Crème caramel

Crème caramel

How to Cook Desserts
Peter Cassidy

You need to prepare this dish a day in advance, to allow time for it to set properly. You will need a 1 litre ovenproof dish, 4–5cm deep.


Quantity Ingredient
100g granulated sugar
4 tablespoons water
600ml whole milk
few drops vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 tablespoons caster sugar


  1. Heat the oven to 150°C and place the ovenproof dish in the oven to warm up.
  2. Put the granulated sugar and water into a heavy-based saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, brush down the sides of the pan and bring the syrup to a gentle simmer. Simmer until it caramelises and reaches a rich golden colour, then immediately remove from the heat.
  3. Working quickly and wearing oven gloves to protect your hands, remove the dish from the oven and pour in the caramel. Immediately tip and rotate the dish so that the caramel coats the insides evenly. Set aside.
  4. Pour the milk into a saucepan, place over a low to medium heat and bring to scalding point, then remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Mix the eggs and caster sugar in a large bowl until well combined, but avoid introducing too many air bubbles. Gradually pour the milk into the egg mixture, stirring well, then strain the custard into the prepared dish. Cover with foil to prevent a thick skin from forming when cooking.
  6. Half-fill a roasting tin with boiling water to make a bain marie. Place the dish in the tin, making sure the water comes about half to three quarters up the sides of the dish.
  7. Carefully transfer the tin to the bottom third of the oven and cook for 60–75 minutes, or until the centre is just set. There will be a uniform (but not violent) wobble to the custard when it is jiggled gently, but it will no longer be liquid. (The custard will firm up once it is cool.)
  8. Leave the crème caramel to cool, then place in the fridge to chill overnight.
  9. To serve, remove the crème caramel from the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving, to bring it to room temperature, as the flavour will be better. Ease the top edge of the custard away from the dish using only the very tip of a small knife. Invert a plate over the dish then, holding on to the dish and the plate, turn the plate the right way up with the dish now upside down. The crème caramel should drop down onto the plate. Carefully lift away the dish.


  • To make rum and raisin crème caramel put 50g raisins in a saucepan with 4 tbsp dark rum and 4 tbsp water. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and set aside for 20 minutes to plump up. Drain the raisins, reserving the liquor. Make the liquor up to 4 tbsp (it doesn’t matter if it is a little more) with more rum, and use in place of the water to make the caramel. Replace 50ml of the milk in the custard with 50ml dark rum. Once the dish has been lined with the caramel, sprinkle over the soaked raisins before you strain over the custard. Proceed as for the main recipe.

For individual crème caramels...

  • If using individual ramekins, this quantity will serve about 6, and will take less time to cook, about 40–50 minutes. You will need to work very quickly when dividing the caramel between the ramekins.
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