These petit pots of silky baked custards can be made ahead, making them a perfect dessert for a dinner party; they'll keep refrigerated, covered tightly with plastic wrap, for two to three days. Here we've added some chocolate and hazelnut spread, and topped them with a golden hazelnut praline for texture. Traditionally they're cooked in little pots de crème moulds that come with a lid, but ramekins or small bowls of similar size work well. Serve these with biscuits on the side or just as they are.
- 750 ml pouring cream (3 cups)
- 250 ml milk (1 cup)
- ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 10 egg yolks
- 220 gm caster sugar
- 100 gm chocolate-hazelnut spread
- Oil, for brushing
- 125 gm caster sugar
- 40 gm roasted hazelnuts, warmed in a low oven
- 1Preheat oven to 150C. Bring cream, milk and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale and gradually whisk in cream mixture, whisking gently until incorporated, then whisk in chocolate-hazelnut spread. Strain into a jug and stand until foam settles (15 minutes), then spoon any remaining foam from the top. Divide cream mixture among ten 100ml-125ml ceramic ramekins, preferably with straight sides, and tightly cover each with foil. Place in a roasting pan lined with a tea towel and pour in hot tap water to come halfway up the sides. Cover pan with foil and bake until custards are set but still have a slight wobble in the centre (50-55 minutes). Remove from oven, remove foil lids, take moulds out of water bath and cool (20 minutes; any that need longer cooking can be left in the water bath to cool), then refrigerate until set and chilled (3-4 hours).
- 2Meanwhile, for praline, brush a baking tray with oil. Stir sugar and 60ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Brush down sides with a wet pastry brush to remove sugar crystals, and simmer without stirring, swirling pan occasionally, until deep caramel (8-12 minutes). Stir in warm nuts, then tip mixture onto prepared tray (be careful, caramel will be very hot) and set aside until set (20-25 minutes). Break into pieces, then process to coarse crumbs in a food processor.
- 3Serve pots de crème chilled and scattered with a layer of praline.