Thursday, October 4, 2012

{basil pot de creme}

I am a huge fan of dessert, but I tend to gravitate towards the simpler options.  Given a choice when the dessert menu rolls around between the 45 minute order-ahead lava cake or the simple two scoops of house-made ice cream, I will almost always choose the ice cream.  In the countless times we visited Bottega Louie when living in downtown LA,  I never strayed from ordering their straightforward caramel budino for dessert (except for one time and I sorely regretted it).  I'm just a simple dessert type of person and paired with the fact that Chris does not really like dessert, I tend to keep it mellow with the recipes I choose to follow dinners in our own home (see some past dinner party desserts I have made here, here & here).

This past weekend our garlic-fest menu was a huge departure for me from my regular philosophy on dessert.  First of all, I decided early on in the recipe research that a dessert including garlic wasn't going to happen, but you should know that I did attempt to find a garlic dessert recipe because I hate to ruin the flow of a good theme.   Once garlic ice cream as an option was tossed out, I started looking for another recipe that was interesting and flavorful enough to combat the massive onslaught of garlic flavor that was going to precede it.  As soon as I spotted this recipe for Basil Pot de Creme, I knew it would be the perfect dessert to offer a sweet and herbal refreshment to the menu.  The best part is that even though pot de cremes can take a little bit of effort in the prep work, they can be made well in advance and are generally foolproof in the tasting good department.

Whenever I use a dessert recipe for the first time, I like to make one extra dessert to try ahead of the dinner party to make sure the dish is edible and isn't going to force our guests into lying to my face and telling me it's great while they are secretly trying to figure out how to feed it to Muji.  The tester serving of this dessert, which I sampled a couple hours before the party, was so good that I almost considered eating all six of the servings myself and serving store-bought ice cream to our friends instead.

I was very concerned that the basil taste would be overwhelming, but the decadent flavor the vanilla bean and heavy cream add to the custard compliment the herbal element nicely.  The fresh strawberry garnish is also key to this dish as they really make the basil flavors pop and add an interesting texture element.  The recipe I originally followed called for a balsamic reduction garnish.  I would warn you to go very easy on this garnish as it is a very over powering flavor.  I wouldn't scrap it all together, but only add a few drops to each serving otherwise this dish will become too savory in flavor.


  1. sounds awesome! I'll definitely have to try this soon!

  2. This sounds amazing. I've fried basil before to use in a dessert but never thought to do an entire basil based dish! I can't wait to try it!