Sunday, September 23, 2007

Créme Caramel

This is a completely over the top recipe that produces a thick, wobbly, creamy créme caramel that will make you laugh in a superior fashion every time you pass the packet stuff in a supermarket. Incidentally, you have to practice the superior laugh in order not to be mistaken for the increasing number of people who go insane in supermarkets and wander the aisles endlessly giggling softly to themselves. They can be spotted easily because they invariably carry bar code scanners so that the unwary believe they work there. Never ask them for directions.

This recipe is 100% French cuisine, but the Arab World loves créme caramel. Which, I guess, makes it French Lebanese. We could settle for Canadian...

  • 150ml milk
  • 275ml single cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 40g soft brown sugar
  • Vanilla essence
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp warm water

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2. Heat the sugar for the caramel in a pan until it becomes a dark golden brown syrup. Remove the pan from the heat and add the warm water, taking care to avoid spatters as the mixture will bubble. Stir until smooth, and line the base of the dish you are using as the mould for the caramel. (Depending on what type of dish you're using you may like to gently grease it for a hassle-free turning out! You're looking for a dish with a capacity of about 450ml)

Pour the milk and cream into a pan, and heat through over a low heat. Whisk together the eggs, the brown sugar and four drops of vanilla essence in a large bowl. When the milk is steaming, pour it over the egg and sugar mixture, whisking to combine and form a smooth blended mixture. Pour this liquid over the sugar in the dish, and place in a baking tin. Place this in the middle of the oven, and pour cold water up to 2/3 of the depth of the dish. Bake for an hour, remove from the oven to cool to room temperature and then chill for at least one hour. To serve, run a silicone bladed spatula (well buy one, then!) around the edges of the dish to free the caramel, and invert onto a serving plate. If you’re feeling really luxurious (insane), serve with fresh double pouring cream.

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