Creme Caramel

Imagine a soft, silky quivering custard topped with a rich, toffee amber caramel sauce and you have crème caramel.   It is such a simple, family (and budget) friendly dish that only uses 4 ingredients (milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla) to make something quite special. Yet it is often overlooked in favour of the more popular, and far richer,  crème brulee. Yet Creme Caramel is a French classic in its own right

Creme Caramel can quite happily be made 48hrs in advance and kept in the fridge.   It can be made in one large dish for the family or, if you want it to be smarter, made in individual portions.   Its is delicious on its own or with fruit – imagine that caramel sauce seeping into sliced clementines/oranges.   Whichever way you serve it, I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t end up scraping every last bit of it off the plate (or licking the plate if they think they can get away with it – naming no names!!)

I think alot of people are afraid of making caramel or a custard and that stops Creme Caramel from being made as often as it should be.   I do hope that this recipe and photos – which take you through step by step – will give you the confidence to try it for yourself.   It is so much nicer than anything you can buy and really simple to make.

 

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

FOR THE CARAMEL

  • 150g (5oz) caster sugar
  • 50ml (2fl oz) water

FOR THE CREME

  • 600ml (1pt) whole or gold top milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 75g (2.5 oz) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks

Caramel Stage 4

 

METHOD

  • Heat Oven to 180c/165c fan/350F or Gas Mark 4. Warm a 1 litre (2pt) dish in oven.
  • Put the sugar and water for the caramel into a small saucepan (see photo of Caramel Stage 1) and heat over a fairly low heat until sugar has dissolved.
  • When completely clear, turn up the heat under the pan and bring to the boil (see photo of Caramel Stage 2).   It is important not to stir whilst boiling otherwise it may crystalise.
  • Take out the warmed 1 litre dish from the oven and place to one side.    Continue boiling the caramel until it is the same colour as photo of Caramel Stage 3.
  • Carefully pour the caramel into your warmed dish and gently swirl it round the dish.   The mixture will continue browning for a few seconds so that it ends up like the photo of Caramel Stage 4.  Leave to cool and set.
  • Put milk and vanilla pod into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.   Remove from heat and allow to infuse for 10 mins. Remove vanilla pod, rinse and dry to use again another time.   Boil the kettle.
  • Add 75g sugar and stir until dissolved.
  • Beat 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks.   Beat into the hot milk.
  • Strain the custard into the prepared dish over the caramel.   Straining will hold back any bits of unmixed egg or milk skin.
  • Put dish into a roasting pan.   Gently pour boiled water into tin around the dish.
  • Place into oven and bake for 40-50 mins or until the custard is set with a gentle wobble.  You can test this by putting a knife into centre of custard and it should come out cleanly.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature before covering and putting in fridge to chill.
  • When ready to serve, pull the custard away from the side gently using your fingertips and then turn upside down onto a lipped serving dish.   Only do this just before serving or else the caramel sauce will run off the top.

 

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