My favourite dessert: Crème Caramel

My all-time favourite dessert, no matter what the occasion is Crème Caramel.
Crème Caramel is much like Crème Brûlée, but the caramelized sugar goes into the ramekin first, rather than torched on top. The result is a complex caramel layer on top of the inverted custard and a residual complex caramel sauce that is a perfect companion with each bite of the delicate custard. It’s also important to note that for this recipe you don’t want to beat the eggs too much – this will make for a firmer texture that will aid in keeping the custard together when inverting them onto small plates. A Crème Brûlée would be completely opposite in the respect that you would want to beat the eggs for about 1 to 2 minutes (to make the custard softer and more velvety) since it will be eaten out of the ramekin.
Although the process of this recipe requires a bit of care and attention, this is sure to become a favourite decadent dessert in your home. Enjoy!

Crème Caramel
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 tsp salt

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2 cups whipping cream
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp salt
One 2-inch strip of lemon zest
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease six ramekins with butter.

  1. Put the 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water and 1/4 tsp salt in a small heavy bottomed saucepan over medium/low heat until the sugar dissolves. When it starts to turn brown, swirl in the pan but do not stir until it turns dark rich brown, but not burnt. Immediately pour equal amounts into the prepared ramekins.
  2. In another heavy bottomed saucepan, bring the whipping cream, milk, vanilla, salt and the lemon zest to just below a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and let sit while preparing the eggs in the next step.
  3. Whisk the three whole eggs with the three extra egg yolks and the 1/2 cup sugar until frothy.
  4. Remove the zest from the cream mixture. Very slowly drizzle the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Doing it slow will prevent the eggs from curdling.
  5. Pour this prepared custard mixture into the caramel lined ramekins.
  6. Place the filled ramekins into a large pan. Pour boiling water into the pan until the water level reaches approximately half-way up the outer sides of the ramekins.
  7. Carefully put this pan into the oven and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the centres of the custards are almost set (cooked).
  8. Refrigerate for a minimum of two hours and up to two days.
  9. To Serve: Loosen the custard in each ramekin by running a butter knife all around the edge of the custard. Invert a plate over the ramekin. Quickly flip the ramekin/plate over and gently jiggle until the custard/caramel come loose. Remove the ramekin and serve on the plate.

Makes six portions

Chef Dez is a Chef, Writer, & Host. Visit him at www.chefdez.com
 
Write to him at dez@chefdez.com or P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, BC V2T 6R4