Crème Caramel or Caramel Custard is undoubtedly one of the most simplest desserts to make, and quite a tasty one too. Also called Flan, Leche Flan, Caramel Pudding or Custard Pudding, this fuss-free dessert is made across the world in different methods, using ingredients that are easily found in one’s pantry.
My earliest memories of the Crème Caramel is when I was 5 years old. This is a dessert that was a regular member of our family, made by mom, usually by steaming in a pressure cooker. As I grew up and started cooking and baking, I’ve made a number of different dishes, but somehow, I never got around to making this. One major reason for that is that my caramel usually ended up burnt, or seized… But finally, today (of all days, in this heat too) I decided to give it a go…..
This is neither pretty, nor perfect… I would have liked it to be set a little bit more firmer (but that was probably because I de-moulded this almost within an hour of baking), and though the taste was great, I am sure I can do better next time.. 😀
The one thing I’m happy about is my caramel, which turned out quite good, though I can’t say if it was perfect or not…at least it didn’t burn 😛 I also made some Caramel decorations for topping the custards 😀 I’m hoping to make more of this fuss-free dessert; perhaps use the pressure cooker/steamer next time? Eh?
Crème Caramel/Caramel Custard (Recipe adapted from Home Cooking Adventure)
For the Caramel:
- Sugar – 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (120 gms)
- Water – 30 ml
- Eggs – 3 whole, 1 yolk
- Whole milk – 1 and 1/2 cups (400 ml)
- Cream – 1/2 cup (100 ml)
- Sugar – 1/4 cup (50 gm)
- Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
- Cornflour – 1 tsp
- Preheat oven to 160 C or 325 F.
- Ready 6 ramekins or 1 large 9×5 inch or 20 cm serving dish.
- Use a deep bottomed saucepan, and put it on medium-high heat.
- Pour the sugar in, and slowly, add half the water, and then the rest of it.
- Do NOT under ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, stir, whisk or touch the sugar.
- Just leave it be, and just gently swirl the pan to dissolve the sugar.
- Stand there like a hawk and watch the sugar until you see the entire sugar has melted and the sides have begun to turn golden.
- Swirl the pan some more, let the sugar turn a deep amber and immediately take it off the heat and pour equal amounts into the ramekins/serving dish (It is extremely crucial to take the caramel off at the right temperature since it burns really easily..)
- The caramel should coat the bottom of the ramekins well; they will begin to harden almost immediately. Keep aside.
- In the same saucepan (after taking out any excess caramel), heat the milk, cream and vanilla, using a whisk to mix them well.
- Do NOT boil, just let it simmer and switch off the heat.
- Take a large bowl, and break the whole eggs and the yolk, and whisk it with the sugar until pale and creamy.
- Add the cornflour, whisk and then, check the milk to see if it’s room temp. (If too hot, set it aside until it cools or the eggs will scramble).
- Using a ladleful or two at a time, pour the milk mixture into the eggs, whisking each time until the entire milk and egg mixture is mixed well. This is your custard.
- Pour the custard equally into each ramekin filling not more than 75 to 80%.
- Place the ramekins in a larger baking dish and fill with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until custard is just set and has a very slight wobble (took me 60)
- Cool for 4 to 6 hours or overnight and just before serving, run a knife around the sides, and demould on a plate.
- Garnish with caramel decoration, or cherries, fruits, etc.
- Serve chilled.