Wednesday, 4 February 2009

sugar + eggs + milk + vanilla = creme caramel

There are a handful of desserts that cross cultural boundaries and get the universal nod of approval. I think creme caramel is one of them. A mixture of sugar, eggs, vanilla and milk cooked gently in a hot water bath to set in the most luxurious silken texture, it is a dessert to eat and remind yourself comfort can be derived from the most humble of beginnings.

creme caramel

500 ml full-cream milk
4 large eggs
80 g sugar
1 vanilla pod, split and seeded
100g caster sugar
1/2 lemon
(makes 8 150ml portions)
place a medium saucepan over a medium-high flame to heat
pour 2 tablespoon caster sugar into the heated saucepan and allow sugar to melt before adding more
(NB this is the method to prepare caramel sec - dry caramel. It yields a thicker and darker caramel in less time)
arrest the cooking of the sugar by squeezing some lemon juice into the caramel when the desired colour is achieved
quickly and carefully pour caramel into 8-9 dariole moulds or ramekins
allow caramel to set
whisk eggs and sugar in a bowl
heat milk and vanilla seeds n pod in a medium size saucepan until the surface barely breaks into a simmer
remove milk from heat and gently pour into egg mixture whilst constantly whisking
refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight to allow vanilla to infuse
pre-heat oven to 170C
strain custard through a fine sieve and into a pouring jug
fill the caramel filled darioles leaving a 5mm allowance - this is to facilitate handling in and out of a hot oven
wrap the top of the dariole with foil - this is to prevent a skin from forming while the custard cooks
place custards into a roasting pan and fill with hot water 3/4 of the way up the side of the darioles
bake for 20 minutes
reduce oven temperature to 150C and bake for a further 20 minutes
check custard to see if it is ready by removing the foil lid and tapping it gently. The middle should tremble slightly
remove from oven and allow custard to remain in the hot water bath
remove from the hot water bath after 1 hour
refrigerate for at least 8 hours
unmould creme caramel by running a thin-bladed knife around the edge and inverting onto a bowl
serve cold with sliced fruit.

1 comment:

Sugar Chef said...

Your creme caramel looks perfect.