nice and dense.
The flavor of the second batch was a bit off–neither sweet nor complex enough without the maple syrup, and Aaron’s roommate Dan mentioned that he crunched into a couple chunks of sugar. And the consistency was terrible–more like custard than a pot de creme. It also took longer to cook (about 45 minutes compared to 40).
Here are the elements I’m going to put to the test in my next batches:
1) Follow the recipe exactly. This is the control sample.
2) Check the MSL recipe to see how many eggs. I wonder if an egg white or two might help with the consistency issue.
3) Reduce the amount of cream/milk.
4) Put the spices in with the cream.
Next project: mango sticky rice for the next stitch ‘n’ bitch. I ate it for the first time this weekend, and I gagged on the mango. I think it might have been the coconut milk on the mango. I guess that means I already have a problem to solve!