Last week, I got to have lunch with one of my culinary heroes.
I got an email from Margaret, a local publicist, inviting me to a lunch with the new writers of the Best of Bridge series of cookbooks: Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, Sue Duncan and Julie Van Rosendaal.
Now, I’ve been a big fan of @DinnerWithJulie for ages, and even worked with her briefly a few years back when she did a cooking demo at The Wellness Show while promoting Spilling the Beans (Sue has a co-author credit on that one, too). So I was stoked to hang out with these ladies (whom I aspire to be when I grow up) and learn more about what they were currently working on.
The Best of Bridge cookbooks have been an institution in many Canadian kitchens since 1957. These are real recipes. They’re not frou-frou or chi-chi. These are real ladies, cooking real food in real kitchens, which is why they are so immensely popular.
Their first cookbook? The Family Slow Cooker.
If you know me at all, you know how crazy I am for my slow cooker. And especially this time of the year. I’ve flagged a bunch of recipes to try over the coming, cooler months, but Julie and I got into a conversation about dessert in the slow cooker. Not traditional, but doable.
She mentioned a recipe for a pot de crème that uses the slow cooker as a bain marie, and it blew my mind a little. Of course! It makes perfect sense that you could cook any kind of a custard-y dessert (like a flan, creme caramel, creme brulee) in a slow cooker in a few inches of water. So, I rushed home to try it.
It works. Really well. Try it.
I love this kind of a dessert, because it’s creamy and rich and I loved this particular salted caramel take on it. I will eat anything salted caramel.
Slow Cooker Salted Caramel Pots de Creme
(recipe courtesy of Best of Bridge: Family Slow Cooker)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp packed brown sugar, divided
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp corn syrup
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Large-flake sea salt (like Maldon) for garnish
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, place the milk and whipping cream, and slowly bring them up to the boil, but don’t let them actually boil.
- Meanwhile, in a larger saucepan, combine 3/4 cup brown sugar with the salt, water and corn syrup. Bring up to a boil, and then allow to boil until large bubbles form and being to pop at a slower rate. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the hot milk cream/mixture.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 tbsp of brown sugar and the egg yolks. Whisk in the vanilla. Now, add in a few spoonfuls of the hot caramel/milk mixture and whisk well to temper the eggs. Finally, slowly pour a stream of the caramel/milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
- Strain through a fine mesh sieve to catch any eggy bits that might have cooked, and skim off the top foam with a spoon (wish I’d done that).
- Divide the mixture between 4-6 ramekins, 500 ml wide-mouth mason jars, or cute coffee cups. Fit them all into the bottom of your slow cooker. You can stack ramekins on top of each other if need be to fit them all in.
- Boil some water and carefully pour it into the space surrounding the ramekins, so that it comes about halfway up their sides.
- Cover, and cook on high for about 2 hours, or until the custard is set but still slightly jiggly in the centre. Carefully, with tongs, remove the custards from the water bath. Allow to cool in the fridge, then sprinkle with a little Maldon sea salt before serving.