I found a recipe for lemon cream pots, and I knew I had to try it. I kept trying to imagine how it would taste. I also wanted to find a lemon cream recipe that I could use as a base for other flavors. I’ve been thinking for a while about some flavor combinations I’d like, and here was my chance.
Here’s the basic recipe *:
Here are the flavor combinations I’ve been wanting to try:
Lemon and Basil. This is the current darling flavor mix here with the pastry and chocolate makers here. I wanted to try to replicate it.
Lemon and Lavender. I don’t think I’ve ever had this combination. Maybe there’s a reason? In any case, I wanted to try it.
Lemon and Cardamom. I love cardamom, and I love lemon. Would they go together?
So, to begin, I had to infuse the cream base in the recipe with the non-lemon flavors. For each one, I used 1/2 cup / 125 ml heavy cream.
- For the cardamom, I added the seeds from 6 cardamom pods, crushed. I heated the cream to the point where it was just starting to steam, and then set it aside to cool. When it was cool, I strained out the cardamom seeds. I had planned to leave them in overnight, but the flavor was already pretty strong, so I strained them out. I chilled the cream overnight.
- For the lavender, I added 1 tsp dried lavender flowers to the cream, and heated it to the point where it was just starting to steam, then set it aside to cool. When it was cool, I strained the flowers out, again because the flavor was already pretty strong, and chilled it overnight.
- For the basil, I didn’t want to heat the basil leaves, so I chopped them fine, added them to the cream, and chilled them overnight. I used 10 of the tiny new leaves at the top of the plant. I strained the basil leaves out the next day before heating the cream. The flavor of the basil wasn’t as strong as I thought it should be. If this turns out well, I will use more leaves the next time.
The next day, I took each of these three mixtures as well as some plain cream and did the same thing to each of them:
- In a small pot, I added 1 Tablespoon of sugar to the cream, then heated it to boiling. I boiled it, stirring, for three minutes. Then I removed it from the heat and added 1.5-2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice to it, adjusting the amount according to taste. For the mixture made with the plain cream, I added about a half teaspoon of lemon zest.
- I then poured the mixture into small pots and let it cool, after which I put it in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
VOILA! Here they are!
Aren’t they pretty?
But now it’s time for the REAL question: how do they taste??
- Lemon. the lemon cream was bitter. Very bitter. Inedible, in fact. I should have strained the lemon zest out of it--there was too much in there.
- Lemon and Basil. This was bland. The basil flavor was lost, probably in the cooking. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t special.
- Lemon and Lavender. This was good. It was a little bitter, but I think it was for two reasons: the lavender was too strong and my lavender is last year’s. With fresh lavender a little less strong it would be better.
- Lemon and cardamom. I tasted this one with trepidation. You know how you always want people you like to like each other? Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. In this case, they liked each other. This one was very good. I was very happy with this combination.
Overall, though, these were a disappointment. The flavors I was looking for were underlined by a strong flavor of sweetened condensed milk, which is frankly not something I like very much. If it's diluted with key lime juice and spread over a graham cracker crust, ok. In pots with lemon and lavender, not really. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised by that, given that I cooked sweetened cream to reduce it...
All-in-all, I’d consider this a partial success. The lavender and lemon has potential, the cardamom and lemon is good, and the lemon and basil still needs work. The base lemon cream wasn’t a hit in my opinion. I’ll try these flavor combinations with another base, though.
* Note: I am normally very careful to give credit for recipes, because I hope others will do the same when they use mine. In this case, however, because the end result wasn't a success, I have elected to not share the source of this recipe. The original source liked it very much, and I wouldn't want to rain on anyone's parade.
'Nother Note: I had the darndest time photographing these--all the photos turned out fuzzy. I changed the background, I changed the lighting, I changed the spoon. Even with the lemon zest and lavender seeds are sharp, the little pots seem fuzzy to me. And the spoons! They’re tiny curved mirrors. Can you see me in them? Any advice here would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!