Muscat creme caramel with orange flower cream & candied pistachios

Muscat creme caramel with orange flower cream & candied pistachios

By
From
New Feast
Makes
1 large or 6–8 small custards
Photographer
Alan Benson

Sometimes it’s just impossible to get past the classics – and who doesn’t love the seductive wobble of a creme caramel? Over the years, we’ve made various versions (the mandarin-scented recipe in our earlier book, Moorish, is a particular favourite), but we often return to this gorgeous, Muscat-infused silky custard. With its raisin notes and the sugary crunch of candied pistachios, it is the perfect dessert for a golden autumn evening. This recipe will make one large creme caramel or six to eight individual ones, depending on the size of your ramekin dishes.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

Custard

Quantity Ingredient
200ml muscat liqueur, muscatel or sauternes
50ml medium-sweet sherry
300ml pouring cream
200ml milk
80g caster sugar
2 eggs, plus 4 egg yolks
whipped cream, to serve
orange flower water, to serve

Caramel

Quantity Ingredient
80ml water
120g caster sugar

Candied pistachios

Quantity Ingredient
100g caster sugar
50ml water
200g shelled pistachio nuts

Method

  1. To candy the pistachio nuts, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over a low heat. Tilt and gently shake the pan from time to time to help the sugar dissolve evenly. Once it has dissolved, increase the heat to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until it reaches the ‘thread’ stage*, which is 110°C on a candy thermometer.
  2. Add the pistachios to the syrup and stir well. Lower the heat and cook, stirring continuously, for around 2 minutes until the sugar crystallises. Stir until the nuts are evenly covered with sugary crystals, then tip onto a tray lined with baking paper and spread the mixture out roughly. Leave to cool. Break up roughly and, if not using straight away, store in the freezer for up to a month.
  3. To make the caramel, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Swirl the pan from time to time to help it along. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to medium and simmer until it caramelises to a dark golden brown. Don’t stir the caramel once it’s simmering. If crystals form on the sides of the pan, use a wet pastry brush to dissolve them. As soon as the caramel is achieved, pour it into a 1.25 litre souffle dish or divide between small, individual ramekins. Swirl to coat the base and sides evenly with caramel, then leave for around 20 minutes to cool and set.
  4. Preheat the oven to 140°C and arrange the souffle dish (or ramekins) in a deep roasting tin.
  5. Combine the Muscat and sherry in a small pan and bring to the boil. Simmer until reduced to 80 ml, then pour into a bowl and cool completely.
  6. Whisk the cream gently with the milk.
  7. Combine the sugar, eggs, egg yolks and reduced Muscat in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together gently, but be careful not to make it frothy. Gently whisk in the cream mixture then strain into a jug.
  8. Set the prepared mould(s) in a deep roasting tin. Pour in the custard, then fill the tin with enough hot water to come halfway up the side of the dish. Cover the whole tin loosely with foil and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours (or 60–70 minutes for smaller ones), or until the custard has just set. It should be soft, glossy and still a little wobbly in the centre – the custard will continue to set out of the oven. Carefully lift out of the water bath and leave to cool. Once cool, cover and chill for up to 2 days before serving.
  9. When ready to serve, run a knife around the edge of the custard and invert onto a serving plate. Garnish with the candied pistachios and serve with plenty of whipped cream and a splash of orange flower water.

Note:

  • If you don’t have a candy thermometer, the thread stage is reached when a drop of the syrup falls from a spoon in a long, unbroken thread.
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