Meyer Lemon Pots de Crème


When I was little, I used to love playing with my mother’s pots de crème set. I loved the dainty handled pots with the cute knobbed lids. These were way more fun than a tea set.

I remember her pots de crème well. It was silky smooth, mild in flavor, and just seemed to hit the spot. It was such a delight lifting up the little hat and be greeted with the creamy goodness inside.

Recently when I was reorganizing, I came across this set that she passed on to me, and realized I’d only made pots de crème once since I’ve been married. It was time to make it again.

I decided on a Meyer lemon version, just because I tend to not make lemonny desserts often, and it’s springtime. So I created a recipe.

Unfortunately, this post should be titled, “Do Not Make This Recipe.” My dessert bombed. Big time.

I have no idea what went wrong. There are so many factors with baking, and fortunately I don’t claim to be a baker. But I hate the fact that my blog is supposed to get people in the kitchen cooking, and then I present a failure.

Nonetheless I’m posting this anyway, mostly to show off the beautiful set, which I had a ball photographing! Following is a recipe not to use.

Meyer Lemon Pots de Crème

2 3/4 cups heavy cream, at room temperature
Zest of 4 Meyer lemons
10 large egg yolks, at room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
4 ounces sour cream, at room temperature

Place cream in an saucepan and heat slowly just to a light simmer. Add the zest and stir gently.

Let the cream steep with the zest for a few minutes, then turn off the heat but leave the cream sit for one hour. Set aside

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Using an electric mixer, beat yolks, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until pale yellow, about 2 minutes.

Bring the lemonny cream to a simmer, and immediately but gradually whisk it into the yolk mixture.  Whisk in the sour cream.

Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium pitcher with a pouring spout.

Divide the custard among ramekins; cover each with a lid (or foil) and place in a large roasting pan.  Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins. So far so good. Maybe.

Bake until just set in center, abour 25 minutes.

I had no idea this custard would rise like a souflé! Uncover and chill until cold, about 3 hours. At this point the custard looked a little overbaked, but not bad… yet.

My little pots are only a 4 ounce capacity.

Then, the custards fell. I tried to cover it up with flowers but the flowers weren’t big enough! You can see the shrinkage. And, the custard was mealy, although I have to say that the lemon flavor was good.

This recipe made approximately 48 ounces of custard. Since I only had the little pots’ total capacity of 32 ounces, I used two ramekins for the remaining custard. I tried to decorate with candied lemon peel, but that wasn’t pretty at all.

Because I used zest for this recipe, I had 4 whole lemons leftover. I trimmed up the pith, blended them as is, added beets and beet juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt for a lovely lemon beet dressing!

So the day wasn’t a total disaster!



76 thoughts on “Meyer Lemon Pots de Crème

  1. Well, at least you got a nice Lemon Beet dressing out of this exercise, which sounds very unique! Where did you get the recipe from (or maybe you are reluctant to say)! I admire your courage in posting this- when I have a flop, I am reluctant to post it.

    • Well I rarely flop, only because I typically cook and not bake! Do you mean a recipe for the dressing? I just made it up.

  2. It’s infuriating when you go to so much trouble and the dratted recipe doesn’t work – I feel your pain. Those little pots are absolutely adorable though. Maybe just the thing for a nice easy (uncooked) lemon syllabub? Lxxx

    • No idea. It was at room temperature, but instead of whisking it in, I used the electric mixer, because I can’t follow my own directions. Maybe that was bad? I think I overlooked them probably!

    • Thank you! Well it would be embarrassing if I called myself a real chef (chef Mimi has been a nickname for a million years in my family) and a baker!

  3. Oh Mimi, don’t you worry ! I made so many disasters that I was seriously thinking about adding a new “disaster” category” to my blog ! I appreciate your frank attitude !

  4. Sorry Mimi,
    We’ve all had those mistakes. Will be interesting to discover what went wrong. Maybe to hot? The eggs look curdled. Hope you weren’t intending to serve them at a dinner party. Love the pots, I have a set I inherited as well.

    • Thank you. I really think I overbaked them, but I’ll never know. I’m going back to cooking!

  5. We all have these little flops. We dream of eating this wonderful concoction as we make them and get such a shock when the darn thing doesn’t come out as we dreamed. Never mind those little pots are just lovely – and they are still there waiting to used again.
    Brave girl to show us all :).

  6. On a trip to Limoges, France Gene took me to an all white porcelain factory. I went crazy with all the different items I could buy. I ended up with some crescent salad plates which I still have and use!

    • No. Definitely not. I’m going to use the little pots as vases. Actually, that would be cute for a little buffet…

  7. the dressing looks wonderful and the little lidded pots are so very cute. pity about the lemon creams) cheers sherry

  8. oh dear my comment didn’t work Will try again. just saying i love the cute lidded pots and the dressing sounds great. pity about the lemon creams cheers sherry

    • Thanks, Sherry. I should have looked for an exact recipe, but I’m pretty sure I overcooked them.

  9. The little pots are really sweet, and I can see why you’d have been very excited to use them in this recipe! Thank you for sharing even though the result was disappointing. It just seems to happen sometimes when conditions are a little different or who knows.The little pots are worth another try. :-)

      • I have a recipe for a lemon dessert that I bake in a water bath. It’s from the Green’s cookbook and it might work with your individual dishes. It’s a mixture between a cake and a custard. It’s easy to make .

  10. I have a placard on my kitchen wall that says, “We have no disasters in this kitchen, only opportunities”. There have been many disasters, but we always learn from them.
    In the end, custard fallen, did it taste good? Thanks for having the gumption to share your experience.

    • The flavor was great, the texture terrible. Honestly, I’ve been cooking so long (I’m 62) that I can’t even remember any failures, except for a few baking attempts with desserts. My kids always hated that I couldn’t bake cookies, even!

      • Mimi, baker I’m not so I certainly understand. I to have been cooking for years, starting back in 1957 when I was a young lad. It gives me joy to know how much being in the kitchen has meant in my life.

  11. The pictures look good, so that’s justification for posting them :-)
    I always like telling people about my recipe fails, otherwise they’d think everything is going perfect in my kitchen.
    I was looking forward to someone posting here what the problem was, but after reading Liz’s hunch about it looking curdled and then seeing you added sour cream, my first guess would also be that the sour cream made it curdle.

    • Interesting. The custard didn’t look curdled after I added the sour cream, and no curds were caught in the sieve, but who knows. I’ll just stick with cooking!

  12. Fun post! Always disappointing when a recipe doesn’t work the way you want it, doesn’t it? I love lemon so I’d love these. And when stuff falls, that’s just an excuse to top it with whipped cream! No one will ever know. :-)

  13. Oh no! I’m so sorry your dessert bombed, Mimi…we’ve all been there, though. I tried making a fun lemon poppyseed bread a couple of weeks ago, and it just wasn’t working. It kept falling in the middle. Hey, I blame the lemon! Haha. Thanks for sharing though…I say try again! :-)

  14. Love that you posted this, not only because of the exquisite set of pots de creme but because it’s real.😊 I always learn something from my failures..particularly with my sourdough baking….it breaks my heart when it goes wrong but at least I learn something for next time!

    • It was just a reminder I need to stop making desserts! I can bake breads in my sleep, but otherwise baking is too precise for me.

  15. Good on you for posting a recipe fail, brownies are my nemesis, just can’t get them right. They are either too cakey or just plain raw. I have no idea how to get these fudge style brownies others seem to get. Your mums China set is beautiful, so dainty!

    • Thank you Emma. My kids used to get upset with me because I was terrible at baking cookies! So when I say I’m not a baker, I’m serious!!!

  16. That is a gorgeous set. I’m glad you posted the pictures, even though the pots de crème weren’t what you’d hoped for. The trick is to convince people that the curds are the most desirable parts of the crème, and so, so, so difficult to achieve…

  17. What a shame that these didn’t turn out creamy and smooth as you’d hoped Mimi! I can definitely relate as I’ve been trying to make a chocolate chestnut cake TWICE over the past couple of weeks using tins of Clement Faugier’s Chestnut Cream… and sadly neither of them were delicious enough to blog. Back to the drawing board!

    • Oh I love chestnut cream! Well, I’m just not a dessert maker. I can bake yeasted breads in my sleep, but those aren’t precise like pastries and such. I’ll just stick wth cooking!

  18. Your mother’s little pot de creme containers are adorable. I think we have all had disasters like that…mine was tamales. I can’t tell you how many dozens were thrown out before I got an acceptable batch but I won’t try making them again. :D

  19. What gorgeous wee pots inherited from your mother. I’ve had some blunders in the kitchen too, I even blogged about it twice. Like yours, it was a baking disaster. Reading through though, I’m thinking perhaps you should have whisked instead of using the electric blender? Still, there’s always a next time. Love meyer lemons.

    • Yes, the whisking, which I even wrote in my recipe but forgot to do, could have been problematic. Oh well. I seriously did love taking photos of those cute pots!

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