Vanilla Bean Pots de Creme with Bacon Brittle
These little Pots de Creme are made with rich creamy coconut milk infused with fragrant Madagascar vanilla beans and sweetened with raw cane sugar. The silky texture of the vanilla custard is nicely contrasted by a crispy crumble of smoky bacon pecan brittle on top.
Think Creme Brûlée with bacon.
I got the idea for this recipe during a recent visit to a local sweet shop, aptly named Sugah! When you order an ice cream cone at Sugah! you can mix-in all kinds of extras - I got bacon pecan brittle and toasted coconut with vanilla ice cream.
It was so good, I went home with 3 bags of assorted handmade nut brittle, and a plan.
I wanted to serve crumbled brittle on top of vanilla Pots de Creme to replicate the Creme Brûlée experience without the trouble of actually caramelizing the sugar. The addition of bacon and nuts are just an unexpected bonus.
This is a practical solution when you want to prep Creme Brûlée a couple of hours before serving. Whenever I try to prep my brûlée in advance, the crispy caramelized sugar crust melts into a syrup by the time I'm ready to serve it, but a crumble of brittle will keep its crunch.
I also baked a few custards with some brittle at the bottom of the cup. The brittle melted into a layer of syrup, like a creme caramel. I added another layer of crumbled brittle to the top of each custard once they were cool. These were the best of the bunch; crispy brittle, creamy vanilla custard, and sweet caramel syrup infused with smoky bacon.
Making the custard is simple, start by gathering your ingredients.
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 vanilla beans
- 1/3 cup raw cane sugar
- 1 large egg -at room temperature
- 3 large egg yolks -at room temperature
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Bacon Pecan Brittle
Pour the milk and coconut milk into a medium saucepan. With a sharp knife split the vanilla beans lengthwise and scape the black seeds into the milk and add the pods as well. Warm the mixture over med heat until it begins to gently simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let steep for 15-30 minutes. Strain mixture to remove the solids. It's helpful to strain the liquid into a container with a spout to facilitate pouring, I use a large measuring cup. In a big bowl, whisk together the whole egg, egg yolks, and sugar until thoroughly combined. Slowly pour about 1/4 cup of the warm coconut milk into the egg mixture whisking constantly. This will temper the eggs, so you won't end up with bits of cooked egg in the custard. Add the rest of the coconut milk to the egg mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Let the custard rest a minute while you prep a Bain Marie. Preheat the oven to 325F. Remove any foam from the surface of the custard with a spoon before ladling it into the baking dishes. You can use espresso cups, ramekins, small jars, any heat-proof vessel to contain your custards. If you want a layer of caramel syrup on the bottom, crumble about a tablespoonful of brittle into each baking dish before filling with custard. Place the custards in the Bain Marie (the water should come about halfway up the sides of the baking cups) and bake for 45-50 minutes. The custards should be firm, but still jiggle a little when they are done. Cool on a wire rack until they reach room temperature, and top each custard with a heaping tablespoon of crumbled brittle. Refrigerate the custards until you are ready to serve them.