The City Magazine Since 1975

Vanilla Pots de Crème with Blackberry Gelée

Makes 5, 4-ounce servings  
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For the pots de crème:
2 cups heavy cream
1 star anise
3 vanilla beans or 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/2 cup sugar

For the blackberry gelée:
1 pint blackberries, plus 10 additional berries for garnish
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup cold water
1 Tbs. powdered gelatin
5 tiny sprigs of lemon verbena, lemon balm,
    mint, basil, or edible flowers



For the pots de crème:

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Place the cream and star anise in a small saucepan. Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a sharp paring knife. Add the seeds and pods to the saucepan (or substitute vanilla extract). Place the saucepan over low heat and warm the cream until steam begins to rise off the top and tiny bubbles start to appear around the edges.

Put the egg yolks, egg, and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Once the cream is hot, very slowly whisk it into the egg mixture. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a four-cup heatproof measuring cup with a spout.

Pour four ounces of the mixture into each of five ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking pan that will hold them without touching. Carefully pour hot water halfway up the sides of the ramekins to insulate the crèmes. Cover the pan with foil and carefully place it in the oven. Bake the crèmes for about 20 minutes, or until the custard is firm when shaken. Remove them from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate. Tightly covered, the pots de crème will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days.      

For the blackberry gelée:

Put the pint of blackberries, sugar, and salt in a blender and purée them until very smooth. Put the water in a cup and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Put the berry purée in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the mixture is just under a simmer. Do not let it boil. Gently stir the gelatin into the berry purée until it is dissolved. Quickly strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the seeds. Divide the mixture evenly over the top of the chilled crèmes. Refrigerate for at least six hours before serving. Garnish with the blackberries and sprigs of herbs or edible flowers.