RECIPE: Fig and Lemon Verbena Pots de Crème

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Bluedot Living will regularly run recipes and tips from Pascale Beale, the popular Santa Barbara-based chef, teacher, and cookbook author. 

Beale has long been a proponent of cooking with in-season ingredients. “Anyone who has eaten a mealy, bland tomato in winter compared to a sun-ripened juicy tomato in the summer can taste the difference eating seasonally makes,” Beale told Bluedot contributing editor Catherine Walthers in this conversation. “Every season has its own stars, I believe it’s worth waiting for them.”

She is also passionate about using every last bit of food in your pantry, and in her regular cooking classes (available online), she stresses to make the most of what you’ve already got. “There is so, so much food waste,” she told Walthers. “Learn to make the most of leftovers, the carcass from a roast chicken kept to make stock for example. I like to do something called a TDF (Tour de Frigidaire), something made out of all the little bits and pieces left in the fridge.”

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Fig and Lemon Verbena Pots de Crème

RECIPE: Fig and Lemon Verbena Pots de Crème


  • Author: Pascale Beale
  • Yield: Serves 8

Description

This recipe first appeared on Beale’s website, where she wrote: 

Many years ago I came across a recipe by Philip Johnson in an Australian magazine for lemon creams that was so simple and quick to make. It resembled more of a lemon posset than a classic pot de crème, but I loved the fact that there were no eggs and no baking. Over the years I have made countless adaptations of this dessert by adding assorted fruit and flavors. In this one, the crème is perfumed with lemon verbena and filled with fresh figs. It’s fragrant, rich and sensuous.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 ½ cups cream — do not use ultra-pasteurized which will cause the pots de crème to separate
  • 5 oz (2/3 cup) sugar
  • 56 lemon verbena leaves
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice 
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 16 figs — chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey
  • 8 figs — split in half to the stem

Instructions

  1. Pour the cream, sugar and lemon verbena leaves into a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat. Add the 1/3 cup lemon juice and zest and stir to combine well. The cream will begin to thicken.
  2. Divide the chopped figs among 8 ramekins or small glasses. Fill with the cream and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. In a small saucepan, warm the 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and the honey. Mix well.  Place the 8 remaining split figs into a small bowl and drizzle with the lemon-honey mixture. Make sure each fig is well coated.
  4. When the pots de crème have set, carefully place one of the syrup-covered split figs on top of each ramekin.

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Pascale Beale
Pascale Beale
Pascale Beale grew up in England and France surrounded by a family which has always been passionate about food, wine, and the arts. She was taught to cook by her French mother and grandmother. After graduating from Business School in London, and 15 years working in the property markets in California, she returned to her first passion, cooking. She opened the Pascale’s Kitchen Cooking School in 1999 which specializes in farmer’s market tours, seasonal cooking classes, bread making workshops and team building events. Her company also brings a range of culinary products, including her signature line of custom blended herbs and spices, oils and vinegars, kitchen and tableware, to its customers, making cooking pleasurable, delicious and fun. Pascale is also the author of 10 Mediterranean style, and ingredient focused cook books and is an award winning columnist for Edible Santa Barbara. She released her latest book, 9’ x 12’: Adventures in a Small Kitchen, Recipes for Stirring Times, a subscription based, multi-media book 9 x 12 | Pascale's Kitchen | Pascale Beale | Substack in January 2023.
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