I love custard. I never used to, but I do now! And my favourite way of eating custard is as a Creme Caramel Pudding!
For a long time I didn’t realize Creme Caramel was a form of custard – If I had I definitely would have started eating custard a long time ago!
I think there’s something quite irresistible about a creamy, wobbly, custard with an amazing caramel sauce that’s baked just right on to the top of the custard…. Yup, I think I’m going to go and have another bite of this gorgeous little thing.
I’m back! Now let me tell you how my creme caramel pudding came to be.
The start of a perfect creme caramel is the caramel itself. To me – the caramel adds the flavour and sweetness to the custard, so you have to get that perfect. Obviously it helps to perfect the custard too. A custard needs to be firm but soft, creamy but not heavy and definitely not too eggy.
I am lucky because my mother used to make fantastic creme caramel, and she also makes it dairy free. This however isn’t a Dairy-Free version.
I made this in 4 oz (or 1/2 cup) ramekins, but you can make it in larger ones too. This recipe yields about 8-9 servings.
Making the caramel can be tricky. When you mix the sugar and water, make sure to not stir the mixture as you run the risk of crystallizing the entire caramel. First add the sugar to the saucepan and pour the water and corn syrup along the edge of the saucepan. Adding Corn syrup helps prevent crystallization. If you don’t have this – don’t worry! You can still get a smooth caramel if you’re careful and treat the syrup with some love. Once the sugar starts to dissolve, gently give the saucepan an occasional swirl to help mix the sugar and water and later to mix the caramel. Let the caramel turn a beautiful amber colour. REMEMBER that caramel will turn colour and burn quickly – So have the ramekins ready.
Once it turns the perfect amber colour – it’s go time. Pour the caramel to the bottom of each ramekin, and coat the bottom evenly.
For the custard – heat the milk/cream mix with sugar until the sugar dissolves. I prefer to use less sugar because of the added sweetness from the caramel layer on top. There is something transcending about using vanilla paste or vanilla beans – the flavour is more intense and the vanilla seeds look beautiful in the pristine custard. If you can’t find these, you can definitely add vanilla extract instead.
These need to be baked in a waterbath, so make sure you have some hot water and a tray ready to go in the preheated oven when the custard is ready. If you leave the custard out, uncovered for too long, it may form a skin at the surface which is a big no-no. So place the ramekins in the baking tray first. Transfer this to the oven and then pour the hot water till it is half-way up the ramekin sides- being careful not to splash water into the custard.
The hardest part is after it is baked. Why? The waiting game begins!
My advice? if you want to eat this amazing pudding on a particular day – make it the evening before. That way it is chilled well before you want it ready and after a long day of brain-numbing work this is just the thing to end your day on a high as my husband will readily attest!
Creme Caramel Goodness
- 3 cups of half n half - OR 2 cups cream & 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs and 4 yolks
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean seeds scraped OR 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp corn syrup
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C & have a baking tray (large enough to hold 8 - 4 ounce ramekins) and hotwater ready.
- Lightly grease the ramekins.!
For the Caramel
- Add the sugar into a saucepan and pour the water along the side of the saucepan. Add the cornsyrup and let it heat gently on medium heat. Do not stir. When the sugar starts to dissolve gently swirl it to mix the water and sugar.
- When all the sugar has dissolved, swirl the saucepan occasionally to mix the caramel. Keep an eye out for the caramel changing colour and immediately remove it from the heat when it starts to turn amber.
- Carefully pour this into the 8 ramekins and swirl them to spread the caramel on the bottom. Set aside.!
For the Custard
- Whisk the eggs, yolks and vanilla together until foamy.
- In a small saucepan combine the sugar and milk/cream and heat gently until sugar completely dissolves.
- Whisk a little of the heated milk mixture into the egg mix slowly to temper it. Strain it back into the milk mixture and mix well.
- Pour into ramekins and bake in a waterbath for about 15-17 minutes till it's done. The tops should still be wobbly and not runny. They will continue to cook and set even after they are removed from the oven.
- Remove from the water bath and let it cool to room temperature, and then chill in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours - overnight is better.
- When ready to serve, run a flat knife around the sides of the ramekin to release the custard. Invert this onto the serving plate.
- Serve as is - or with some berries or sorbet.
I love eating this as is – but with some berry sorbet (as shown in the picture below), it tastes fantastic! The creamy custard and the tart berry flavour compliment each other so well! The Sorbet that I used is the Strawberry balsamic Sorbet I made earlier.
I warn you… once you make this, you will most definitely have plate lickers at your dining table. It is so good, leaving even traces of it on your plate has got to be a crime.
You can see why Creme Caramel is one of my favourite desserts right? Let me know what your favourite is in the comments 🙂