Like chocolate mousse, crème au caramel appears in many versions in restaurants of all persuasions, and it can even be purchased in individual four-pack servings at supermarkets. It is easy to make at home and rewarding, as it is an elegant dessert.
l cup (8 oz/250 g) sugar
2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) milk
2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) heavy (double) cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
l teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)
Boiling water, as needed
Put 1/2 cup (4 oz/125 g) of the sugar in a 10-inch (25-cm) cake pan with 1-1/2-inch (4-cm) sides and place it on the stove top over medium-low heat. Holding the edge of the pan with a hot pad, tilt the pan from side to side as the sugar melts and caramelizes. When all the sugar has melted and become a golden brown liquid, remove the pan from the stove. Tip the pan so that the sides and bottom are evenly coated with the syrup. Set aside.
Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F. (165 degrees C).
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and cream and heat until small bubbles appear along the edges of the pan. Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat the eggs until blended. Add the remaining 1/2 cup (4 oz/125 g) sugar, the salt, and the vanilla and beat until blended. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture while stirring continuously.
Place the caramel-lined cake pan in a shallow baking pan. Pour the custard into the cake pail, filling it to the rim. Pour boiling water into the baking pan to reach halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
To unmold, slide a knife along the inside edge of the pan. Invert a shallow serving plate on top of the custard. Holding the cake pan and the plate firmly together, turn them over so the plate is on the bottom. Give the pan a shake and then lift it off. The custard should drop smoothly to the serving plate. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
By Georgeanne Brennan
Time Life Books
Cloth: $39.95, 1999
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created January 2000
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