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A couple of weeks ago, I had a relatively free weekend and I decided that I needed a bit of a project. Whilst I could have done something ‘useful’ like clear out the drawers under the bed or (finally) put up some pictures on the walls of our flat, what I decided to to was to make the Lasagna Bolognese from the October issue of Bon Appetit.

Normally, I avoid any kind of recipe that has multiple stages or requires any fancier equipment than a wooden spoon but I couldn’t shake the idea of the tissue-paper thin layers of homemade pasta, slowly-simmered ragu, nutmeg-spiked bechamel and more parmesan than you can shake a stick at. It seemed like a much better use of my time than any of the other options even if it it did seem a little bit daunting.

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I got home from work on Friday and started with the ragu. By the time we went to bed, it had been gently cooking on the stove for several hours  and was ready to spend the night in the fridge so that the flavours could deepen and intensify.

On Saturday afternoon, I gathered my ingredients for the pasta dough. I love fresh pasta but without a machine, I normally resort to making gnocchi or shapes like orecchiette at home. Getting the sheets of dough so that they were thin enough to almost see through was one of the more tedious parts of the process but there was something quite therapeutic about the repeated stretching and rolling.

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 By Sunday afternoon, it was time to start assembling the beast. I didn’t quite get the eight layers of pasta demanded in the recipe but I did pretty well, layering generous spoonfuls of ragu and bechamel and cheese in between the noodles until my oven dish was close to overflowing.  At which point, I had to summon my boyfriend to transfer it to the oven as I could barely lift the thing.

A mere hour and a half later, we were finally ready to eat.

Sometimes, when you’re just bunging some vegetables in a pan to make a quick stir fry or boiling a pan of pasta to have with a dollop of pesto, it’s hard to feel much of a sense of achievement as you gobble your dinner down in front of the TV.  Most evenings, the challenge is to get the food on the table as quickly and with as little effort as possible.  But when you finally sit down to eat something that you’ve made from scratch – and properly from scratch, no shortcuts here – and which has been nothing short of a labour of love,  it’s a pretty good feeling.

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But this post isn’t really about how to make a lasagna though.  This is a recipe for what we ate after the lasagna.

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Not content with consuming most of my daily calorie allowance in lasagna form, I decided that the only way to round off a meal that was gradually taking on epic proportions was with a pot of what can only be described as liquid gold. I’ve been meaning to have a go at this recipe ever since I tasted the original in our favourite LA restaurant, Gjelina, last summer.

For those of a similar generation to me, this is like a very decadent version of my beloved butterscotch angel delight but better in every way. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, heavy with caramel and vanilla and all balanced with a healthy dash of salt. Normally, it’s the kind of recipe I’d not bother with (it involves at least two cooking methods and complicated things like tempering eggs) but after a weekend of lasagna-making, I was ready to tackle anything.

gjelina’s butterscotch pot de creme

Yield: Serves 4

The original recipe has other bits on top (cream, caramel, a scattering of sea salt). This is great when you're in a restaurant but perhaps too much on a rainy Sunday evening. I used coconut sugar here more for the flavour than anything else but regular brown sugar would also be fine.

Ingredients

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 30g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 60g (1/2 cup) coconut sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 360ml (1 1/2 cups) double/heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 1500C/300F (fan) and place four small ramekins in a baking dish. Whisk together the egg yolks until creamy in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, heat the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla bean paste over a medium-low heat until the sugar has started to dissolved and the mixture has become dark amber in colour. Gradually add the cream, whisking all the time, and continue to cook over the heat until all of the sugar has dissolved and you have a golden liquid.
  3. Remove from the heat and add a couple of tablespoons of the hot cream mixture to the eggs, whisking as you go. Gradually add the rest of the cream, continuing to whisk, until combined.
  4. Divide the liquid between the four ramekins and fill the baking tray up with barely boiling water until the water reaches about halfway up the side of the ramekins. Cover the baking tray with foil and (carefully!) place in the oven. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until just set.
  5. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool. We enjoyed these as they are but a dollop of creme fraiche on top would have been pretty good.

Notes

Barely adapted from Gjelina, LA

http://londonbakes.com/2013/11/gjelinas-butterscotch-pot-de-creme.html
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42 Responses to "gjelina’s butterscotch pot de creme {gluten free}"
  1. This looks incredible, so silky and smooth. My friend just got back from Indonesia and brought me a jar of coconut sugar which I can now put to excellent use! :)
    P.S. I still can’t get over how beautiful your new blog design is!

  2. Skye says:

    You are completely right – sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than cooking something very complicated – it can be quite therapeutic. But I’m always happier making complicated puddings rather than savoury dishes – so I’m very happy that you posted this recipe rather than the lasagna!

    • kathryn says:

      Thank you Skye, I’m always weary of complicated desserts but I think this has definitely taught me that I need to be more adventurous!

  3. Laura says:

    I love butterscotch things, and they are sadly uncommon around these parts. This sounds so, so perfect for a late fall dessert. And I love your note on pasta sheeting becoming therapeutic–it’s tedious, but kind of wonderful in a lot of ways. Also, late to the party on this, but your new site is wonderful, Kathryn! The Wooden Spoon ladies done good :) xo

  4. I make a butterscotch pudding for my husband as it reminds him of butterscotch angel’s delight! That version has rum in and is a slightly firmer texture than yours but love your version too – liquid gold, yum!

  5. Jenny @ BAKE says:

    The sentence about the challenge of getting dinner out as quickly as possible made me laugh! this dessert looks delicious, I’m all for any dessert that is reminiscent of angel delight!

    • kathryn says:

      We’ve all been there haven’t we? I wish I was the kind of person who had a lovingly made healthy and delicious dinner on the table every night but it’s never going to be me…

  6. Franziska says:

    This looks absolutely divine Kathryn!
    You have been using a lot of ‘coconut ingredients’ lately (coconut oil, coconut sugar) and as they are not readily available where I live, I have been wanting to order some online. Because I have no experience with these products, I was wondering whether you’d be willing to share which your preferred brands are? That would make the search online much easier! Thanks!

    • kathryn says:

      Of course! I quite often use Biona products – they have both coconut oil and coconut sugar. I also use Tiana which I’ve seen in more and more shops recently. Finally, I’ve bought some stuff from Groovy Food which seem quite good. Coconut products can often be found in South East Asian shops too if you have any of those nearby : )

      • Franziska says:

        Thanks so much for the info! And great idea to check the Asian supermarkets! Can’t wait to give this a go (and the updated choc chip cookies).

  7. I love Gjelinas, oh the patio for evening bites. I didn’t try this while there so I need to definitely add this to the list. I like that you kept it simple. Will you be posting the lasagna soon too? Sounds delish.

  8. Wow, this looks delicious. I love butterscotch pots de creme. Have you tried Zoe Francois’s recipe from Zoe Bakes? It’s one of my favorites. But I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  9. oh my! this looks so so delicious!

  10. Butterscotch reminds me of Christmas – it’s inescapable and it tastes like my childhood. Yeah – I just had flashhbacks over pot de creme… This looks heavenly Kathryn :)

  11. Sounds like it was an epic food weekend at your house! I love the sound of that lasagna, project though it may have been. It’s been far too long since I’ve cranked out a proper cheesy lasagna, and that is going to have to change! The dessert though, oh my! I have mixed feelings regarding coconut sugar (good nutrition vs bad environmental impact) so I haven’t tried it yet but if something were to tip me over the edge this would be just the thing! Thanks for another gorgeous recipe!

  12. Erika says:

    Oh this butterscotch looks dreamy.. There is something therapeutic about taking on and accomplishing “challenging” recipes..

  13. Oh, Butterscoth, how I love thee! This looks beautiful! And I agree with Heidi, you should post that lasagna recipe!

  14. This looks so smooth and creamy! I want my own pot ;) hehe

  15. Liquid gold alright, this looks so amazingly good! My parents are staying with us next week, and I know she would love this.

  16. That first photo has me DROOLING! This sounds amazing, love!

  17. Tieghan says:

    I am with you, nothing beats a lasagna with a ragu that has sat over night and fresh pasta (my favorite!)! It is truly something incredible!
    As are these desserts! They sound and look incredible and are the perfect thing for the holidays!

  18. Joanne says:

    I need to have a crazy cooking weekend like this. It sounds glorious. Every bite.

  19. Dom says:

    so beautiful… the colour is tremendous and I know i’d be addicted to this…

  20. Rachel says:

    Oh, I really can’t wait to make this. The version in the restaurant actually doubled as my 20th birthday cake – they put a candle in it and everything!

  21. Lovely photos Kathryn! These little pots sound perfect. I’m always in need of a single serve dessert so that I don’t eat too much of any one sweet! I wonder if this would work with coconut cream in lieu of heavy cream…?

  22. JulieD says:

    I love butterscotch!! this looks amazing!

  23. This is exactly the kind of dessert I would swoon over! It sounds delicious, especially with the salt.
    PS – love the new blog design!

  24. Wow! I only wish I could have joined you for that dinner. It must have been incredible. Totally know what you mean about making a challenging, time-consuming dish–it is so rewarding. You sort of feel like you’ve conquered the world! ;)

    And top it off with this pot de creme. Holy moly!

  25. Soooo what time am I coming over for dinner? Seriously, what a gorgeous meal, and I adore pots de creme. Utter luscious comfort!

  26. Erin says:

    Love how you describe this as liquid gold. That is certainly what it looks and sounds like! Although I have to say I’m super impressed that you made this and made the lasagna! That is a lot going on!

  27. Rachel says:

    Ahhh (ha) oh how Angel delight brings back so many memories. As much as I love fancy, home grown, local, sustainable desserts with seasonal fruit, there will always be a place in my heart (and fridge) for angel delight.

    This looks wonderful and the coconut sugar sounds intriguing, does it impart any coconut flavour?

  28. These are to die for. can’t wait to try them

  29. why? why I found this while on my work? I need to make it now, looks great!

  30. Jasmine says:

    Gosh this looks like caramel silk and, I imagine, worth that extra effort. Delicious. Also, I love the revamp of your space, just lovely.

  31. sarah says:

    This sounds so good! Also, the lasagna does, too, ha. I’ve always been a huge butterscotch fan, although my family doesn’t seem to like it so much. Maybe I’ll make some just for me. :)

  32. Liquid gold is the perfect description for this — yum!

  33. Sienne says:

    This recipe looks wonderful as do the photographs that capture it and the rest of this blog! I will have to try this recipe first before I stop into Gjelina. I’ve heard so much greatness about this restaurant, live nearby, and have yet to experience it. Thank you-Sienne

  34. Butterscotch goodness with coconut sugar?! Aaah. I love you. Butterscotch is my favorite flavor. And I never blog anything butterscotchy because it’s so difficult to make healthier. But who cares about healthy when I could have butterscotch? :D

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