Valentine’s Day is coming up and surprising your partner with a decadent, sweet treat is worth all the trouble of making it yourself. However, you may be pressed for time or ingredients. This is where a simple dessert will serve you well—like a pudding or pots de crème.
While they’re both elegant, delicious, and have the ability to be tailored to specific tastes, pots de crème and pudding are actually very different in the dessert world.
Although both are a type of custard, pudding is a poured custard while pots de crème are baked custards. There are a few other telltale things that set the two apart.
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But they’re both perfect for serving up in individual ramekins.
What Are Pots de Crème?
Made with eggs and/or egg yolks, cream, milk, and a flavoring agent—often vanilla or chocolate, but also anything from maple to mint—a pot de crème (literally, “pot of cream”) is a loose-style custard with its roots in France. Eggs are the thickening agent here, unlike pudding which is thickened with a starch. The mixture is baked in ramekins that are placed in a water bath; the result is a soft and smooth custard.
What Is Pudding?
While some may remember instant pudding made out of a package with the addition of milk or water, homemade pudding is a bit more labor intensive as far as making it goes. Traditional dessert pudding is made with sweetened milk or cream that is thickened with a gelatinized starch (often cornstarch). Later, a flavor is added, which can be traditional chocolate or vanilla or something a little more creative, like pistachio or even pumpkin spice. After the mixture is made, it’s chilled for three hours or longer to set.
While eggs can sometimes be used in a pudding recipe in addition to the starchy thickener, a second thickening agent is traditionally not used in eggy pots de crème.
Because of the different methods of thickening and cooking (or not cooking), these two desserts have different textures. Pudding is semisolid and slightly dense, while pots de crème are lighter, silkier, and similar to a mousse. (Speaking of, discover the difference between mousse and pudding.)
Want to try to tackle one of these desserts? Check out some of the recipes below and don’t forget to pair them with a complementary glass of wine for an ultra-romantic experience.
Perfect if you need to use up extra egg yolks (or are just looking to make a sweet and indulgent dessert), simple chocolate pots de crème with a bit of whipped cream will hit the spot. Whip them up the day-of or a few days beforehand to make your life a bit easier without sacrificing on flavor. Get our Chocolate Pots De Crème recipe.
Not your normal vanilla or chocolate pots de crème, these layered butterscotch desserts feature a hidden chocolate base and an unexpected coconut-infused whipped cream topping. Get the Black-Bottomed Butterscotch Pots De Crème recipe.
Similarly rich, these caramel pots de crème are sprinkled with flaky sea salt to finish on a bright note. Get our Salted Caramel Pots De Crème recipe.
Looking for something quick and simple? This easy vanilla pudding can be served with fresh fruit, cookies, or devoured alone. We won’t judge. Get our Easy Vanilla Pudding recipe.
Looking to up your pudding game? Try creating a homemade banana pudding and then adding it to this modified icebox cake. Get our Banana Pudding Pie recipe.
Related Video: How to Make Easy Vanilla Pudding
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