Mandarin crème caramel

Mandarin crème caramel

By
From
Citrus
Serves
6
Photographer
Mowie Kay

I can't think of many desserts I prefer to a proper, silky-soft, well-chilled crème caramel - apart from the Spanish version, flan de naranja from Valencia, which uses orange juice instead of milk. Here I still use milk but infuse it with mandarin zest and anise. The beauty of crème caramel lies in the fact you can anticipate the texture of each mouthful - real nursery food.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the caramel

Quantity Ingredient
100g caster sugar

For the crème

Quantity Ingredient
500ml whole milk, plus 1 tablespoon
2 mandarins, finely grated zest
A pinch anise seeds, (optional)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
100g caster sugar

Method

  1. Butter 6 fairly shallow ramekins or small ovenproof dishes. Put the milk into a saucepan and add the mandarin zest and anise seeds, if using. Bring almost to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse.
  2. Next make the caramel. Evenly sprinkle the sugar in a saucepan and pour in enough water to just cover the sugar. Heat on a medium heat until the sugar has melted and turned a rich amber colour. You can swirl the pan every so often, but resist stirring. Remove from the heat, then divide the caramel between the ramekins, working quickly.
  3. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks together with the sugar, just to combine. Don’t let them become foamy and mousse-like. Strain the milk and gradually incorporate it into the egg and sugar mixture – again, don’t whisk, just stir. Leave to stand while the caramel sets. If, after 15–20 minutes, the top is still a bit on the bubbly side, lightly skim it.
  4. Pour the custard over the caramel, then cover each ramekin with foil. Put into a large roasting tin and pour in just boiled water – it should come up to two-thirds of the way up the sides of the ramekins.
  5. Cook the crème caramels in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes, or until the custard still has a slight wobble in the middle. Remove the ramekins from the roasting tin and leave to cool completely, then cover and leave to chill in the refrigerator.
  6. To serve, run a palette knife around the inside of each ramekin and upturn onto serving plates. The caramel should spill over the sides and pool around the set custard.

Note

  • Mandarin has a great affinity with aniseed notes – I love it with basil, too, for the same reason – but you can omit it if it does not appeal.
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