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Culinary Arts

Desserts: Pots de Crème

Thomas Keller

Lesson time 16:11 min

Pots de crème are small but extremely rich. Chef Keller discusses the importance of ingredient selection in this dish, and he explains the techniques for creating a creamy filling.

Thomas Keller
Teaches Cooking Techniques III: Seafood, Sous Vide, and Desserts
Chef Thomas Keller’s third MasterClass is devoted to preparing seafood, sous vide cooking, and making classic desserts.
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[PIANO MUSIC] - Doesn't this make you smile? Desserts, growing up, for me, was always a reward. It was, always eat your peas and you can have dessert. Make sure you finish your meat, and you can have dessert. I'm really excited to be able to share with you some techniques that you really have to follow and pay attention to. Let's get started. [GENTLE MUSIC] We're going to make a chocolate pot de creme, which is a wonderful dessert. It's a small dessert but extremely rich. The quality of anything that we make is partially based on the ingredients that we use and then, of course, the technique or our skills to be able to produce it. We want to use dark chocolate for this. But you could use a milk chocolate. You could even use a dark milk chocolate. To begin, we're going to go ahead and prepare our garnish first . And that's just by taking on our chocolate, a typical vegetable peeler, and just shaving down into it into a bowl. You can see that. You go this way. You can go down. A bit down if you like. We get our little chocolate shavings there. To make our pot de creme, we're going to start with half-and-half, half cream, half milk. And the great thing about this pot de creme-- I say pot de creme or pot-- in French, it's actually pot de creme. We don't have to bake it. Traditionally, you would make a custard, put the custard in your little pot, little pot, and then bake that in bain-marie in the oven like a custard. In this case, we're going to go ahead and finish the cooking process in our sauce pot, flavor it with our chocolate. And we'll just be able to pour that in to our little pots, or little pots, and that will set for four hours And then it'll be ready to go. Adding our creme, our milk. Now, while that's coming up to a simmer, we're going to go ahead and whisk our egg yolks and our sugar. Our egg yolks. And our sugar. Now, you can see, we're not using a lot of sugar. We don't need to use a lot of sugar because we have our chocolate, which is sweetened with sugar. Now, there's two ways for us to tell when it's done. I'm going to show you one way with using a wooden spoon, where we just brush our finger across it. It creates a separation between the cream, and it drips down slowly. You can see the thickness and the viscosity of that. You can tell that it's finished then. Or you can use a thermometer. The thermometer we want to take up to 85 degrees Celsius. As chefs, professional chefs, we always use the metric system. So we're always using grams, Celsius, milliliters, liters, because it's much easier for us to divide and multiply. Ounces is a very difficult thing to work with for us. Cups are a very difficult thing to work for us. They don't really-- they're not as precise as measurement as with the metric system. Our weights and our volumes are much more precise in metrics. So we're always-- in our kitchens, we're always talking about grams and milliliters or liters or centiliters or Celsius. So we...

Elevate your cooking

In his third MasterClass, Chef Thomas Keller focuses on preparing fresh seafood like lobster and salmon, making classic desserts such as apple pie and lemon tart, and showing how sous vide cooking can be done at home to enhance flavor and texture. Whether you’re a beginning or advanced cook, you’ll learn the techniques and principles that will give you the understanding and skills to get the most delicious results.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I've learned more about the use of my souse vide cooking for home use and learned about making a couple of deserts.

I loved everything about this class. I have made a number of the dishes, some multiple times, and I am impressed with the elevated level of my cooking in such a short time. I look forward to more Chef Keller classes. He delivers his lessons beautifully.

It keeps building a solid foundation. TK is one of the best instructors.

Very good instructor.. interesting desserts...



Pro tip: Swapping the whipped cream with unflavored greek yogurt takes it to a whole new level. PS: Found this because I did not have more cream left XD. But trust me, it was so worth it.

Douniazed W.

egg yolk is the bit which makes stuff more luxurious, "creamy", and savory. eggwhite has a mid level sulfer taste. when you add one ingredient or the other and it isn't for color, you are trying to get something close but not necessarily exact. for example you wouldn't want to wash your egg yolks under any circumstance. a little egg white is better than trying to do some really precise thing and ending up ruining the ingredient, especially it going down a drain. converse example, for meriange you want to whip up egg whites with sugar, you want to take care not to break the yolk specificalyl because you are generalyl going for a white beaten color. if you want to slightly improve, sometimes there are little pure white tendrils coming off of a yolk, nipping those off yeilds slightly better yolks

A fellow student

can anyone tell me whether I need to eliminate all the egg whites within the egg leaving solely egg yolk?

A fellow student

Couldn't agree more about using metric for cooking. As I started baking more breads for the holidays last year (and now again this year) it is so much easier to work with. I'll confess, for me, learning a ml = gram...serious breakthrough. Now if we could just get our carpenters to switch... ;)

Nancy A.

In the lesson plan, the equipment needed states "small ramekins". It would be helpful if Chef Keller would have mentioned the volume size of his vessels since it is hard to gauge from the camera and it would be good to know the size of ramekins needed for his recipe to have them come almost to the rim once you add the whipped cream and shaved chocolate like they are shown on the video. Should we be using 4 oz or 5 oz ramekins for the amounts on this recipe?