Saturday, 7 April 2012

Crème Caramel

More and more eggs to use up!  So yesterday I made a large mix of baked custard mixture, which resulted in a big pot of rhubarb creme caramel and four small ramekins of simple crème caramel.  This type of dish seems to be a staple of many cooking traditions in Europe.  In Spain, its called 'flan', in France  'crème caramel' or 'crème anglais', and in England I think that the traditional name is 'caramel custard'.  The Spanish version always seems to me to be very sweet.  My mum used to make it, and we called it 'baked custard' or caramel custard.  Like the best comfort foods, it is very simple, quick and quite cheap to make (even more so if you have your own chickens like we do).

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.


  1. Hi there, this is a really nice post involving eggs. It would be great if you linked to it in my brand new Food on Friday series. This week it is about all things egg. Food on Friday It would make my day if you put a link into it via the Mr Linky widget.

    1. Hi thanks for the nice comments, and sorry not to reply earlier (busy mum, long school hols, tons of work...:)). What on earth is a Mr Linky Widget?!!

    2. It's great that you worked it out. You are a star for stopping by!

  2. Last week you very kindly linked an eggy post to my Food on Friday series. This week it is all about asparagus. Would love to see another contribution from you. Food on Friday

    1. Certainly will do! Impeccably timed request, I might say, because this weekend, our local 'pick your own' farm will open its asparagus fields. This is a much awaited annual culinary moment for me and yes I certainly will contribute to your Food on Friday series!