Crème caramel

Crème caramel

By
From
Margaret Fulton Favourites
Serves
6
Photographer
Tanya Zouev and Armelle Habib

This recipe for delicious little custard desserts created a sensation way back in 1968 when I included it in my first cookbook. People loved it but many wrote to say the toffee caramel stayed in the bottom of the moulds. Pretty soon everyone understood that the caramel flavoured the rich custard and gave it a lovely colour when turned out. The longer it is left in the fridge (overnight at least), the more caramel sauce you have. Some recipes call for cream only but to my mind the addition of milk, to cut down on the richness, gives a perfect result.

Cook the caramel to just the right stage: not enough and it will be over-sweet, too much and it will be bitter. Use a sugar thermometer or learn to recognise the caramel stage by using your nose and eyes. Once the caramel stage is reached it will burn quickly and you will smell the bitterness. Therefore it is important to work quickly, pouring the caramel into the moulds as soon as it is ready. Start again if it burns so as not to waste the custard mixture.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup extra caster sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Put the water and sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil until golden brown (caramel stage). Pour into an 18 cm mould or 6 individual moulds. Hold the mould with a cloth and quickly rotate until the caramel coats the sides and base. If using individual moulds, pour a little caramel into the base of each. Leave to cool.
  2. Scald the cream and milk with the vanilla bean. Strain and cool slightly. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and extra sugar until well blended, then pour in the milk gradually, stirring constantly. Strain through a fine sieve.
  3. Pour the custard mixture into the caramel-lined mould or individual moulds and place in a baking dish filled with hot water that reaches halfway up the sides of the moulds. Bake small moulds for 45 minutes, a large mould for 50–60 minutes, or until custard is set and a skewer inserted near the centre comes out clean. Cool, then chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Turn out onto serving plates. Serve with cream.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

Cardamom cream

  • When I joined New Idea in 1979 I was given plenty of time to create new recipe ideas. In 1980 I developed a rich cream flavoured with one of my favourite spices, cardamom. It’s a variation of crème caramel, made in the same way except that the cream and milk are infused with 8 crushed cardamom pods instead of the vanilla bean.

Crème peruvienne

  • Another variation, in which the milk and cream are infused with fresh coffee beans. Replace the vanilla bean with 1 cup of lightly crushed coffee beans. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes, covered. Strain through a fine sieve and proceed as per the original recipe. The Spanish and French ‘flan’ is made the same way but in a larger mould, and often evaporated milk is used in place of milk and cream.
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