Crème Caramel

08Jun08

Crème caramel to the French, flan to the those in the Spanish speaking countries. Whatever you want to call it, until tonight, I had never tasted this old-school dessert before. My only experience with them has been salivating over them in foodie magazines, recipe books or on television cooking shows. You don’t often see them being offered in restaurants these days either, so the poor crème caramel and I have never had the pleasure to meet.

To me, it always looked like one of those desserts that were too tricky and fiddly to make. I’ve always wondered how they were baked for so long without turning hard and chewy. I was also curious as to how the caramel didn’t stick to the moulds and how they managed to keep their shape after you popped them out.

After flicking through Neil Perry’s ‘The Food I Love’, I found a recipe for this dessert and with my first attempt this afternoon, I managed to make six perfectly wobbly crème caramels in time to enjoy after dinner. To my surprise, both the caramel and custard were dead easy to make. I was also extremely nervous when it came to removing them from their moulds, but after a mini hot water bath, they easily inverted onto the serving plates to swim happily in a pool of sticky caramel syrup.

So how would I describe my first taste of the crème caramel? Well, it was wonderful. The tiny hint of bitterness in the sweet caramel matched wonderfully with the subtle flavour of the baked vanilla custard. And the texture of it all is something else altogether. It’s definitely a dessert to make again!

Crème Caramel

Recipe by Neil Perry in ‘The Food I Love’.

1 litre (4 cups) full-cream milk

115g (½ cup) caster sugar

1 vanilla bean, split with seeds scraped out

6 egg yolks

6 eggs

Caramel

225g (1 cup) caster sugar

125ml (½ cup) water

  1. Combine the milk, sugar and vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to stand for 45 minutes.
  2. For the caramel, bring the sugar and water to a gentle simmer, stirring briefly to dissolve the sugar. Do not stir once it’s simmering. Watch the sugar and water carefully, and simmer only until it starts turning a deep caramel colour. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour equal amounts of the caramel into six 250ml capacity moulds. Hold the moulds at the top of the rim and swirl to coat the moulds halfway up their sides with the caramel. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Lightly mix the eggs and yolks in a bowl. Strain the cooled milk mixture into the egg mixture, slowly whisking. Strain again and pour into the prepared moulds. Lay a tea-towel on the bottom of a roasting tin. Place the moulds inside the tin and fill the tin with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the moulds. Cover the tin with foil and place in the centre of the oven to cook for 30-45 minutes, or until set (the time will vary according to the oven). Allow to cool, then store in the refrigerator. for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. To serve, pour some boiling water in a bowl and place a mould in the water for about 20 seconds. Carefully run a knife around the inside of the mould and jiggle the mould to loosen the custard. Place the serving plate on top and quickly upturn the crème caramel and slowly remove the mould, allowing the caramel to gently spill down the edges of the dessert.

Makes 6.

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42 Responses to “Crème Caramel”

  1. Ooh, they look delicious!

  2. 2 Lisa

    Oooooh yummy! Creme caramel is one of my favourite desserts! But for some reason my caramel always turns toffee-like and gets stuck at the bottom of the ramekin. Perhaps I didn’t leave it sitting in the hot water long enough before I inverted them onto the plate?

  3. 3 rachel

    It looks lovely! I’ll have to try my hand at these one day!

  4. 4 Linda

    Angelica – they sure were.

    Lisa – I had a bit of toffee stuck at the bottom of each mould, but it was only a small layer. I think it depends on how thick the caramel is on the bottom.

    I’m just happy that they came out in one piece :)

    Rachel – please do!

  5. 5 Eva

    These look absolutely lovely! I’ve never made creme caramel before either but luckily I got to try it recently in a restaurant, covered with a crispy caramel tuile. Your post is really encouraging me to finally do it myself!

  6. 6 zeynepankara

    Ahahahahhhh, yummy!!!

  7. Mmmm beautiful!

  8. 8 gkbloodsugar

    I love a good photograph of Creme Caramel, almost as much (probably more) than I love actual Creme Caramel. You’ve got that love in cup fulls here – The shiny shiny caramel top is singing to me.

    Great job.

  9. Ooh, this looks fantastic! Nice touch to have them swimming in syrup. :-)

  10. That looks perfect!

  11. 11 Ann

    Ya know, I’ve been meaning to make these for the LONGEST time and don’t know what has been stopping me. They look wonderful. Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. They look lovely! Great job with your first ones!

  13. 13 giz

    How gorgeous do they look. The only thing that scares me is the volume of eggs in the recipe.

  14. My favorite part is the syrup. I think I’d just like a mug of the syrup served up warm. Is that so wrong?

  15. 15 arfi

    Surely, Linda. I am tempted to make creme caramel right now after using all of those egg whites to make macarons. I love creme caramel. So classic yet so elegant. Love it!

  16. 16 Linda

    Thanks everyone!

    Ann and Eva – try it, it’s so easy. I was nervous, but on my first go, they turned out great!

    gkbloodsugar – thank you! The shiny caramel on top is my favourite part of the shot. I had to stand in a specific spot to get that look.

    Giz – I know there is a huge amount of eggs and yolks, but it tastes sooo good!

    Joy – go on, do it. Make up a batch and drink it :)

    Arfi – hello Arfi, my fellow Flickr friend. I think you should use up those spare yolks and make some crème caramel. Go on, I know you want to :)

  17. I only tried crème caramel a while ago and fell in love with it. Yours look so pretty!

  18. Oh, this looks luscious. It reminds me of a vanilla bean creme brulee I had yesterday, but yours is even better since it’s in a pool of caramel!

  19. How awesome is this recipe? I have the same book and have made it countless times…just haven’t blogged it since I can’t seem to get photos that I’m happy with! Nice job with the cooking and photos :)

  20. 20 Y

    That caramel looks g.o.o.d! I love a nice dark caramel topping on my creme caramel :)

  21. This looks great! I have always wanted to make creme caramel, but haven’t attempted it yet.

  22. 22 carli

    today was a very bad day &i didn’t have energy to do anything…
    however, that changed when i found this recipe; i started making it immediately! it’s delicious — thanks to you, today is now an okay day.

  23. i think that if a dessert can be “controversial” then this one definitely is. people either love or hate creme caramel. i fall into the love category, and this one looks amazingly amber and beautiful!

  24. 24 latifa

    creme caramel is a classic dessert that never dies. i don’t believe that you did not tatse it before!….any way, your’s looks delicious and perfect

  25. Wow, what a response! I’ve never had this many comments for the one post before!

    Thank you everyone! :)

  26. you’ve most definitely inspired my to grab ‘the food I love’ from the shelf and make some crèmes caramel.
    thank you.

    xx fanny

  27. You’re most welcome Fanny! Looking forward to seeing them on your beautiful blog.

  28. 28 Gina

    My mouth is watering, I have to go now.

  29. 29 Mari

    Your images are just too much! I had to stop myself from licking the screen! Creme caramel has never looked so good!!!

  30. Ohhh this looks delicious!

  31. Gina – come back! :)

    Mari and littlem – thanks!

  32. 32 eastside resident

    i make them all the time. they are my favorite dessert to make and to eat.

  33. 33 Teh M1K3Z0R

    woah! this looks like something I MUST try….why do you tempt me lol

  34. the pic is inspiring… it captivated me for minutes on end. lol. seems delicious

  35. My favortie childhood treat (boy do I say that a lot!!). I love that first close up shot. Simple and elegant desserts like creme caramel are always a pleasure to eat and a treat to look at. Well done!

  36. Oh, this looks so good!

  37. 37 Su

    yummmmm!!!

  38. 38 FlorencePS, Greenville, South Carolina (USA)

    Linda –> Thank you for saving my Christmas. Just recently moved and could not find my tried-and-true recipe that I’ve been making for the past 23 Christmases to go with my French-inspired holiday dinner: Roast Prime Ribs of Beef, Brussel Sprouts with Hollandaise, whipped potatoes, and for desert, Crème Caramel with homemade whipped cream. Yummm. (My mama was French and I was born there quite a few years ago, brought here at a very young age to my father’s country, the States, and raised, reason why the French-inspired meal. My mother hated turkey, which is more traditional here in the States.)

    At any rate, upon doing a search for crème caramel I got so many hits, but luckily, early on, I came across yours that used the same ratio of egg yolks (6) and eggs (6) that I remembered from my own recipe. It is such an easy recipe, isn’t it? And so delicious. Our only difference in the recipes is that I cook the whole custard in one quart-size bain-marie; however, the individual ramikins seems like a great idea, too. Maybe next year. Cheers and Merry Christmas.

  39. 39 FlorencePS, Greenville, South Carolina (USA)

    PS: I meant to say in my previous comment, that I am quite impressed with your website. You are a VERY talented young woman in all that you do here. Your writing, recipes and photos all scream of someone who is quite entertaining. Take it from someone who is older and did not have the luxory of the Internet, take advantage of these years and your talents (they go by in a blink of an eye). I am quite certain that you could easily have your own cooking program (if you don’t already). Good luck and Best Wishes to you and yours.

  40. As soon as I saw this, my throat choked up a little with sentiment – my father is the maker of crème caramels in our family (or caramel custards, as I grew up with them named). The sight of them instantly brings me to their kitchen. Yours look lovely, the texture luscious. And you’ve totally captured the charm of the dessert – it is the bitterness, in my mind, that elevates and offsets the unctuous eggyness to something so very special.

  41. 41 Esther Laura

    I love caramel very much, but its hard to find it here……


  1. 1 Crème Caramel « Food Porn Daily

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