What exactly is a “pot de creme?” Well, I suppose the best day to learn is National Pots de Creme Day 😉 The literal French translation of pot de crème is a “pot of cream,” but of course, there’s a little more to the recipe than that! A pot de creme is a loose custard made with eggs, cream, and milk, and typically flavored with vanilla or chocolate. It’s cooked in a water bath–small cups of the creme surrounded by slowly heating water–to let the cream cook slowly and evenly, making sure neither the milk curdles nor the eggs cook to become a scrambled mess. The result is a smooth, impossibly creamy and light dish, that can be sweet or savory (but is so much better when it’s sweet!) And don’t even think about calling this a pudding or a custard: pots de crème is much more elegant than either, and typically comes as the dessert on a long line of courses; the perfect, sweet end to a fully rounded dinner.
While tacking on the rest of the dinner to your bill may be a bit expensive at St. Anselm in Williamsburg, you certainly wouldn’t regret it if you did: this unassuming restaurant has absolutely delish appetizers and entrees, with an emphasis on perfectly grilled meats and whole fish. But you will definitely want to stay for the piece de resistance, their salted caramel and bitter chocolate pot de crème. It’s different from the traditional pots de creme in that it’s not super sweet: the salt in the caramel and the bitter, not milk, chocolate give this pot de creme a more refined taste. It’s a reserved, smart taste, especially when you have such big, bold flavors and portions in your entrees like St. Anselm does. It’s not the restaurant’s signature dish, but it is the favorite dish of St. Anselm’s chef Miranda Brown, who said in an L Magazine interview that the chocolate pot de crème is her favorite thing to make in the restaurant. And if something is the best on the menu according to the chef, it should be your favorite thing to eat, too!
355 Metropolitan Ave (between 4th St & Havemeyer St), Williamsburg
“Though St. Anselm is not known for its dessert menu, the small list does contain a very sweet pot de creme, a good finisher for chocolate lovers needing that kick in the sweet tooth. Overall, it has become a personal favorite in Williamsburg, not only for myself, but to the meat-loving yuppies and hipsters who line its tables night after night.”–Viral Fashion
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“We had the berkshire bacon, the pan mashed potato, the mac and cheese and boar belly with pear compote on special, shishito peppers, the sardines and we shared a monster 58 oz axe handle steak. I ended the meal with a lovely, salted caramel chocolate pot de creme. It was soo velvety. creamy and light.”–Yvette W.
“Scooped two seats right in front of the grill (awesome) and let my man date partner do all the choosing. Butcher’s steak (phenomenal), lamb chop with mint sauce (like lamb flavored Pop Rocks in my mouth – though $39 was ouch), grilled endives with a balsamic reduction (hummunah hummunah), grilled sardines (monster sized), a perfectly seared mashed potato, and the pot de creme (so damn good it made me want to punch my man date partner and tell him “This mine, all mine!”).”–Eugene K.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!