Crème Caramel

Español: Un flan. Français : Crème au caramel.
Español: Un flan. Français : Crème au caramel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Diary of a Wannabe Chef: Day 6 of my Chef Diploma at Ceria Brussels

Each week we change courses, this week I was on dessert, and we were making Crème Caramel.  This is a simple, and yet very effective dessert.  When done correctly, you cannot go wrong with serving this at the end of the meal.  It is light and delicate, and leaves a lovely sweet taste in the mouth – perfect after a delicious meal.  This recipe is the classic Crème Caramel, using vanilla.  If you would like a slight twist on the classic, why not try my Saffron and Cardammon Crème Caramel.

Crème Caramel (or Flan au Caramel)
Serves about 6, depending on the size of the ramekins you use.

  • 4 eggs
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 1/2 litre of milk
  • I vanilla pod
  • 200g of sugar
  • 1/4 lemon juice
  • A little water for the caramel
  • Boiling water for the Bain Marie

1. First, prepare the caramel.  Add the 200g of sugar, with the lemon juice and a little water that just covers the sugar.  Allow it to cook, until it is a medium golden colour.

TOP TIP: Do not mix the caramel, and keep your eyes on it at all times as it can easily turn from golden to burnt very quickly.

2. When the caramel is ready, pour enough caramel to give a light covering at the bottom of a ramekin.  Leave the caramel to set in the ramekins.

3. Prepare the egg mixture, by whisking the eggs and the 90g of sugar together until it is light in colour.

4. Slice open the vanilla, and place into a pan with the milk, and slowly bring to the boil.

5. When the milk is boiling, slowly add the milk to the egg mixture, stirring gently.

6. Place the ramekins into a deep baking tray, and then pour the egg mixture into the caramelised ramekins.

7. Place the tray into a hot oven (120C), and then pour in boiling water into the baking tray, making sure not to get any of the water into your ramekins. The boiling water should come half way up the ramekins.

TOP TIP: placing the tray into the hot oven, before adding the boiling water, ensures that you are not walking around the kitchen with a heavy tray of boiling water.  The method of cooking like this is called Bain Marie.

TOP TIP: You can cook the Crème Caramel anywhere between 120-140C, the lower the temperature the less likely you are to get holes forming in the mixture.

8. Cook for about 40 minutes.  When it is ready, carefully remove the tray from the oven, and take the ramekins out of the hot water.  Leave to cool.  To serve, carefully take a knife around the edge of the ramekin, and quickly tip it upside down onto a plate.  The Custard will be set enough so that it stands strong, and the lovely caramel juices will flow out to surround the custard.

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