Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Key Lime And Lemon Verbena Pots De Creme

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I have been staring at my lemon verbena pot now for a couple of weeks and, aside from drying some for the winter months, I have been thinking about what to do with the rest while the fresh leaves last. No matter how much I give away or trim , it keeps coming back like there's no tomorrow.  The leaves are not as green or aromatic as they were during the summer months, but they still carry a lot of oomph and I hate to see them go to waste.  If you have never grown lemon verbena in your garden, you need to reconsider.  It is great in teas, lemonade, pastas and anything else that would benefit from a little lemon zest.  Together with lemon balm and basil, it is one of the herbs I use the most during the summer.

These pots de creme are delightful at this time of the year, particularly after a heavy meal.  I used key limes mainly because I had purchased a bag in lieu of the puny Persian limes they had for sale at the grocery store.  Regular yellow lemons would be just fine.

If you want to make the recipe lighter substitute, like I did,  all of the cream with 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup regular milk.  I think custards also benefit from a pinch of salt.

Oh, and one more thing, this recipe only makes enough for four, even in pots de creme molds like the ones shown.  Double the recipe for six or eight.

Recipe after the break.



Often used to make herb tea and liqueurs in Provence, the fragrant herb lemon verbena gives a nice lift to these rich, silky lemon custards. Look for fresh lemon verbena at farmers' markets and nurseries; dried lemon verbena can be found at specialty foods stores.
Better yet, pick up some at your local nursery in the spring to grow in pots and enjoy all summer long. 

Serves 4

  • 1 cup water
  • 14 2- to 2 1/2-inch-long fresh or dried lemon verbena leaves (optional)
  • 10 2 x 1/2-inch strips lemon peel (yellow part only)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Combine first 3 ingredients in medium saucepan. Boil until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 4 minutes.

Add sugar; simmer until mixture is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 3 minutes.

Whisk yolks to blend in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in hot cream mixture.

Whisk in lemon juice.
Strain custard through sieve into 4-cup measuring cup. Divide among six ( four)2-cup ramekins or soufflé dishes.

Cover ramekins with foil. Place ramekins in 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins.
Bake custards until just set, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from oven; let custards cool in water in pan.

Transfer ramekins to refrigerator. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.

Adapted from:  http://www. epicurious.com 
Photo: Lindaraxa


  1. I lost my lemon verbena to the drought this year. Will have to try another next year so sadly, I'll have to wait to try this until then! They look yummy!

  2. I've never had lemon verbena before. I am definitely going to have to give it a try. The pot de creme look great too!

  3. One does so adore pots de creme. Have never grown lemon verbena, must try it next year... Reggie


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