maple gingerbread pots de crème

16 Dec

Mm delish!

Packing up my bags (all two of them) and sprinting hundreds of miles to the big city was an adventure. In the past year I’ve met and seen more than I could imagine, and I’m thankful.

But sometimes it got lonely; my heart ached a little bit for the comforting companionship of my family.

sprinkle sugar

But here in the Big Apple, hundreds of miles away from true home, I find just as warm and welcoming a family – my friends. I honestly can’t think of any better people. This is the real “Cheers” where “everybody knows your name.” I can’t help grinning when any one of these people is around; when we’re all bunched together, the conversation is golden and melts away hours. I’ve never laughed so hard at such stupid, small things in my life.

So this warm recipe that’s meant to be shared seems to fit the mood just fine.

friends digging in

(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

The ingredients:

  • 1/2 C maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 C half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • dash of salt
  • drop of vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons of white sugar

*Next time I’ll try a tbsp of dark rum, too. High spirit via spirits. (Just when you thought it was over! I snuck this pun into the company Christmas card. Oh baby.)

Preheat your lovely oven to 300° F.

Combine first three ingredients in a *large* bowl, stirring evenly with a whisk. (I say large, because the more excited you are about this recipe the more you WILL spill all over the counter.)

Throughout the rest of the cooking, constantly stir with the whisk. Mix the half-and-half and the rest of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. While whisking, cook just until bubbles appear on the edges; don’t boil it. (Constant stirring! Mad-Eye Moody style.) Pour the milk mix into the egg mix.

Bring the mix back to the saucepan, and lower the temperature to medium-high. Cook until it thickens slightly (mine took about 4 minutes), still stirring. (The trick is not to scramble the mix, just slowly and evenly mix the entire time.) Remove from the heat!

Strain the mixture through a sieve; save the liquid, get rid of the solids.

Now comes the fun part: divide the mix into 8 ramekins. (I did 4, but honestly 8 would have been better. Mine were delicious but too thin.) Now move the ramekins to a 13in x 9in metal baking pan. Pour hot water into the pan ’til it reaches one inch. (Careful not to splash into the ramekins!)

Bake at 300° for one hour (or until the centers barely jiggle when you move the pan).

Cover and chill for about four hours. And try not to sneak a bite.

For added goodness, sprinkle 1 tsp of white sugar over the top of each, and broil the tops. (Makes a nice crunchy contrast.) Inconsistency makes this more beautiful, thank goodness. As does most things.

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