We gave another dinner party last night. Daddy (my father-in-law) had new friends over; they're a delightful couple who recently moved from Boston to the Bay Area. We had a lovely, fairly light meal consisting of lots of seafood, such as crab cakes with muhammara (pomegranate sauce) accompanied by seafood Israeli couscous salad, then roasted Chilean seabass with homemade preserved citrus hollandaise sauce. I wanted to keep the same delicate mood for dessert, so I prepared lightly sweetened matcha green tea pot de creme. I believe that food should be a visual experience, so I decorated the sweet treats with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.
I was so excited to have been given a tin of matcha green tea powder in my Christmas stocking stuffer and couldn't wait to make use of the unique, distinctive flavor of this tea. Its lovely, natural jade color is very subtle, but subtlety can actually be quite a stimulating experience for the palate.
Preheat the oven at 350°F
On the stove, pour the milk and 1¾ cups of cream into a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Remove from the heat right away and add the vanilla chips. Keep stirring until they're completely melted. Pour the hot liquid into another pot already containing the matcha green tea powder. Stir well until dissolved.
Separately, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until it becomes pale yellow. Slowly add the milk mixture to the eggs a ladle at a time to prevent the yolks from curdling. Let cool for at least 15 minutes.
Strain through a fine mesh to make sure there are no chunks of vanilla chips. Fill 10 (2-ounce) ramekins with the mixture. Place them in a warm (not boiling) water bath in a deep baking pan. The water should go half-way up the side of the ramekins. Cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Open the oven and remove the aluminum sheet, reduce the temperature to 325°F and continue baking for 15 more minutes.
Allow the dessert to cool completely first, then plastic-wrap each individual ramekin and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. The fat from the cream may pick up some other odors from the refrigerator if the cups are not sealed properly.
Before serving, whisk the rest of the cream until it forms soft peaks. Add powdered sugar. Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag. Pipe the cream over the chilled pot de creme. Garnish with a raspberry.
While letting the vanilla chips steep in the dairy mixture, it's preferable to stir the mixture until the liquid is smooth rather than whisking, to create as little milk froth as possible. You don't want a latte foam to form. Simply skim any foam that rises to the surface of the custard mixture. That way, once cooked, the top will be flawlessly smooth.
I used The Republic of Tea matcha green tea powder.
Vanilla chips are vanilla-flavored white chocolate chips.