My grandmother’s crème caramel
For the caramel
200g caster sugar 20g unsalted butter
For the custard
240ml double cream
240ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways, seeds scraped and reserved 1tsp grated lemon zest pinch fine sea salt
4 large eggs
50g caster sugar
20cm fluted brioche mould or decorative ovenproof ramekin
To make the caramel, in a medium saucepan, melt the sugar over a medium heat without stirring. Once the sugar has dissolved, boil until the colour turns uniformly dark amber. Immediately remove from the heat and pour it into the mould, swirling so that the caramel coats the entire bottom. Once the caramel is cool, butter the sides of the mould.
To make the custard, preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2. Bring a kettle of water to the boil.
In a large saucepan, combine the cream, milk, vanilla pod and seeds, lemon zest and salt over a medium heat until hot.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. When the milk is hot but not boiling, discard the vanilla pod and slowly whisk the liquid into the egg mixture. Once combined, gently pour into the mould.
Sit the mould in a roasting tin or deep baking dish. Pour boiling water into the roasting tin so it comes halfway up the sides of the mould. Carefully place in the oven and bake until the custard is set in the centre, about 50 minutes. Remove from the water bath and allow to cool completely then refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To serve, gently loosen the sides of the custard with a blunt knife. Invert a rimmed serving dish (make sure it is deep enough to hold the caramel sauce) on top then gently turn everything upside down and remove the mould.