By Chef John Besh
The best way to eat these lovely custards is to dip into them with hot madeleines fresh out of the oven. Make the pots de crème a day or two in advance; wait until they are completely cooled, then wrap them tightly and store in the refrigerator.
Pots de Crème
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, preferably from Meyer lemons
1/4 cup fresh orange juice, from satsuma oranges or tangerines
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon oil
4 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried lavender blossoms
1/2 cup clarified butter, at room temperature
Powdered sugar for dusting
For the pots de crème, preheat the oven to 325°. Put the cream, granulated sugar, citrus juices, orange zest, vanilla, and lemon oil into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often, then immediately reduce the heat to low.
Whisk the whole eggs and the yolks together in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Slowly pour about one-third of the hot cream mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly to keep the eggs from curdling. Gradually add the remaining hot cream, whisking constantly.
Strain the custard into 8 pot de crème cups or other small ramekins. Set the cups in a pan and pour enough boiling water into the pan so that it reaches halfway up the sides of the cups. Carefully transfer the pan to the oven and bake the custards until they are fully set, about 30 minutes. Remove the cups from the water bath and set them on a wire rack to let cool. Wrap the pots de crème well and refrigerate them until cold.
For the madeleines, preheat the oven to 450°. Grease the molds of a madeleine cake pan with some of the softened butter and dust the molds with some of the granulated sugar.
Beat the eggs, 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar, and lemon zest together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy and has tripled in volume. Stir in the vanilla. Gently fold in the flour, then the lavender, then the clarified butter.
Fill each madeleine mold two-thirds full with the batter and bake the cakes until golden brown, 7-8 minutes. Remove the madeleines from the oven and let them rest for a minute or two before tipping them out of their molds.
Prepare the madeleine cake pan again with more of the softened butter and granulated sugar and repeat the filling and baking process with the remaining batter, buttering and sugaring the molds with each batch, making approximately 40 madeleines in all.
Serve each pot de crème with a small plate of warm madeleines dusted with powdered sugar.