Creme Caramel, or milk leche, or custard flan, is an international favourite. The variation of names is testament to how far reaching across the globe this favourite dessert really is.
From the Philippines to Spain, from Puerto Rico, to India, each country has it’s own version of the popular creme caramel, with varying ingredients, substituting fresh milk for condensed milk, or coconut milk.
Here we will use the ingredients you see below. You may have eaten creme caramel before. What did you notice about it? Have you ever come across a creme caramel with a load of bubbles in it, or had a grainy texture? Here you will be able to get a very smooth, silky, velvety dessert, which will want you eating more! It truly is delicious! Follow the easy steps below and you are sure to wow anyone that eats your creation. It’s simply sublime!
You will need
a baking tin to put the ramekins in and fill 2 cm high with water.
4 ramekins. Mine are 10 cm wide and 5 cm deep.
a sheet of foil to cover the baking tin
2 saucepans (a small one non stick if possible)
A sieve or tea leaf strainer
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
There are 3 simple parts to this recipe as follows;
1/2 cup or 80 g sugar
5 Tablespoons boiling water
13.5 fl oz or 400 ml milk
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 Whole eggs
4 Egg Yolks (save the egg whites for our meringues recipe or something else)
2 1/2 Tablespoons of sugar
Heat oven to 140C, Gas 1, 275F. Grease your ramekins with butter.
Make the Caramel
1. Place the sugar in a small non stick pan and heat on a medium heat until the sugar turns brown.
2. Have the kettle on ready for some boiling water.
3. The heating process will take about 5 minutes on a gentle heat. As soon as the sugar starts to turn brown, tilt the pan to distribute the liquid (you may get parts where the sugar hasn’t turned brown yet.
4. As soon as it starts to bubble, add 5 Tablespoons of boiling water (I measure the water into a cup so I can tip it in one go).
***Be careful when you add the water. The caramel may spit slightly and it will be HOT!
5. As soon as you have added the water, swirl it around in the pan so it is combined with the sugar and turn off the heat.
6. Pour the caramel into each ramekin, evenly sharing it between the 4 ramekins.
7. Tilt the ramekins so the caramel covers the entire bottoms.
8. Place the ramekins in the baking tray and add cold water to the tray so the water level comes 2 – 3 cm up the sides of the ramekins.
When the caramel is ready, you need to work fast as the caramel will start to set once you turn the heat off, so pour into ramekins immediately! As soon as you have poured the caramel, place the pan in hot soapy water for ease of washing later.
Make the milk part and egg part
1. Heat the milk and sugar in a pan on gentle heat.
2. Keep the measuring jug that you used for your milk handy as we will need it.
3. Whisk the 2 eggs and 4 egg yolks together with the sugar on a medium speed. Try not to whisk so hard you get loads of bubbles. We don’t want bubbles!
4. When the milk has started to boil, transfer back to your measuring jug.
5. Keeping your mixer on a LOW speed, very slowly add the milk until everything is combined.
If you add the milk too fast, you may scramble your eggs and result in a very lumpy mixture.
6. Place your sieve over the measuring jug and transfer your mixture back into the jug through the sieve.
By sieving the mixture, you will remove a lot of the bubbles and also any bits of cooked egg lumps. This is the part which will give you the smooth,silky,velvety texture so don’t skip it!
7. Pour the mixture into the ramekins.
7. Make sure your water level in the baking tin is up to 2-3 cm high. Cover the baking tin with the sheet of foil and gently transfer to the oven and let it gently cook for 45 minutes. This method of cooking of often called Bain Marie.
Bain Marie is a term used for ‘water bath’. It is used when you want to evenly cook something gently and gradually.
8. Once 45 minutes is up, remove the tray from the oven and leave as it is with the foil over it until it cools. The caramel will still be cooking gently.
9. Now this is the hardest bit of the whole recipe. When cool, cover with some plastic wrap and leave in the fridge to chill for a minimum 3-4 hours.
10. When you are ready to serve, use a thin bladed sharp knife and run the blade around the sides of the ramekins, taking care not to wobble or slip with the knife – this will damage the set custard inside.
11. Take a serving saucer and place over the top of the ramekin, and holding both the saucer and the ramekin, turn upside down so the saucer is on the table. Gently lift the ramekin off. If the custard won’t come out, gently tap the top, or leave for a few minutes. Gravity will win in the end and it will come out.
12. Be aware you will get caramel liquid coming out of the ramekin too, so make sure your saucer is not too shallow.