Crème Caramel is not just apparently the British Queen’s favourite dessert, it seems to be just about everyone’s favourite dessert! Making it does require a level of skill but, once made it is easy to serve and best of all actually is best made the day before. Making it does require a level of skill but, once made it is easy to serve and best of all actually needs to be made the day before.
The perfection of this recipe is simply achieved; fresh preservative free pouring cream and fu-cream milk from your local dairy.
In recent years quality pure cream has become more readily available and can be found in most independent supermarket. Eggs must be very fresh.
Not allowing the custard to cool is the secret to cooking the Crème Caramels without scrambling them.
Make sure you have everything ready and that your oven is pre-heated [generally not less than 20-30 minutes with most ovens]. A clean oven is essential for all sweet baking.
food editor publisher
makes 12 x 185ml
for the caramel
400g caster sugar
100g filtered water
for the Crème
900g full cream milk
500g pouring cream
260g caster sugar
2 vanilla pods, split and scraped
12x 61g [Austraian large eggs] free range eggs, 6 whole, and 6 yolks
Pictured left coffee crème caramel easily made by infusing the cream and milk with coffee and adding a few beans to the syrup.
Before you start
Cover the bottom of your baking dish with a single layer of paper towel. This stops the filled moulds from sliding around and great care needs to be taken as they are very full when you have to manoeuvre them into the oven. Make sure you have boiling water ready to go.
for the caramel
Weigh the sugar and water into a small saucepan, stir to lift the sugar from the bottom and place it on high heat. Put the moulds into a deep seamless baking dish. When the caramel starts to colour remove it from the heat and allow the bubbling to subside. Divide the caramel between the moulds and when it has cooled a little, using a dry cloth to hold the moulds roll the caramel around the sides. For the Caramel syrup click here
pre heat oven to 170°C
Put the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla pods and seeds into a microwave safe bowl. Put the whole eggs and yolks into a jug and whisk together. Bring the cream, milk and sugar to the boil in a microwave. Whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to the boil again, and then without delay, remove the vanilla pods and whisk into the eggs. Mix thoroughly, strain and divide between the moulds.
They will be frothy on top and keep filling until the froth is standing a little above the top it will flatten down.
Once you have finished putting the caramel into to moulds you should still have about 1cm of caramel in the saucepan. While it is still hot [depending on how hot it can ferociously bubble up so take care] add cold water to twice the level of the remaining caramel and return it to low heat. When the toffee has melted boil, remembering that cold it will be thicker, until it has a good sauce consistency.
Pay attention because it can reduce back to toffee and burn!
Fill the baking dish with very hot water 90°C-95°C to 1cm of the top of the moulds and put them in the middle of your oven. Set a timer for 20 minutes, when the timer goes carefully turn the baking dish in the oven and set a timer for another 20 minutes.
When the timer goes, gently shake the tray. The crème caramel should still have about 50% wobble in the centre. Turn the tray and, if your oven is not even, carefully move the centre caramels to the edges that are most coloured and move those caramels into the centre. Set the timer for another ten minutes, gently shake the caramels again it should be about a five-cent piece wobble left.
Turn off the heat, use a tea towel to jam the oven door slightly ajar and set a timer for 1½ hours. Remove the Crème Caramels from the water bath, tray, cover and refrigerate over night.
Slide a knife carefully around the edge and unmould onto a plate.
If you make the caramels the same day you will need to make some extra toffee syrup because the caramel at the bottom of the moulds will not have had sufficient time to liquefy.
garnishes and deviations
This should always be a seasonal choice. The acidity of passionfruit woks brilliantly. In the citrus season we sometimes infuse the milk and cream with orange rind and serve with citrus compote, garnished with glacé orange rind. In the berry season we also use slithers of glacé citron which has the same jewel-like quality and do love some passionfruit with a berry combination.
With the coffee version, a good option in winter when there is nothing much around….coffee gelato and cream is a pretty fine accompaniment.
We love a tiny drizzle of pouring cream on any version.