Thursday, August 29, 2013

Crème caramel

There is something so beautifully old-fashioned about creme caramel. What's not to love? A velvety smooth, creamy custard and sweet hit of slightly bitter caramel that floods your plate? Heaven. It once enjoyed it's upside down life as an extremely popular pudding in the late 20th century where it apparently graced the top of almost every dessert menu. But since then, except for the sachets of instant creme caramel mix you can buy on the shelf (which taste nothing like the real thing), it's been abandoned and rarely pops up in cookbooks and magazines. Is it because people are scared of it? Set custard can be daunting and then you add caramel to that mix and the whole unmoulding bit is pretty terrifying I guess... I decided to resurrect the glorious classic, but to take away the terror, I've added gelatine to mine - just to be safe! And if vintage shoes and handbags can enjoy a revival, why can't a retro dessert? I'd certainly choose a pudding over prada anyday anyway!

Crème caramel
Makes 4-6

150g demerara sugar
80ml water
1 tsp powdered gelatine
180ml milk
180ml cream
2 large eggs
4 egg yolks
75g castor sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat the demerara sugar and water until dissolved, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until golden in colour.
Pour into the bottom of 4 small ramekins and set aside to cool. Sprinkle the gelatine over 2 tbsp water and allow to bloom. Set aside. Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine. Whisk the eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla together and slowly whisk in the hot milk. Pour into the caramel-filled ramekins, place in a roasting dish and fill half-way up the sides of the ramekins with hot water. Bake in a preheated oven set to 150C for 35 minutes or until just set. When the caramels wobble like jelly, they are ready. Remove from the roasting tray and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Turn out the crème caramels by running a knife around the rim and place a plate on top. Flip the plate over to release the caramels.

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