Sunday, March 14, 2010

Creme caramelle

There is, truly, nothing in the world more heavenly.

Ingredients (8 individual creme caramelles):
  • 3/4 cup sugar + 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit.
  • Place 3/4 cup sugar in a heavy saucepan (Le Creuset works well) and drizzle the water over the sugar. Place over medium heat and swirl the pan until you get a clear syrup (do not stir). Make sure the syrup clarifies (or mostly clarifies) before it comes to a boil. Once clear, increase heat to high and bring syrup to a rolling boil. Then cover the pan and boil for two minutes. Uncover pan and continue to cook over high heat until syrup begins to darken. Swirl once or twice. Cook syrup until it turns a deep amber.
  • Pour the caramel into 8 ramekins, trying to get it to coat the bottoms. Tilting the ramekins can help. This needs to be done quickly, before the caramel cools. An extra pair of hands makes it much easier.
  • Whisk together the eggs, the rest of the sugar and the salt.
  • Heat the milk until just steaming, and then slowly whisk it into the egg mixture. Add the vanilla and whisk briefly. Pour custard into ramekins.
  • Bake in a bain-marie for ~50 minutes, until set in center (check after 40 minutes). The creme caramelles need to be refrigerated for four hours before being unmolded, and can be kept in the fridge for a week.
  • To unmold, dip the ramekins briefly in hot water and slide a flexible knife around the edges. Invert onto serving plates.
The rest of the weekend? In the garden. Forty rosebushes are waiting to be pruned.

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