At Red Pearl Kitchen in Huntington Beach, Shelley Register has given the French custard, pot de creme, a delightful makeover. Register, who is executive pastry chef here and at Tim Goodell’s other restaurants, is something of a chameleon. At Red Pearl, where the kitchen ranges all over Asia, coming up with a dessert menu to match was one of her greater challenges.
Her pot de creme is the ideal melding of invention and classicism. Instead of a dainty lidded porcelain container, she serves it in a generously sized cafe au lait bowl with a billowy cloud of whipped cream on top. Dip your spoon into the satiny custard suffused with green cardamom: The texture and taste are incredibly sensual. Of course, the classic pot de creme is chocolate, but by steeping pods of the Sri Lankan spice in cream, she’s written a terrific finale to Red Pearl Kitchen’s updated Asian menu.