Friday, 28 October 2011

Crème caramel and a visit from the Fairy Hobfather

The Fairy Hobfather is a delightful creature, who flits from blog to blog dispensing joy. I left a comment on Deb's blog after he visited her, and was lucky enough to be the next lucky recipient of an Amazon voucher. If you comment on this post, you may be the next person to receive a visit from the Appliances Online fairies. And I now have a nifty oak cookbook stand and a preserving funnel on their way to me. That's a lot more exciting than you may think.

Something else that is more exciting than you may think... (wow, was that a suave segue or what?) Recently, I had a breakthrough. I've always had a big fat mental block about crème caramel. This is because my mother, an excellent cook, buggered one up about 30 years ago. It's these little traumas that stay with a girl. My fear of crème caramel was compounded when my mother got married. Just before the dessert was to be served, a waiter popped out and apologised that the crème caramels had all split. I was convinced that if my mother and The Bather's Pavilion were unable to produce a crème caramel I had no hope at all.

Then Simon Hopkinson changed my mind. I've already blogged about the awesomeness of his Good Cook series, but one of the dishes he made was an orange caramel custard. Everything else he'd made on the series was so achievable that I thought "What the heck" and decided to have a go.

I read a whole bunch of recipes and then struck out on my own. I decided to make one big one to share, thinking that it would be easier on the nerves than trying to get 6 individual ones right. The big thing about crème caramel, really, is that it has very few ingredients, so it is pretty important to make sure that each of them is high quality.

Crème Caramel (serves 5 or 6)

100g caster sugar
splash of water
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
100g caster sugar, extra
500ml single cream
1tsp vanilla bean paste
2 - 3 strips lemon zest

Make a caramel from the sugar and a splash of water (mine really should have been a little bit darker, but I got anxious at a critical moment). Pour the hot caramel into the base of a 1lb loaf tin and rotate it, to get the caramel a bit up the sides.

Mix the cream, vanilla and lemon zest in a small pan, bring to a gentle simmer for a couple of minutes to let the flavours infuse.

Whisk the eggs and egg yolks with the extra sugar in a bowl, then pour the hot cream on, whisking well (but trying not to get it too frothy). Strain the custard into the loaf tin.

Place the loaf tin into a deep baking tin and stand it on the middle shelf of the oven. Pour boiling water around it (being careful not to splash) until the water comes about half way up the sides of the loaf tin. Cook at 170C for 50 minutes - it should still be a bit wobbly in the middle.

Cool, then chill in the fridge over night (this bit lets the caramel deliquesce). To serve, run a palette knife around the edge and turn gently onto a serving dish with a bit of a rim - it would be very sad to lose any of the caramel.

22 comments:

Jude said...

You have inspired me. I haven't made a cream caramel for ages. It will be on the menu this weekend!

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

So that's what the Fairy Hobfather is about!

Congratulations on your breakthrough! Creme caramel has always been a favourite of mine - it was one of the more popular Western desserts in Malaysia when I was growing up.

Foodycat said...

Jude - my next attempt will be the GQS muscat caramel custard!

Leafy - I suspect the Malaysian version is made with evaporated milk. Which is also delicious!

foodjunkie.eu said...

I love creme caramel and I am so happy you now love it too! Such a tasty, easy and vintage dessert. Alwyas reminds me of my grandmother, but mine's better :-)

~~louise~~ said...

Kudos to you for over coming your fears, Foodycat! You did awesome!!!

Thanks for sharing...

Rachel said...

A preserving funnel excites me too. That's the kinda gal I am these days. Kudos on an excellent dessert.

Foodycat said...

Jo - it is a classic, isn't it? It deserves a revival!

Louise - thank you!

Rachel - every time I make chutney I think "d'oh! I meant to get a preserving funnel!" now I will be prepared.

Jude said...

It is time to pay another visit to GQS!

mscrankypants said...

I have never made a creme caramel. This is a blast from the past, but in the 1990s Peter's or Paul's had a range of ready-made creme caramels in little plastic pots. They tasted surprisingly good, although not a patch on yours I reckon.

The Cat's Mother said...

I am so happy the creme caramel mental block has been removed. It is such as lovely dessert.

The blackberry jelly with buttermilk cream worked a treat and I am still more confident with things set with gelatine!

Foodycat said...

Jude - it sure is! Maybe in the Christmas holidays?

Cranky - those were good. I liked the little tabs you snapped to release the caramel!

Mother - yeah, pannacotta is less anxiety inducing. But you also make a brilliant creme brulee, so you really have no excuse!

C said...

I haven't ever made creme caramel, but it always looks so delicious, and yours is no exception. I ought to try panna cotta too...

I can quite understand you being excited about a preserving funnel. Every time I'm pouring jam, and missing the tops of the jars I'm thinking about preserving funnels.... (and how burnt I'm likely to get..)

Gourmet Chick said...

Ah I am still waiting for my creme caramel breakthrough - congratulations on yours though!

Anne said...

I've made them a few times and love them!

Yours look delicious, love how you got lots of caramel sauce with them!

Foodycat said...

C - pannacotta is very easy, you should definitely start there.

Gourmet Chick - thanks!

Anne - I'll certainly make them again now I know I can!

Mary said...

Wow! That looks gorgeous. You certainly have mastered the required technique. This is a dessert that is universally loved and you've done a grand job with it. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

hungryandfrozen said...

I like that it's in a loaf tin! While I have no specific event relating to it, I've always been a bit nervous about creme caramel. And you're right about all the specific ingredients needing to be good quality - definitely not the time for vanilla essence :)

Foodycat said...

Mary - thank you!

Laura - no vanilla essence and definitely fresh, organic, free range eggs!

grace said...

i'm glad you burst through that mental block--this is not to be missed!

Purabi Naha said...

Excellent recipe. I almost forgot how I made creme caramel years ago. Thanks for reminding me!!

Choclette said...

That creme caramel looks so delicious and well done for "feeling the fear and doing it anyway"! I've never made cc, but love it and have fond memories of my mother making it in cups when I was little. It's things in water baths that get me and am always put off by recipes that have this method.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I am glad you found some fun goodies to buy with your gift certificate.
;-) Your creme caramel looks lovely and delicious.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...