I can’t help but find it incredibly funny nowadays that the reason why my attempts at panna cotta and créme caramel always went wrong was because I used the wrong sort of cream – thickened instead of pouring. I always got terribly confused with the names that recipes used – double, thickened, single, pouring, pure, clotted?? For the record, what is called ‘pure cream’ at the supermarket also goes by the name single cream and pouring cream.
Now being able to master the panna cotta, I decided to give the créme caramel another try. I’ve been resorting to the supermarket stuff for a while now (guilty as charged), and I thought that it would be really nice to be able to achieve one of my all-time favourite desserts. Silky creamy custard sitting in a pool of liquid caramelised sugar? Bliss.
This is a Donna Hay recipe from her book A Cook’s Guide. I edited the recipe and made it ideal unintentionally. It’s a long story, but basically I divided the recipe, realised I didn’t have enough, made a second batch of custard and poured it over the first batch, etc. So pretty much it ended up being the recipe’s stipulated amount of custard over half of the recipe’s stipulated amount of caramel, and that level of sweetness was perfect for me.
I became so confident that the week after I made Chocolate créme caramel with hazelnut praline, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? One has got to crawl before they can walk.
This recipe will serve four but will also generously serve three dessert-lovers 😉
You will need:
- 75g caster sugar;
- 40 ml water;
- 3/4C (180ml) milk;
- 3/4C (180ml) single (pouring) cream;
- 2 eggs;
- 4 egg yolks, extra;
- 1/3C (75g) caster sugar, extra;
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celcius and place the sugar and water in a saucepan over high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture is golden (keep in mind that even when you take it off the heat, it will continue to bubble and cook, so be careful it doesn’t turn too dark!). Pour into three one cup capacity ovenproof dishes, picking up the cup and swirling the mixture to coat the bottom. Watch you don’t burn yourself! Set aside for five minutes or until the caramel is set.
Place the milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it just comes to the boil and remove from the heat. Place the eggs, extra yolk, extra sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Gradually add the hot milk mixture, continuously whisking all the time.
Place the dishes in a deep baking tray lined with a folded tea towel and strain the mixture, pouring it into the dishes.
Pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dishes before carefully placing the dish in the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the custards are set. Mind you, I put in three ramekins enough custard for four, so my caramels took a little longer to cook. Check on them regularly after the 30 minute mark, and they are done when you tilt the ramekin and the mixture doesn’t appear like it wants to break out of the surface and flow out. The tops should be soft still. Remove the ramekins from the baking dish and refrigerate for two hours or until cold.
Remove the caramels from the fridge 30 minutes before serving and dip the base of the dish briefly in hot water for 10 seconds before turning out onto a plate. This will help the caramel to slip out more easily.
When you see the caramel begin to seep out from the bottom, it is truly a magical moment. And then when you lift up the ramekin…
Ta-da! Absolutely beautiful 🙂
Silky and creamy, not sickly sweet in the slightest and speckled with delicious vanilla bean seeds, it was perfect.
I’ve got to say, my Chocolate créme caramels turned out fabulously too!
All right, you can have a quick glimpse, just because I like you
But you will have to wait until next week for the recipe! Until then, have a fabulous weekend, lovelies. Take care xx