Monday, April 15, 2013

Creme Caramel

 We mentioned in our last post that we were going to make some Creme Caramel. We tried it and feel that it is worthy of a post. This was a little different for us because we quite often make Creme Brulee. We give credit to this recipe to Joanne Chang at

Classic Creme Caramel:

2 cups heavy cream 
1 cup milk (we only had skim, so we added 1/2 & 1/2)
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
1 cup sugar 
3 egg yolks 
2 eggs 
Pinch salt 
For the caramel: 
1/2 cup sugar 
For the custard:
Heat the oven to 325°F. Heat the cream and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until scalded (you'll see small bubbles on the sides of the pan). Split the vanilla bean in half, if using, and scrape the seeds into the cream. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, slowly whisk 1/2 cup of the sugar into the egg yolks and eggs. Slowly whisk the hot cream/milk into the sugar/yolk mixture. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a pitcher or measuring cup. Stir in the salt and vanilla extract, if using.
For the caramel:
Arrange six 6-oz. ramekins in a baking dish with deep sides and set aside. Put remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a clean saucepan. Carefully add just enough water to dissolve the sugar, and set the pot over high heat.
After a few minutes, the mixture will come to a furious boil; several minutes later, as more water evaporates, it will boil more viscously, and finally it will start to color. Swirl the pan around to even out the caramelization. Once the sugar has started to caramelize, watch it carefully. It takes just seconds for caramel to go from great to burnt.  (We burned our first batch; the next time, we picked it up off the burner before it was quite brown enough, and the residual heat from the pan was enough to finish the browning.  Lesson learned!)
When the caramel is an even dark brown, carefully pour it into the ramekins. Caramel at this stage is over 300°F, so be extremely careful when handling it. Divide it evenly so that each ramekin is covered with a thin layer of dark brown caramel.
To bake:
Pour the custard into the caramel-lined ramekins, fill the baking dish with water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins and cover the dish with foil. Bake until just set, 25 to 50 minutes. Remember to start checking early; baking time will depend on the thickness and depth of your ramekins and baking dish. Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and let the ramekins cool in the water bath. Remove, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
 Run a thin knife around the edge of the custard and invert onto a dessert plate, scraping any caramel from the ramekin onto the custard.

So here is our run at this dessert:

First we gather the ingredients.

Then we started with the Cream and 1/2 & 1/2 , combining them in a sauce pan.

Next we prepped the vanilla and added to the cream with a pinch of salt, 

and began to warm it up.

While the cream is heating we separated three eggs and then add the last two eggs whole.

Whip them up with a 1/2 cup of sugar.

Then we slowly poured it over the egg mixture.  Pour it slow at first so as not to cook the eggs, whipping it constantly.

Next we started the caramel.  1/2 cup of sugar and a small amount of water poured around the edge of a heavy pan.

Start cooking the caramel as shown.

As the mixture begins to turn tan start swirling the caramelizing sugar so as to keep it from burning and to make it caramelize evenly.  Watch it very close because it turns dark very fast.  We would recommend having your ramekins ready because just the extra time in the hot pan can burn the caramel.

Pour an even amount into each ramekin and then swirl the caramel around the bottom as shown.

Next strain the custard and pour it into the ramekins.

Then fill the baking dish with boiling water to about 1/2 way up the sides of the ramekins.

Place it into the 325 degree pre-heated oven and bake until the custard has a slight giggle only in the center.  Ours took about 50 minutes this time.

Allow it to cool in the oven pan and then place the creme caramels into the fridge to cool.  We thought that it tasted better if they sat over night. But if you can't wait allow at least wait 2 hours.

When you get ready to serve. Take a thin knife and slide it around the edges, then turn it upside down on a plate. Be prepared for a caramel sauce to flow over the top as shown. 


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