The version I made yesterday is a bit more at the luxury end, as I pushed the boat out for a Good Friday feast, and made it with double cream instead of milk. I made a double load, so I had enough to make a big pot with rhubarb at the bottom, and another 4 ramekins of the basic creme caramel because some of my family dislike rhubarb.
This recipe is for the basic crème caramel, which can be made in one large dish or several ramekins.
The pre-heated oven temp should be moderate-around 160 oC. As ever, using a Rayburn requires some guess work on temperature, but around the mid-bake range on the temperature dial seems to do the trick.
8 fresh eggs
3 heaped tablespoons of soft light brown sugar
3 tablespoons of caster sugar
600 mls of double cream (that's one big pot)
a tablespoon-ish of water
1 dessert spoon of vanilla extract, or a few drops of vanilla essence.
Put the soft brown sugar and a tablespoon or so of water into a saucepan and melt over a moderate heat. When all the sugar has dissolved, pour the caramel into the bottom of your ceramic dish, making sure it covers the bottom of the dish evenly. Put into the fridge to cool thoroughly.
Beat the eggs and caster sugar well with a Kenwood or similar electric beater. Add the double cream and vanilla and beat again really well.
Take the cooled caramel out of the fridge and pour the mixture over the top, filling the dish. Place in a deep baking tray, and pour boiled water into the baking tray around the dish, up to about half the height of the dish. Put in the pre-heated oven and bake for around 35 minutes, or until the mixture is firm-ish and slightly golden on top.
Remove from oven and allow to cool off. You can serve straight from the dish or if you are feeling brave, turn out onto a plate, hoping it will stay in tact!
It is much easier to turn out ramekin sized pots. I much prefer to use ramekins if I am doing a dinner party because there is the added advantage that if you have one disaster, it won't spoil the entire batch. With the big dish you only get one shot at it, and whilst the taste will be the same, a collapsed splurge of a caramel custard doesn't look at all nice on the table.