The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

CRÈME CARAMEL

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You will need six 125ml aluminium dariole moulds to make these.

Makes six

INGREDIENT­S

Neutral vegetable oil, for greasing

450ml whole milk

50ml double cream

1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped 1 pared strip of orange zest (optional)

Few drops of coconut essence (optional)

4 eggs, plus 1 yolk

80g caster sugar

For the caramel 120g caster sugar 100g water

METHOD

h Preheat the oven to 140C/120C fan/Gas 1. Lightly oil six aluminium dariole moulds with a neutral vegetable oil. h Put the sugar and water for the caramel in a heavy-bottomed saucepan

and boil rapidly until the sugar has dissolved into the water. As the solution boils it will start to caramelise, turning light brown and then an amber. Once the caramel is amber – if you have a laser thermomete­r, the temperatur­e should be about 160C – remove from the heat. The caramel will keep cooking because of the residual heat, reaching about 180-200C. h Pour the caramel evenly between the ramekins about ¾cm deep. Set aside. h Bring the milk and cream to the boil in a saucepan and add the vanilla bean paste or the vanilla seeds and pod. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes – this is when you can add the orange and coconut if using – then strain. h Break the eggs and yolk into a bowl and add the sugar. Mix together until the sugar has dissolved. h With the bowl secure (I set it over an empty saucepan with a tea towel to prevent slipping) slowly pour the warm flavoured milk over the eggs and sugar mix, stirring all the time. When fully mixed, skim any air bubbles that appear on the surface and

pour the custard through a sieve and into a jug to remove any lumps. h Fill the dariole moulds up to the top with the custard. Place the filled moulds in a baking dish and carefully pour hot water into the dish to come half way up the sides of the moulds. Loosely cover with tin foil and transfer to the oven. h Check after 40 minutes. If the crème caramels are clearly set then remove from the oven, if not give them another 15 minutes and then check again. They should be clearly set around the outside with a slight wobble in the middle. h Allow to cool, and then transfer to the fridge, covered, for at least six hours. h When ready to serve, slide a small knife around the top of the mould, then dip the mould into a shallow dish of boiling water. Turn the mould out onto the plate – it may require a good shake. Make sure you pour over any caramel left in the mould. Don’t worry if some caramel is left in the bottom – this is normal.

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