This easy creme caramel recipe, similar to flan in its delicate texture, is as simple as it is sophisticated. You'd expect nothing less from the French, yes?
“I find this dessert such a simple comfort,” says author Edd Kimber. “Perhaps it is the memories of eating it as a child, or maybe it’s the texture.” We can’t say for certain, either, exactly what the most compelling component of this creme caramel would be, we’re just grateful it exists in all its silken, sophisticated splendor. One taste and we think you’ll concur.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Special Equipment: Deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer
Creme Caramel Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 1 H
- Serves 4 to 6
- For the caramel
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) superfine sugar (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery)
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- For the custard
- 1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- Generous 1 1/2 cups (400 milliliters) whole milk
- 3 1/2 tablespoons (50 milliliters) heavy cream
- 4 large or extra-large eggs
- Scant 2/3 cup (125 grams) superfine sugar
- 1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Place four 3 1/2-inch ramekins (or heatproof containers of a similar size) in a roasting pan.
- Make the caramel
- 2. Put the sugar and water in a small pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Once the syrup is clear, stop stirring (this can cause crystallization) and let the pan over the heat, without touching it, until the sugar caramelizes, which may take anywhere from 4 to 7 minutes. The second that you have a caramel with a dark copper color, remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour it evenly among the prepared molds. (Be careful that the caramel doesn’t cook too far as it can burn easily.) Let the caramel puddles sit while you make the custard.
- Make the custard
- 3. Cut the vanilla bean, if using, in half and scrape out the seeds. Place the seeds or vanilla bean paste in a medium pan and add the milk and cream. Heat gently over medium-low heat until the mixture is hot but not boiling, 5 to 7 minutes.
- 4. Meanwhile, place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat together until pale. Once the milk mixture has come to temperature, remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the mixture over the eggs, stirring constantly. Using a ladle, divide this custard equally between the prepared ramekins. Put the roasting pan in the oven and add enough cold water so that it reaches halfway up the sides of the molds. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the custards have set around the outside but still have a wobble in the center and register 170°F to 175°F (76°C to 79°C) on a deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer.
- 5. Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven. Lift out the custards and put them onto a wire rack to cool. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap then transfer them to the refrigerator to chill overnight. To serve, use a knife to gently loosen the custards from the ramekins. Place a serving plate on top of each ramekin and invert it to turn the custards out. Make sure all the caramel drains from the ramekin onto the custard. Serve. (The creme caramels will keep, in their ramekins, for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.)
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