Petits Pots de Crème

Chocolate Orange Pots de Crème

The term “Petits Pots de Crème” refers both to a soft baked custard and to the small ceramic pots, often with lids, that they are baked in. These adorable authentic petits pots are made in France. They belonged to my grandmother-in-law, Evelyn Dawn.

To continue our Celebration of Julia Child during her birthday week, we made her chocolate pots de crème recipe for dessert.

Evelyn and Julia hailed from the same town. Both were born in Pasadena, California, Evelyn in 1907 and Julia in 1912. I never heard Evelyn mention that their paths had ever crossed. But she did get a kick out of telling us that a boy named Marion Morrison asked her to the high school prom and she turned him down. He eventually became an actor and changed his name to John Wayne. Both ladies were nonagenarians. Julia passed away two days before her 92nd birthday, and Evelyn passed away just 8 days after her 93rd birthday.

We made this dessert in honor of Evelyn and Julia. The recipe comes from Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home.

We used 4 oz. unsweetened Ghirardelli chocolate and added the optional orange zest and coffee as Julia suggested.

Two cups of heavy cream with orange zest and instant coffee are heated to a simmer then steeped 5 minutes off the heat.

Four egg yolks are whisked with 1/3 c. sugar until the yolks are pale and thick.  Then the hot cream is slowly stirred into the egg mixture.

The custard is then poured through a sieve, (which removes the orange zest and any coagulated bits of egg) into a bowl with broken chocolate pieces. It is stirred to melt the chocolate and 1 1/2 t. vanilla extract is added.

The petits pots are filled with the chocolate mixture, then placed in a baking pan with hot water about half way up the pots. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cool briefly then refrigerate to chill thoroughly.
Thank you Julia, for the delicious recipe and inspiration, and thank you Evelyn for the darling petits pots.

Grilled Swordfish, Homemade Mayonnaise

“Mayonnaise is one of the finest and most important sauces in classic cuisine. The shame is that few of us ever taste the kind of fresh handmade mayonnaise that deserves such culinary status – and even dedicated home cooks don’t realize that making their own is a simple process that takes only minutes and, if you use a food processor, almost no effort at all, ” Julia Child.
The Julia Child birthday tribute continues. This time with her homemade mayonnaise recipe.
Julia’s Mayonnaise in the Food Processor
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed, plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Big pinch freshly ground white pepper
  • Up to 2 cups vegetable oil or pure olive oil (all one or a mixture)
Put the egg yolks, egg, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and white pepper in the work bowl of the food processor; process for 10 seconds or more, until creamy.
With the food processor running continuously, pour in the oil very slowly in driblets at first, to start the emulsion process. When the sauce has definitely thickened, you may add the oil in a thin stream. Do not stop the machine at this point, but cease pouring every few seconds to be sure the oil is being absorbed. Then continue until the remaining 1 1/2 cups of oil are incorporated. Stop the machine and check the mayonnaise for taste and consistency. Adjust the seasonings.
To learn more about mayonnaise and the very interesting chemistry of many other sauces, please visit my blogger friend, YannChef at Food Lorists.

Rub the fresh swordfish with mayonnaise, fresh ground pepper, and kosher salt. Grill over medium-high heat.


Serve grilled swordfish over a smear of mayonnaise and garnish with herbs: Italian Basil, Purple Basil, Chives, Parsley, Thyme, Dill, Mint.

Moist, pretty, simple, delicious…
Thanks again, JC!

Julia Child’s Birthday & Coq au Vin

Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, Mushrooms, and Bacon
“In France it is usually accompanied only by parsley potatoes; buttered green peas could be included if you wish a green vegetable.” from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

In honor of Julia’s birthday, Father Adam and I are making the meal as she recommends. Our potatoes are parsleyed and our peas are buttered and tossed with chopped fresh mint.

Montecito, California

Adjacent to the city of Santa Barbara, lies beautiful Montecito. A while back my mother and I had lunch at the charming Montecito Inn.

After lunch, we decided to drive up the road to visit the Casa Dorinda and see where Julia Child spent her last years.

This assisted living facility is a sprawling complex, the former estate of a wealthy nature lover. Julia occupied a cozy one bedroom apartment. She decorated her little kitchen walls with cookware and tools just like she had at her home in Cambridge.

In addition to cooking and camaraderie, another of Julia’s passions was golf. I like to imagine that it gave her pleasure to have this pretty little green at the Casa Dorinda. Perhaps she played there?
Back to the kitchen and her Coq au Vin recipe…

Bacon is simmered in water, then dried and sautéed in hot butter until lightly brown. A whole chicken, cut-up, is then browned in the fat. Cognac is added to the pan.

Another reason to love Julia’s cooking – many of her recipes include lighting them on fire! Tip the pan and ignite the cognac.

After the flames subside, add 3 cups of good red wine and enough beef stock to cover the chicken. Stir in tomato paste, mashed garlic, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. This is another one of those times where I wish you could smell the aromas…Cover and cook 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile make brown-braised pearl onions and sautéed mushrooms.

We thought Julia would be pleased that we sautéed french bread in clarified butter, in her honor, to make croutons for the coq au vin.

When the chicken is cooked, remove it to a platter then skim the fat from the sauce. Raise the heat and reduce the sauce. Beat beurre manié into the sauce to thicken, adjust seasoning. Add the chicken, bacon, onions and mushrooms back to the pot, heat through and serve.
The complete recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking can be found here. And oh my, the sauce was so flavorful, rich and velvety!
In honor of Julia’s birthday, August 15th, Lisa of Champaign Taste is hosting the third annual Julia Child Birthday Celebration. Lisa’s was the very first food blog I ever read. I was hosting a Julia-style dinner party in my home and was searching the web for some inspiration, and stumbled upon her first Julia event post. I was excited to read it not only for the ideas, but Lisa lives in Champaign Illinois, which is where I attended college. Please visit Champaign Taste for the round-up of Julia Child dishes from around the globe.
I leave you with the last paragraph from My Life in France:
“Such was the case with the Sole Meunière I ate at La Couronne on my first day in France, in November 1948. It was an epiphany. In all the years since that succulent meal, I have yet to lose the feelings of wonder and excitement that it inspired in me. I can still almost taste it. And thinking back on it now reminds me that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite – toujours bon appetit!

Last year, I truly enjoyed recreating that very meal in my kitchen (here).

Happy Birthday and Thank You Julia Child!