Crème caramel recipe

Posted on September 17, 2013

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The thing I love most about spring has got to be the fact that there are more daylight hours. It’s so much more pleasant being able to come home with the sun still being out (albeit it is close to setting). It feel like there are more hours to the day and I no longer feel like there’s a rush to finish dinner quickly. In fact it feels like there is even enough time to pull off a French dessert on a weeknight. That is how much time I feel like I’ve gained! (Ps. those are vanilla pods in the below photo, not random bits of black in my crème caramel.)

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But while this is a French dessert, it is by no means difficult. After you make it once, you’ll most likely be able to do it again without a recipe. I’ve mentioned before that I love crème caramel, so it’s probably high time I share the recipe I use to make this much loved dessert.

Crème caramel is such a classic dessert, and it never fails to please. This recipe is based on one I found on Easy French Food a long time ago. I’ve made this many times and it has always worked a treat. It’s a very basic recipe using only whole eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla. Variations of this base recipe will use egg yolks and cream to yield a richer custard. For example, if you wanted a richer dessert, you could substitute up to half of the milk in the below recipe with cream.

RECIPE – Crème caramel (makes 6-8 depending on size of moulds)

(original recipe from Easy French Food)

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Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 750mL full cream milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or seeds from 1 vanilla pod)
  • 4 eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C.
  2. To make the caramel, place 2/3 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoon of water into a medium sized saucepan on medium heat. Leave sugar on heat without stirring until it boils and turns golden (approximately 12 minutes). Once a bit of the syrup takes on an amber hue, remove pan from the heat source and swirl around in pan. As soon as the caramel is a uniform golden colour, distribute the caramel evenly into the base of your dariole moulds (or ramekins).caramel
  3. Into the same pot, add the milk, sugar and vanilla and bring the milk to a gentle simmer. The warm milk will melt the rest of the caramel left in your pan and make cleaning up a lot easier :). Once all the sugar dissolves and the milk just comes to the boil, remove from heat and reserve.
  4. While the milk is warming, in a large bowl whisk eggs until light.IMG_7438
  5. Slowly add warm milk to the eggs in a slow and steady stream while continually whisking the mixture until completely combined. Do not add the warm milk too quickly as you don’t want to cook the eggs.
  6. Remove foamy egg bits from the mixture, you can do this by skimming off the top layer of foam or pouring the mixture through a fine sieve.IMG_7457
  7. Distribute custard evenly between the dariole moulds prepared.
  8. Place moulds into a water bath with hot (just boiled) water that comes up about halfway up the moulds. Place water bath into the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes. The total baking time will vary depending on the depth of moulds/ramekins used. The crème is done if it’s set with a gentle wobble in the centre. You can check if the crème is set by inserting a toothpick into the centre, it should come out clean.IMG_7458
  9. Allow the crème caramel to cool completely before covering and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours before serving.
  10. To unmould, place dariole moulds in a shallow hot water bath for a couple of minutes to melt the caramel. Gently run a knife along the edge of the mould and invert into serving dish, the crème caramel should dislodge with a tap. I like serving these in little bowls instead of plates because this way you can see the crème sitting in a pool of caramel, plus it makes it easier to scoop up all the caramel sauce ;).IMG_7468

It is always so satisfying to see the custard slipping out of the mould and pouring the caramel over the top. These are the simple pleasures that make me enjoy playing about in my kitchen. And it goes without saying that the taste is lovely. The crème is smooth, light and fragranced with vanilla while the caramel is bold with a combination of bitter sweetness. I’ll always be a fan of this classic.

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