Today I am starting a new series of posts totally and utterly dedicated to cooking or, to be more precise, desserts.
Some of you probably remember that cooking is one of the things I absolutely adore. I love reading cook books, am happy to spend hours in a kitchen and, of course, I like to taste what I make.
Desserts are my little passion. Not only I have a sweet tooth, but also because these delicious delights look absolutely beautiful.
My first Sweet Sunday recipe is for crème caramel. This is my husband’s favourite dessert and I do make it quite often. It’s simple, delicious and always impressive.
I use Rick Steine’s recipe from his BBC series called French Odyssey that was then published in Good Food magazine in April 2005. The best thing about the Good Food mag is that recipes always work and as long as you follow instructions 100% you will never fail. I also added a few notes here and there, you may find them useful.
Serves 5-6. Can be made up to 2 days ahead
FOR THE CREME PART
500ml / 18fl oz organic full-cream milk
7.5 cm cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla pod, split open, lengthways
1 green cardamom pod, cracked open
100g / 4oz white caster sugar
3 large organic eggs
2 large organic egg yolks
FOR THE CARAMEL
175g / 5oz white caster sugar
YOU WILL ALSO NEED
1.5 litre shallow oval baking dish, measuring 35x15cm across the base or 5 small individual ramekins about 3cm deep and measuring about 5-6cm across the base
Deep roasting tin
- For the custard, put the milk, cinnamon stick, vanilla pod, cardamom and sugar into a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave for 1 hour for the flavours to infuse the milk.
- For the caramel, put the sugar and 180ml water into a heavy-based pan and leave over a low heat until completely clear, this should take around 10 minutes. Do not stir. The bring the syrup to the boil and leave to boil rapidly without stirring, until it turns an amber colour. Remove from the heat and quickly pour into the baking dish or ramekins. Set aside to cool.
- Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas mark 3. Put the eggs and yolks into a bowl and whisk to combine. Strain in the milk mixture, then strain again to remove all the bits. Pour into the baking dish or ramekins (the easiest way is to use a small ladle or, when straining, use a large Pyrex measuring jug). The mixture should be about 2.5cm deep.
- Put the dish (or ramekins) into a roasting tin. Pour enough hot water from a kettle into the tin to come halfway up the sides of the dish/ramekins. Bake for 40-50 minutes for the dish or 30-35 minutes for the ramekins until just set, but still wobbly in the centre. It will continue to firm up after it comes out of the oven.
- Remove the roasting tin with the dish/ramekins from the oven, then remove the disk/ramekins from the tin. Personally I find that the easiest way is to use a ladle to remove hot water from the tin first and then lift the dish/ramekins out. Remember not to put ramekins/dish on cold survaces – it may crack. I put a kitchen towel on a wood chopping board and use this “construction” to put my ramekins on. Leave to cool, then cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
- To serve, carefully run a round-bladed knife around the edge of the dish, shake gently to make sure it is freed all around the edge, and quickly invert onto a flat serving dish.