Ahhh Gjelina. My favorite place to eat in LA. Probably because this one time, I saw Jake Gyllenhaal there. And this other time, a blonde man in a yellow dashiki and a top hat gave me a hug while I was waiting in line for the bathroom.
Gjelina is the melting pot of Venice, draped with fedoras, industry types, rich hippies, ex-sorority girls and naturally, the celebrities they worship. Even though Gjelina has been around for years, an 8pm reservation is still coveted, and the queue at Saturday brunch is laughable.
Why? My bet is on the butterscotch pot de creme.
Salty, sweet, toffee, and cream play together in a rich, gorgeous cloud of heaven. I'm not a big dessert person, but this one is absolutely perfect.
This recipe is adapted from Gjelina's Chef Travis Lett. It takes a little time, and a little finesse, but every ounce of effort is worth it. Just a little bit goes a long way, so play around with little ramekins, bowls, teacups and jars and make even more people super, duper happy.
Gjelina's Salted Butterscotch Pot de Creme
Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 1 hour Total Time: 1 hour 30 min plus 4 hours cooling
Pot de Creme
3/4 stick butter
2 1/2 cups / 590 mL heavy cream
1/2 cup / 100 g brown sugar, packed
1 tsp sea salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup / 100 g sugar
Whipped cream and Maldon sea salt for serving
Pot de Creme: Preheat oven to 325F / 165C. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and stir until dissolved and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Very slowly, whisk in the cream and continue stirring. Return the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, then add salt and vanilla.
In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the 3 egg yolks. Very slowly, whisk in the hot cream mixture. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into 6 ramekins, small jars or teacups.
Place ramekins in a roasting pan, then place in oven. Pour in boiling water about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour, until custards are set but still a little wobbly. Cool in refrigerator for about 4 hours.
Caramel Sauce: While custards are baking, place sugar in a saucepan. Melt over medium heat, stirring only to break up any crystals that form. Cook until caramel turns a dark whiskey color, then remove from heat and carefully pour in 4 Tbs water. Stir until the mixture is incorporated and then set aside to cool.
To serve, top each ramekin with some caramel sauce, a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt and a dollop of whipped cream.