I thought it was time to make Creme Caramel which is the Western world's version of our very own leche flan. Afterall, I live in the Western world where the ingredients for it are abundant and cheap.
My effort was not particularly stellar as you can see with the various holes. The oven was probably quite hot that's why it's overcooked. Though thankfully this did not affect the overall quality of the custard. It was still smooth and silky with just the right sweetness.
The recipe I adapted is from The New Best Recipe cookbook from Cook's Illustrated.
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp light corn syrup or golden syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp lemon juice (optional)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups single cream (light cream)
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
*For the syrup:
- In a saucepan, combine the sugar, water, syrup, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer without stirring on medium heat.
While doing this, wipe the sides of the saucepan with a wet cloth or a wet brush to remove any sugar crystals that can turn the syrup grainy.
- Continue to cook the syrup until it turns golden (about 8 minutes). Occasionally swirl the saucepan gently for even browning.
- Cook for a further 4-5 minutes while swirling the saucepan gently and constantly until the syrup turns honey-caramel in colour.
- Remove from the heat and immediately pour and divide into ramekins or baking moulds you are using. Careful when doing this because the syrup is very hot at this point. Let the caramel cool and harden completely in the moulds.
*For the custard:
- Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F.
- Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir from time to time and cook until steam appears (about 7 minutes). Remove from heat.
- Mix gently the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the heated milk mixture, salt, and vanilla while stirring gently. Whisk until just combined but not foamy. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve.
- Boil about 5 cups of water in a kettle. Put a folded tea towel to fit in the bottom of a large baking pan.
- Divide the custard mixture in the ramekins or moulds. Arrange the moulds on the tea towel in the baking pan making sure they do not touch.
- Position the pan in the middle of the oven. Pull the oven rack and the pan about less than half-way out.
Pour the hot water in the baking pan to reach halfway up the side of the ramekins. This is called a bain-marie or water bath.
- Cover the entire pan loosely with aluminium foil. Bake until a skewer or small knife inserted between the centre and edge of the ramekin comes out clean. Baking time for small ramekins is about 35-40 minutes while for larger baking dish is about 70-75 minutes.
- Remove from the bain-marie and cool completely on a wire rack. [Optional] Cover individually with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 days.
- To unmould, run a knife all around the edge of the ramekin. Cover it with a plate and turn it upside down. Shake the ramekin gently to release the custard.